By Jackie Nelson
The Hesston Recreation Center, Lions Club and Schowalter Villa partnered to create hours of fishing fun at Lake Vista on Thursday, Aug. 1.
The Lions Club sponsored the re-stocking of the pond.
“We paid to have the fish delivered yesterday,” said Lions Club member Dale Koehn.
The Lions acted in stocking Lake Vista so children participating in the event would be more likely to catch a fish.
“We had the opportunity to help the Rec. And, we have a lot of Lions out interacting with kids and doing some teaching,” said Lion Ken Schwanke.
“We want every kid to catch at least one fish, and it really looks like that’s going to happen,” said Hesston Recreation Director John Earl.
For the youngest in the group, reeling in a fish was a thrill.
“It really is neat to see the youngest ones catch something. Their eyes just get huge,” said Earl.
Earl said there were several children who were experiencing fishing for the first time, as well as seasoned fishermen.
“You can tell the ones that have fished before and been taken fishing with parents or grandparents,” said Earl.
For the children at the event, fishing quickly turned into catching.
“I love fishing. I’ve been fishing a lot before. I like the feeling when I catch a fish. I’ve caught three,” said Jace
“I caught one in the first five seconds,” said Adam
“Its cool to see all the different kinds of fish you can catch. I’ve caught two so far,” said Ownen.
Earl was pleased with the event, which hosted 25 children and a number of Lions Club volunteers and parents.
“We had a really good turnout. Just about everyone who signed up is here,” said Earl.
Schwanke said the event was enjoyable for the Lions, children and parents who attended.
“It is a nice benefit for everyone. This is a nice setting. It is another part of what makes our town unique,” said Schwanke.
Chidlren recognized the special opportunity to fish close to home.
“I came because the only other fishing spot is the City Lake, and there’s no fish in there or it is an hour drive. This was five blocks away,” said Owen.
Schwanke said the club was out to assist the children in casting techniques and releasing fish back into the pond.
“It is all part of the ‘We serve,’ attitude at the Lions. We don’t want the kids to be frustrated,” said Schwanke
Kansas Fish and Wildlife was an integral part of the day’s success, supplying rods, reels and bait for children.
“We are funded through grants, fishing licenses and donations. We provide the equipment so kids and parents can experience fishing without being overwhelmed by what they may have to buy. All of that is available, so all they have to think about is fishing,” said Kansas Fish and Wildlife Biologist Jessica Mounts
Mounts said the fishing clinic was a unique learning opportunity for children.
“It is getting kids outside teaching them how to fish. It is about waiting, learning, touching something they don’t see every day, and some people think it is an important survival skill. It also teaches things like hope, patience and more abstract ideas,” said Mounts.
For the children involved, the fishing clinic was a chance to relax and enjoy not only catching, but fishing.
“Fishing is fun and I get to do it with my friend,” said Adam.
“It’s a way for us not to be bored,” said Caleb.
“When you have a friend to talk to, it’s not as boring,” said Caleb.