Hook 'em young

Family Fishing Day is chance to instill the habit

Posted: Sunday, June 05, 2005

Until Nintendo invents a virtual game of salmon fishing, parents still have time to bond with their kids by the lake.

High school biology teacher Henry Hopkins and his wife, Sarah, and two children take advantage of their summers off to go on local fishing trips. Hopkins said the key to competing with video games and TV is to get kids hooked on fishing while they are young.

"I like them because they are slimy," said 8-year-old daughter Emma Hopkins, who nags her parents nearly every day to go fishing.

Hundreds of kids this Saturday can participate in a Juneau tradition happening at Twin Lakes, on Glacier Highway between Hospital Drive and Vanderbilt Hill Road. The water will be stocked with 10,000 king salmon for easy catching on Family Fishing Day.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be on hand to teach kids how to bait hooks, cast a rod, reel in a prize and properly clean the fish. The event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is free and some 150 rods will be available for children.

"With that number of fish in a small lake, people should be able to catch a fish or see other fish being caught," said Brian Glynn, Sport Fish Division management biologist.

DIPAC Macaulay Hatchery, a private nonprofit company that supplies fish for the division, stocked the lakes on Thursday. The hatchery supplies the lakes again in the fall for anglers who enjoy ice fishing.

The salmon are about 18 months old since incubation and tend to be larger than wild king salmon due to being fed an additional year, Glynn said. The average weight and size is 40 grams and 7 inches.

The Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club has put in a few hundred man-hours to present an arcade of carnival games with fishing skill themes and to cook food for the masses. For lunch, visitors can get a hot dog, chips and soda for $1.

"We don't do this to raise money; we do this so people can have a cheap day out," said local president-elect Carl Ferlauto. Last year, the club sold more than a thousand hot dogs.

The trailer covered with fish murals parked on the grounds will be a mobile aquatic classroom filled with aquariums, TV screens and experts teaching children about underwater habitats.

"It's hard to miss from the highway," Glynn said.

Children under 16 do not need a fishing license. Adult residents can get annual licenses for $15. For out-of-state fishers, licenses start at $10 a day.

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