There’s no free lunch, the saying goes. But there is, at least in a free program aimed at introducing youngsters to the fishing.
A Midland County Youth Fishing Program to take place twice, on consecutive June Saturdays, offers youngsters 5 to 13 free lessons, tackle, bait and, yes, even lunch.
Dave Thomas, a former Midlander who now lives on Wixom Lake, has organized the program, which he said is supported by Midland County Parks and by Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Midland.
Jon Hesse, a retired instructor from Michigan State University’s fisheries department, organized a youth fishing program and conducted it three times last year. Thomas, who knew Hesse through 4H, volunteered at one of the events, “and what I saw in those kids’ eyes — I wanted to replicate that in Midland.”
A “pair of passions” drove Thomas to make it happen: “One of my passions is to make a positive difference with youth,” he said, “and another is to share my personal passion for fishing.”
Thomas said a family story has him fishing on the Sanford Lake shoreline at age 5, catching his first fish and “running up and down the bank yelling, ‘I catched a fish! I catched a fish!’” Other anglers were so amused, the story goes, they added their catches to the Thomas family pail until they went home with plenty for a fish fry.
Thomas wants to launch similar stories in other families.
Participants can select Saturday, June 2, or Saturday, June 9; the same program runs 9:30-11:30 a.m., both days.
Parents must accompany kids, and pre-registration is required.