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Passing On The Legacy Of Fishing To The Young

Jan 23, 2015 10:35AM ● Published by Mimi Darley

Youth learn fishing from a volunteer instructor at the city’s Sunset Pond. Photo courtesy of Draper City

Tucked away in a Draper neighborhood sits Mehraban Wetlands Park (898 East Riparian Drive) and within it is Sunset Pond. The pond was man-made for the purpose of offering a connection to nature and an opportunity for urban fishing.

With spring just around the corner, Draper City is offering a youth fishing class for kids ages 6 to 12 at Sunset Pond. The program runs Wednesday evenings for six weeks beginning April 8, and registration for the popular program is open now.

The city partners with the Division of Wildlife Resources for the program. The DWR raises the fish and stocks the pond, while Draper City handles registration and coordinates the teachers.

Each child is given a small tackle box with basic equipment, and kids are encouraged to bring their own fishing pole, though the city has a few to loan out. The first 15 minutes of each session is a lesson, then the youth break up into smaller groups, each with an assigned adult instructor, to fish around the pond.

Chance Hunter is Draper City’s recreation coordinator. Hunter says the main goal of the program is to get kids outdoors.

“Fishing is a legacy that Utah’s DWR thinks is dying. This is, hopefully, a way for them to sustain people wanting to go out and fish and teach that to their kids,” Hunter said.

It’s also an opportunity for youth to experience something different than other sports programs, while a secondary goal is for the youth to learn to communicate with adults and build friendships.

Hunter gets his adult volunteers for the fishing program primarily through the DWR’s “Dedicated Hunter” program that allows participants to hunt mule deer during three seasons, with the hunters required to give 32 service hours back to the DWR.

Hunter said the pond is stocked with rainbow trout, catfish and bass for the youth fishing program. “We’ve caught some really big bass,” he said.   
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