It was a fun day last Saturday, thanks to a few volunteers who helped put together a Kids Fishing Day. Arlyn Lemer and his wife Evelyn of Lolo had the idea of treating some kids who normally would not have the chance to go fishing to a day of fishing in their private trout pond. “I stock the pond with a whole bunch of trout”, added Lemer, “my wife and I just thought it would be fun to treat some kids for a day of fishing”. Lemer didn’t seem to have any trouble getting volunteers to help out. Tom McLaughlin and Mac McLaughlin provided a hot dog and potato chip lunch along with pop and water for the kids. Then the Optimist Club and Rich Thomas from Thomas Plumbing and Heating donated money for rods and reels, tackle boxes, and tackle that were purchased from Bob Ward and Sons in Missoula at a discounted price.“We contacted Big Brothers and Sisters and Doug Reisig Superintendent of Hellgate Elementary School and asked them to help select 19 kids”, said Lemer.
It was decided to award the new rods and reels and tackle boxes to each kid at the end of the fishing day. This was made possible because Les Rutledge, better known as the Fish Guy as the area Youth Angler Education Director, provided the fishing rods and tackle for the kids to use during the event. Right after the kids arrived by bus, courtesy of Hellgate Transportation, Rutledge spent the first 10 minutes explaining and showing the kids various fish mounts from trout to northern pike. Rutledge also showed the kids some live underwater insect in order to give the kids a good idea of what fish feed on in Montana Rivers and Lakes. Rutledge then showed the 19 excited first time anglers how to cast a rod with some safety tips on casting and releasing the fish. After that it was catch and release as many trout as the kids could catch in the next three hours with the help of about a dozen volunteers. And catch they did. “Some of the kids caught as many as 25 trout”, added Lemer, “all of the kids caught at least one fish and all of them had a huge smile on their face all day long”. Six trout were kept to show the kids how to clean and prepare a trout for table fare. Mark Colyer put them on the grill and the kids were treated to freshly cooked trout.
There was also a campfire and Reed Williams provided the smores. Amy McLaughlin snapped pictures of the kids catching and holding the fish they caught. “I would also like to thank Bret Holt who helped me set everything up prior to the kid’s arrival and Dennis Dorn who also bought night crawlers”, said Lemer. Would the Lemer’s entertain more kids fishing days? “We had a lot of fun and would like to give some more kids this opportunity next year”, said Lemer. You may view highlights of the Fishing Day by logging on to www.montanaoutdoor.com