Gone fishin’ (June 7 to Aug. 8)

June 9, 2009

11.28.08_shey fishJune is “No Child Left Indoors” Month. I love it — both the not-so-subtle poke at No Child Left Behind and the simple objective it puts forth, of getting kids away from electronic media and out into nature. The initiative started small a few years ago, when Pheasants Forever, a national habitat organization, introduced it in response to the popular 2005 book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.

Now all sorts of agencies and organizations have adopted the tagline, including the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This month it’s highlighting its free fishing programs for children.  Were my husband not already an enthusiastic angler, I’d be signing my boys up for the fishing lessons and borrowed equipment, courtesy of the DNR — every boy should at least know how to bait a hook, right?  And every girl too, I suppose — at least, that’s what my sister would say!

If you’re already into fishing, check out the DNR’s link to good fishing lakes in the nearby counties east of the Mississippi. If you don’t know how to tie a hook to a line, let alone what to bait it with, you’ll want to start with the basics, through the Access to Fishing program. It offer free learn-to-fish clinics for kids ages 16 and younger from June 8 to Aug. 7, including one in East St. Louis’ Jones Lake in Kenneth Hall Park (call 618.874-3600) and another in Alton’s Gordon Moore Park Lake (call 618.462.1181 ext. 155).

To find out where you can pick up a complete set of loaner tackle and all the requisite equipment, call the DNR’s Urban Fishing Program at 217.782.6424.

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