spacerspacerIllinois Department of Natural Resources  

June 2, 2010

IDNR Announces Summer Urban Fishing Clinics

Clinics provide free instruction and fun for kids, “Access to Fishing” gear also available

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Learning how to fish is fun, easy and free for youngsters and families throughout Illinois this summer thanks to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Urban Fishing Program.  Free fishing clinics are planned at more than 30 locations throughout the state. 

“Fishing is a great way for families to spend time together outdoors, and each summer our urban fishing clinics give thousands of children a chance to experience the fun of fishing,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.  “The clinic instructors provide basic instruction on how to fish, and with those lessons we expect a lot of kids will become hooked on fishing.”

The free Urban Fishing Program clinics are targeted toward children ages 16 and younger, but anyone interested in learning basic fishing techniques are welcome to attend.

“Parents and grandparents are urged to come along and attend any of our programs with their children,” said IDNR Central Illinois Urban Fishing Program Coordinator Herb Dreier.  “Their experiences will create excitement that will provide many memorable family discussions.”

Fishing clinic instructors present information on fish and other aquatic life, rules and regulations for fishing, as well as basic instruction on baiting a hook, tying a knot, casting, important tactics on how to catch fish and how to handle and return fish to the water.  As part of each clinic, participants are provided with rods, reels, bait and tackle for 90 minutes of catch-and-release fishing.

Urban Fishing clinics are presented on weekdays during the late spring and summer months at 38 locations throughout the state.  In addition to the scheduled clinics outlined below, fishing clinics can also be arranged for scouts, seniors, civic clubs and groups with special needs.

Science and physical education teachers interested in starting a fishing program in their schools can also contact the IDNR Urban Fishing coordinator in their area to get more information.

“Fishing is truly an activity that can develop into a lifelong hobby.  Once a person knows the basics of fishing including how to catch fish, it can be an exciting and addictive activity,” Dreier said.

The Illinois Urban Fishing Program was introduced in Chicago in 1985 to teach individuals of all ages to fish, to provide better local fishing opportunities and to give participants an understanding of and a greater appreciation for natural resources.  Urban Fishing Program coordinators also hold non-fishing conservation education programs and visit schools during the fall, winter and spring.

In addition to the fishing clinics, the IDNR provides fishing opportunities to anglers of all ages through the popular Access to Fishing initiative in which fishing gear can be borrowed at more than 155 locations statewide.  The loan program provides the opportunity to borrow rods, reels and tackle packs.  Participating loaner locations include many public libraries, park and forest preserve districts, bait shops, recreation departments and other locations.  A list of sites offering access to fishing gear is available by checking the web site at www.ifishill or by phoning the IDNR Urban Fishing Program at 217/782-6424.

The schedule of 2010 Urban Fishing clinic dates, locations and contact information is listed below:

Chicago Area
June 23 - August 20
Chicago Park District Lagoons
            (Contact: Chicago Fishing Coordinator Brenda McKinney, 847/294-4137)

Northern Illinois
June 17 – August 11
            Glen Oak Park Lagoon, Peoria (Peoria Park District, 309/681-2865)
            Levings Lake, Rockford (815/625-2968)
            Big Pond, Boone County Conservation District, Belvidere (815/624-2968)
            Mill Race Ponds, Belvidere (815/625-2968)
            (Contact:  Region I Fisheries Administrator Dan Sallee, 815/625-2968)

Central Illinois
June 7 - August 6
            Miller Park, Bloomington (309/434-2260)
            Crystal Lake Park, Urbana (June 14 - August 6 only; 217/367-1544)
            Fairview Park, Decatur (217/422-5911)
            Washington Park, Springfield (217/753-6224)
(Contact:  Central Illinois Coordinator Herb Dreier, 217/935-6860 ext. 238 or 217/622-4266)

Southern Illinois
June 7 - August 6
            Veterans Park Lake, Mt. Vernon (June 7 - July 2 only, 618/242-6890)
            Foundation Park Pond, Centralia (July 6 - August 6 only, 618/532-4311)
            SIU Campus Lake, Carbondale (June 7 - August 6, 618/453-6088)
Jones Lake at Kenneth Hall Park, East St. Louis (618/874-3600 or 618/444-0388)
            Gordon Moore Park Lake, Alton (618/462-1181)
            (Contact:  Southern Illinois Coordinator Mark Yehling, 618/462-1181 ext. 155)

Illinois State Fair
August 13 - 22           
            Conservation World – five clinics daily
            (Contact: Herb Dreier, 217/935-6860 ext. 238 or 217/622-4266)

Du Quoin State Fair
August 27 - September 6
            Conservation Village Aquatic Area – daily clinics
            (Contact: Mark Yehling, 618/462-1181 ext. 155)
Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days
September 25 - 26
            IDNR Aquatic Area, John A. Logan College, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days

Several additional clinic opportunities will again be available this year.  Prospective participants should phone ahead for information on the following clinic locations and schedules:

Northwest Illinois Clinics
            Lost Nation Lake, Dixon (Jerry Sellers, 815/652-3761)
Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Camp (LOMC), Oregon (Tim Benedict, 815/732-2220)

Central Illinois Clinics
            Charleston Park and Recreation Department, Charleston (217/345-6897)
            Kennekuk Cove County Park, Danville (217/442-1691)
            Human Resources Center, Paris (217/465-4118)
            McLean County Conservation District, Hudson (309/726-2022)
            Pittsfield Park District, Pittsfield (217/285-4484)
            Quincy Parks Department, Quincy (217/223-7703)
            Watseka Park District, Watseka (815/432-3931)
            Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton (217/935-0373)
            Heartland Community College, Normal (Janet Beach-Davis, 309/268-8513)

Southern Illinois Clinics
            Granite City Park District, Granite City (618/877-3059)
            O’Fallon Parks and Recreation, O’Fallon (618/624-0139)
            Shawnee Community College “Fish Tales”, Ullin (618/524-2270)