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Hundreds turn out for free fishing day
LAKEWOOD — The Twin Lakes County Park saw close to 500 folks stop by to cast their lines into the water as part of the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club’s six-hour family fishing event on Saturday, May 19.
Of the club members who helped coordinate the event, Buz Bauman estimated they lent out 60-70 fishing poles to kids up to their teens, while Jim Brauch figured the $4,000 that the club spent bought close to 4,000 fish to stock the pond that day.
“Some of those fish are about 10 pounds,” Brauch said.
“We had wall-to-wall people when we started this morning,” fellow club member Jim Hale said that afternoon, when the crowds had thinned out. “There must have been 75 people then.”
Brauch and Hale laughed as they noted that, regardless of how successful any of the fishing families were, the day’s catch yielded a guaranteed meal for at least one event attendee.
“It’s been a feast for the eagle,” Hale said of the bird that flew overhead, occasionally swooping low enough to skim the water. “We have a few fishers who have been doing catch-and-release, but some of them have killed their fish, either while bringing them in or throwing them back out.”
Indeed, while fish dinners were on the menu for many attendees that day, most of the kids casting out their lines were more interested in the act of fishing itself than in savoring their catch.
Arlington’s Kristian Fairbanks, 11, and his little sister Abby expressed enthusiasm for reeling in any little tugs on their lines, but when asked about what they planned to do with their plastic bags of still-flapping fish, their emotions were more mixed.
“I like fish dinners most of the time,” Kristian shrugged.
“I won’t eat it,” Abby shook her head. “I don’t like the taste. I still caught the biggest ones, though.”
Jennifer Fairbanks, Kristian and Abby’s mom, brought them and her other two kids out to Twin Lakes simply to give them a fun activity, especially since they’d had fun at the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club’s May 5 fishing derby at Jennings Park.
“It gives them something fun to do and keeps them busy,” Jennifer said.
“I’m having second thoughts about bringing our 3-year-old, though,” laughed Jared Fairbanks, the kids’ dad, as he tended to the one member of the family too young to take part in the fishing.
Marysville’s Blake Mallonee, 9, and his little sister Kim received the benefit of their grandfather Jim’s 30 years of fishing experience, even if much of it was more oriented toward fly fishing.
“This is the only place I’ve ever gone fishing,” said Blake, who’s been fishing for close to three years
Like Kristian Fairbanks, Blake Mallonee can take or leave the fish dinners, but he loves the sport of it.
“Reeling them in and catching them is the best,” said Blake, who admitted that getting his line caught on debris or other fishers’ lines is his least favorite part of fishing. “What I’ve learned is that casting is the most important part of fishing, because without it, you don’t catch any fish.”
“I like to come to these events with the grandkids,” Jim Mallonee said. “It’s so much fun to see them get excited by it.”