LAYTON — Aiming to instill a love for fishing in the younger generation, the city recently started a new youth fishing club.
Interest was so high for the club that city officials had to turn many people away; however, for the 45 kids, ages 6 to 13, who are enrolled in the club, valuable fishing lessons are being taught.
The six-week course, held every Thursday evening, began at the end of August and runs through September at Andy Adams Community Fishery at 1800 E. Gordon Ave. A recent lesson had the kids assembled in the parking lot learning about tying knots, what lures and baits to use and where to find the fish, before they headed out in small groups with their volunteer instructors.
Since the reservoir was recently stocked, the kids have caught several fish during the first couple of weeks of class. The fish seemed lackadaisical about biting during this week’s session, even though they kept tantalizing the anglers by jumping near their lines.
Setting up the youth fishing club is part of an agreement Layton has with the Division of Wildlife Resources. While Layton promotes the event and lends fishing gear for club members, the DWR provides the course instruction and a tackle box with hooks, sinkers and bobbers for each youngster.
“It is part of how the whole system works in creating a community fishery by partnering with them,” said Scott Carter, Layton’s parks planner. “We agreed we would teach kids how to fish, and we want to create some interest in fishing among the kids so that it perpetuates fishing among the generations.”
Layton is following suit after several other cities, including Brigham City, Ogden, Roy, Clinton, Clearfield and Bountiful, have started youth fishing clubs in the last few years.
According to Wes Pearce, the DWR community fishing biologist in Northern Utah, community fisheries have grown in popularity over the last five years.
“The reason is (that) it’s easier for kids to fish close to home, and to keep people coming back,” Pearce said.
Both the DWR and cities with youth fishing clubs are hoping the classes will keep kids involved in fishing. The DWR is doing a study, tracking several members in the fishing clubs to see if they continue fishing in the future.
Carter said the Andy Adams Community Fishery is the perfect spot for kids to come fishing, because the DWR is faithful about stocking it.
“We want people to catch and take fish home so these kids will have a positive experience,” Carter said. “We want to get them excited enough about it that they want to stick with it.”
The fishery is stocked with a range of fish, including bluegill, bass, catfish, trout, carp and sunfish. The limit is two of any type of fish.
For 11-year-old Devin Perkins, of Layton, catching the fish has been his favorite part of the club, having caught a few catfish in the first couple weeks of the club.
“I learned that when you cast out on the water, that the ripples send messages to the fish’s brain that there is food,” said Perkins, whose mom is one of the volunteers helping the kids.
Layton’s fishing club has eight volunteers who teach fish biology, what they eat and safety tips so the kids don’t hook each other and can cast their lines without dropping them at the bank.
Randall Gorham, of Layton, enrolled his 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter in the club so they will get more training in the sport.
“We enjoy fishing as a family, so I really wanted them to learn how,” Gorham said.
David Price, director of parks and recreation, who was out helping several kids cast their lines, said it has been a wonderful experience so far.
“We’ve had a tremendous response from the community, and it’s been so much fun to see the kids learning and having fun.”