SPRINGFIELD, IL – Learning how to fish is fun, easy and free for youngsters and families throughout Illinois this summer thanks to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Urban Fishing Program. Free fishing clinics are scheduled at 20 sites throughout the state.
“Fishing is a great way for families to spend time together outdoors, and our urban fishing clinics give thousands of children each summer a chance to experience the fun of fishing,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.
The free Urban Fishing Program clinics are targeted toward children ages 16 and younger, but anyone interested in learning basic fishing techniques may attend.
Fishing clinic instructors present information on fish and other aquatic life, rules and regulations for fishing, as well as basic instruction on baiting a hook, tying a knot, casting, important tactics on how to catch fish, and finally how to handle and return fish to the water. As part of each clinic, participants are provided with rods, reels, bait and tackle for 90 minutes of catch-and-release fishing.
Urban Fishing clinics are presented on weekdays, usually with morning and afternoon sessions. Locations and reservation/contact phone numbers for the clinics include:
• Riverside Park in Moline (thru Aug. 2) – 815-625-2968 (IDNR Region I office)
• Rock Cut State Park in Loves Park (thru Aug. 9) – 815-625-2968 (IDNR Region I office)
• Glen Oak Park in Peoria (thru Aug. 9) – 309-688-3667 ext. 208
• Crystal Lake Park in Urbana (thru Aug. 2) – 217-367-1544
• Fairview Park in Decatur (thru Aug. 9) – 217-422-5911
• Washington Park in Springfield (thru Aug. 2) – 217-546-3970
• Frank Holten State Park in East St. Louis (thru Aug. 2) -- 618-874-7920 or 618-250-2446
• Gordon Moore Park in Alton (thru Aug. 2) – 618-462-1181 (ext. 1)
• SIU Campus Lake in Carbondale (thru Aug. 2) – 618-453-6088
• Veteran’s Park in Mt. Vernon (thru July 3) – 618-242-6890 or 618-314-0437
• Foundation Park in Centralia (July 8 thru Aug. 2) – 618-532-4311 or 618-314-0437
• Chicago Park District/IDNR Urban Fishing Clinics (thru Aug. 15) – 312-771-9741 (parks include: Gompers, Marquette, Columbus, Douglas, Humboldt, Jackson, McKinley, Sherman, and Washington Parks in Chicago)
The Illinois Urban Fishing Program was introduced in 1985 to teach individuals of all ages to fish, to provide better local fishing opportunities, and to give participants an understanding of and a greater appreciation for natural resources. Urban Fishing Program coordinators also hold non-fishing conservation education programs and visit schools during the fall, winter, and spring to teach and promote fishing and the appreciation of natural resources.
For more information on fishing in Illinois, call the IDNR Division of Fisheries at 217/782-6424 or check the website at www.ifishillinois.org