Perfect Day For Fishing

Hundreds of kids took advantage of free fishing at Green Valley Park on Saturday courtesy of the Rim Country Optimists and other local groups.

Hundreds of kids took advantage of free fishing at Green Valley Park on Saturday courtesy of the Rim Country Optimists and other local groups. Photo by Keith Morris. |

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Fishing lines got snagged and tangled.

One or two youngsters accidentally hooked someone.

Some kids even caught fish.

Yes, it was a glorious sun-drenched day with temperatures near 70 degrees at Green Valley Park for the Eighth Annual Optimist Fishing Festival on Saturday as an estimated 250 youngsters got hooked on fishing.

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“It’s the first time in years we’ve had good weather,” said Rim Country Optimist Club president Joan Young. “We’ve had snowstorms, rain, hot, cold, you name it. And we usually have high winds. But this is perfection.”

Kids were invited to come to the park and fish for trout without a license with fishing experts on hand to provide instruction.

“The Optimist Club is friends of youth,” Young said. “We want to introduce kids of all ages to fishing. If it’s their thing, it gives them a lifetime of enjoyment.”

The event is a cooperative effort between the Rim Country Optimists, Payson Parks and Recreation, Arizona Game and Fish, Payson Fly Casters, Scoops, Fred the DJ and Payson Rotary Club Foundation to familiarize kids with the sport of fishing.

WON BASS-AZ director Tracy Purtee, of KCMA 98.5 FM Radio’s “Let’s Talk Fishin’” show, and his wife, Teresa, were there to weigh the fish and provide advice. The Payson Fly Casters and Gila County Chapter 530 of Trout Unlimited donated rods and reels and bait. Arizona Game and Fish donated 50 poles.

And, when they thought they might run short of poles because so many kids showed up, Kirk Russell, the owner of Lil’ Chunk Baits in Star Valley, went to his business and brought back enough rods and reels for every kid who wanted to fish.

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