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August 22, 2019

Seven-year-olds Tristan and Brayden Brncich show off their brand new rod and reel combos they received as part of Eagle Riverís Fishing Day for Kids. The rod and reels were donated by the Headwaters chapter of Muskies, Inc.
Seven-year-olds Tristan and Brayden Brncich show off their brand new rod and reel combos they received as part of Eagle Riverís Fishing Day for Kids. The rod and reels were donated by the Headwaters chapter of Muskies, Inc.
7/20/2019 7:30:00 AM
Reeling them in
Fishing Day for Kids well attended in Eagle River
Jacob Friede
Of The Lakeland Times

The Eagle River Fishing Day for Kids was held last Thursday at the fairgrounds in Eagle River and judging from the smiles on nearly 40 kids faces, the future of fishing looked bright.

Thirty-nine eager youth, age 7-12, attended the event put on by the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, the Headwaters Chapter of Muskies, Inc., and the Eagle River Guides Association, and they were given a fun-filled fishing experience.

The day started with a "how to" seminar given by Bill Jacobs. During the seminar he taught the kids the basics of tying on hooks and putting on a slip bobber and offered some tips on casting.

Then the kids put those tips to the test and entered a casting contest. Each child attempted to land a cast in the middle of a hula hoop.

After the contest, practice was over and it was time to hit the water.

A drawing was held and each child was partnered with a local fishing guide who took them out on an area lake for an afternoon of fishing.

"Many of the guides took anywhere from three to four kids out fishing today so we're very thankful to them for all of their time and their talents to share with these young people," Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Emerson said.

But you can't go fishing without a pole, therefore every child was also given a free rod and reel combo courtesy of the Headwaters Chapter of Muskies, Inc., which is the second largest chapter in the Muskies, Inc. organization.

Jacobs, the president of that club, which also donated $500 to the chamber to help out with the event, said Kids Fishing Day is not only important because it gets kids involved in fishing, but also the parents.

"A lot of these kids up here, they vacation but they have no idea how to fish, and their parents don't know how to fish," Jacobs said. "So the school I put on over there was leaning more towards the parent. If I can get the parent to understand how to tie hooks, put slip bobbers on, then we've done the other thing. They can be the teacher from there."

Jacobs, who has guided on many Fishing Days for Kids, said kids have had great success on the water in the past, catching bass, crappie, bluegill, and even musky. The goal of the day, he said, is to get the kids excited about catching fish.

"We're musky guys, but we start somewhere," Jacobs said. "You have to start with bait fishing, what I call it, panfishing, you name it. Get people energized into that and understand it and from there you grow."

There's no better way to nurture a kid's love for fishing than actually catching fish and that's why the guides play such an important role in Fishing Day for Kids. They know the lakes and the movements of the fish and can put the kids in the right place at the right time for results.

"That's what it's all about. You're going out with a guide who can put these kids on fish, teach them what fishing is all about," Emerson said.

The event is in its 39th year and as the amount of participating kids continues to grow so does the need for more volunteers to take kids out on a boat.

"We're looking for people just to bring their boat, put some kids in it and take them out fishing. They don't have to be a guide," Jacobs said.

In return, Emerson said, volunteers get the joy of watching youngsters reel in a catch, which, she said, can be quite a kick.

"To see their big smiles when they're actually catching fish, whether it be a six inch crappie all the way up to, sometimes, they catch a musky, and believe me those kids are so excited."

That excitement was in the air before the kids even left for the lakes, which was evidence that Eagle River's Fishing Day for Kids already had them hooked.

For information on how to volunteer for next year's event call the Eagle River area Chamber of Commerce at 1-715-479-6400 or 1-800-359-6315.

Jacob Friede may be reached at or

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