A popular Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks program that allows kids and their friends or families to check out free fishing rods and tackle is in full swing again this year.
FWP staff restocked and maintained over 400 fishing rods in nearly 43 different locations across Montana’s Hi-Line. The “Kids to Fish” program lets anglers check out fishing rods and reels equipped with basic tackle, such as hooks, bobbers, and sinkers. Typically, eight rods are at each location, and usually a well-stocked tackle box is available to borrow and use.
“Of course, it takes time and effort to replace, maintain, and travel around to all the loaner locations. But it’s well worth it if it gets someone out fishing who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity,” said Marc Kloker, FWP’s Information and Education Program Manager in Glasgow, who runs the program.
“Just because someone doesn’t have a fishing rod doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to go fishing,” added Kloker. “Whether it’s a cousin in town that wants to go along and needs a rod, or an extra pole is needed for catfishing on the Milk River, we want as many kids as possible to go out and fish and enjoy themselves outdoors.”
FWP appreciates the businesses and other locations that display a rack of these fishing rods, and they are the reason the program has been so successful.
“The many business owners and organizations who participate in the program deserve special thanks,” added Kloker. “They’re helping a lot of kids have fun on the water this summer.”
The sturdy loaner rods come already rigged with bobbers, split-shot sinkers and hooks. Please keep in mind these rods are likely not cleaned or sanitized after each use. However, anglers are expected to sign out the equipment at the site and return it in good working order, if possible. Kloker reminds folks that these rods are to be brought back to the loaner location, even if damaged.
“The next kid that comes along should also have a chance to fish,” he said.
If poles are continually lost or stolen, the ability to continue offering this great opportunity suffers. In addition, FWP tries to match supply with demand as some sites see more interest and participation than others.
These fishing rods are available to be checked out from the outlets by individuals, families, organizations, youth groups and schools. If anyone is looking to check out a large number of rods (more than 20) for a particular event, please contact either the Glasgow or Havre FWP offices and they will get you set up. If there are any questions about the program or if you are interested in having poles available at other locations in your community, please contact Kloker at 406-228-3704.
Fishing rods and tackle are currently available to check out at these locations. Locations and addresses can also be found on the Region 6 webpage on fwp.mt.gov.
- Al’s Town & Country Store
- Downstream (Kiwanis) Campground
- Fort Peck Fish Hatchery
- Lakeridge Motel & Tackle Shop
- Fort Peck Marina
- Fort Peck Interpretive Center
- Rock Creek Marina
- FWP Region 6 headquarters
- City-County Library
- Cottonwood Inn
- Ezzie’s West End Conoco
- Glasgow Recreation Department
- Shady Rest RV Park
- FWP Havre Office
- Stromberg’s Sinclair
- Hill County Library
- Fresno Tavern (near Fresno Reservoir)
- Quality Life Concepts
- Phillips County Library
- Westside Conoco Convenience Store
- Sheridan County Library
- Plentywood Hardware
- Sleeping Buffalo Hot springs
- PRO CO-OP
- Hometown Hardware