Day Of Fishing Planned For Young Anglers

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People from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Rim Country's own avid fishermen, Dennis Pirch and Tracy Purtee, will be on-hand at the Optimist Club Kids Fishing Festival April 21 at Green Valley Park.

"You can be 102-years-old and be a kid that Saturday," said Joan Young, a member of the Optimist Club who helped organize the event in conjunction with Payson Parks and Recreation Department.

Registration begins at 6 a.m., so the young and the young-at-heart can toss a baited line into the lake. No license required.

Participants are encouraged to bring a fishing rod if they own one. Those who need a rod can borrow one from the Arizona Game and Fish.

The first 290 participants will receive a hat or visor.

Breakfast, lunch and snacks may be purchased for a few dollars from the Optimist Club concession stand.

Dennis Pirch will host a skills competition for children ages 9 and younger and children age 10 to 14.

Children may have their pictures taken with their catch.

"Even if you don't fish, it should be fun to walk around the park that day and watch the children or get a bite to eat," said Optimist member Corey Kroll, who is co-chairing the event. "Anyone who has fishing questions, there will be people there to answer them."

Registration for the Fishing Festival is free.

So are the classes that begin at 9 a.m. and start every 15 minutes until 10:45 a.m.

Here is the bait: Children in each class get a raffle ticket for their participation.

Classes will cover basic fishing equipment, including a discussion of bobbers and bait and tying on a hook and sinker.

Classes will also cover basic fishing technique. Students will learn how to fish off the bottom of the lake, how the contour of the lake gives fish a place to hide and the type of fish that live in the Green Valley Park lakes.

A willow branch and a string might not hold a very big or very crafty fish. Children may learn what poles and reels are best -- open-faced, closed face and bait-caster -- at the 9:30 a.m. class.

Find out which fish like to dine on wiggly worms and crunchy grasshoppers in another class.

Rooster tails and crank bait are both artificial baits. The best time to use artificial bait is the subject of the 10 a.m. workshop.

Safety, the subject under discussion at 10:30 a.m., is important whether you are fishing beside a body of water or from a boat.

At the end of each class, there will be a question and answer session.

Children who participate in all eight classes will receive eight free raffle tickets.

Children's tickets cost 50 cents each.

Some of the prizes are a stock car race track from Radio Shack, matinee movie passes from Sawmill Theatres, sidewalk chalk, books and Beanie Babies.

Adult raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5.

Tanning sessions from Club USA, a gift certificate for two from the Beeline Café, Home Depot and Big O Tires gift certificates and a manicure from Emmy at Backstreet Salon are among the prizes for adults.

Regular raffle tickets will be drawn and posted on the Bragging Board throughout the day until 2 p.m.

The winners' names will be posted on a board and any unclaimed prizes will be returned for another drawing between 2 and 3 p.m.

Grand prize tickets may be purchased separately. They will be awarded between 2 and 3 p.m. and the winners do not need to be present to win.

The grand prize includes a fishing trip for two at Roosevelt Lake, an electric trolling motor and a set of hand-carved Mallard ducks.

There will also be a silent auction and KCMA 98.5 radio will host a live remote from the lake.

The Fishing Festival is not a fund-raiser. It is simply a fun, family event, Kroll said.

"I encourage people to keep the trout they might catch," Kroll said, as the lake will have had its last trout stocking of the season by Arizona Game and Fish.

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