MILWAUKEE -- Ice fishing is a staple of winter in Wisconsin, but you don’t need to live on a lake or take a trip up north to reel in your catch.
“We’re right next to some of the best fishing in the world," says Brenda Rosin-Schaff, President of Kids Urban Fishing Clinics of southeastern Wisconsin. "And we all should at least have some knowledge about that.”
On Saturday, the Milwaukee County Parks, Wisconsin DNR and other organizations will host a series of Ice Fishing Clinics for kids, ages 15 and under. The 26th year of this free event will take place at six locations around Milwaukee County, and another in Waukesha County.
“The unique thing that we have here is that people can go fishing and explore their parks in their own backyard," said Guy Smith, Chief of Operations for Milwaukee County Parks.
“You can’t put it into words what it means to you to be able to get out and enjoy the outdoors," Duane Marcell, a member of the Okauchee Fishing Club, says. "And even though we’re sort of in the city here, we still have a lot to offer.”
In past years, hundreds of kids have taken advantage of the opportunity – most with little-to-no previous ice fishing experience.
“They’re going to learn how to identify fish," says Smith. "They’re going to learn how to tie knots, learn how to actually ice fish itself.”
Thanks to the Hunger Task Force, which stocks the lakes and lagoons with hundreds of fish, a lasting memory is waiting at the end of the line.
“I absolutely love it when a kid catches the fish for the first time," Rosin-Schaff says. "Or they don’t want to leave.”
And they don’t have to, when it’s all available so close to home.
The free ice fishing clinics run continuously throughout the day on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.