Dick Herfindahl: Fishing a lifetime sport; starts with youth

Published 6:51 pm Friday, April 19, 2019

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


Last week I wrote a column about the DNR using Fountain Lake for harvesting northern pike eggs. I learned a lot about how the stocking of lakes works thanks to Brandon Eder, who is Assistant Area Supervisor of Waterville Area Fisheries.

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While we were checking the nets for pike, we also had good numbers of catfish. Brandon said “The channel catfish do well in lakes, we just don’t have them in many lakes in southern Minnesota. Fountain has the best population in our area and is unique in that way”.

Although I have only fished for cats a few times in Fountain, I have known some folks who over the years just love to fish them. They are a fun fish to catch and really put up quite a fight. If I catch another one I wouldn’t mind trying to clean and cook it up. If this were to happen, I would have to talk to a catfish coinsure to find out the best way to prepare them. Who knows? I may even enjoy eating them. After all, I do like to eat lutefisk. I have eaten catfish before back in the 80’s when we were on vacation in Arkansas. They had catfish feeds all over and we decided to partake in an “all you can eat” catfish fry. If memory serves me right, I don’t think it was too bad.

The DNR is really trying to get our youth more involved in the outdoors. Fishing is one of the main sports they are really trying to focus on. It is the one sport that a kid can enjoy without dishing out a lot of money. They are also focusing on hunting and just enjoying all of the beautiful parks and trails that we have available to us.

We have a group of dedicated young school-age fishermen who have joined a local fishing club that is called the Albert Lea Anglers. Julia Thompson took an idea and along with some other adult volunteers, got this club up and running. This is an awesome opportunity for our youth and these youths are looking forward to helping with the Governor’s Opener. They will be helping with different events over the three-day period. I am most impressed with the idea of kids teaching kids on the Friday kid’s fishing event for fifth graders from Halvorson School. This will not only be a fun time fishing for the kids, but it will also be educational.

This is an important event because it will give some of our youth a chance to experience a sport that they will be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives. There is an old saying that goes something like, “Teach a kid how to fish and they will be hooked for life.”

I grew up with a love of the outdoors and a never-ending desire to go fishing. It never mattered what I caught as long as I could catch something. After riding my bike into town I would spend the whole day fishing the shores of Fountain Lake. At the end of the day I would bring home stringers of bullheads that I had dragged around for most of the day. Some of them were stiff and more than likely not edible, but my mother would never discourage me from keeping fish and would roll up her sleeves and help me clean them. I really believe that she might have been a pioneer in preaching catch and release.

With that in mind, always remember one thing. If a child is trying fishing for the first time, every fish they catch is a trophy to them.

The time is getting closer for the Governor’s Fishing Opener and fishing hosts are still needed. We are also looking for some volunteers to help with some of Saturday’s events.

We are getting closer to our goal, but we are very much in need of “fishermen” to sign up as boat hosts. We haven’t quite reached the number of hosts needed to make this event a success. We really do need more hosts who will be willing to take media guests fishing.  I would like to encourage anyone who is a registered boat owner and has been considering being a boat host or knows someone that might be interested in the Governor’s Fishing Opener by being a boat host to sign up online. The easiest way to do that is by going to www.mngovernorsopener.com click on boat host and it will take you to the page. Just follow the instructions. You may also stop by the CVB office to pick up a registration form or call me at 507-383-2231 for more information. This is our chance to showcase this great community that we choose to live in and one that we are proud to call home. If you are interested in being a volunteer, you can also call me at the aforementioned number.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers. We must never forget those who are still putting themselves in harm’s way so we can enjoy all of the wonderful freedoms we have today.