Many kids arrive at camp excited to go fishing. Located within a renowned fishing destination, Camp Voyageur’s wilderness adventure program offers the perfect opportunity for kids to try their luck catching bass, northern pike, and Minnesota’s (state fish) famous walleye. In recent years, however, we’ve noticed a decline in fishing.
This year, CV received a grant – the jumpstart it needed – to revamp campers’ annual pursuit of fish. The Voyageur’s Fishing Program, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is designed to get more kids to fish successfully. The project aims to a) train staff to be capable, trained experts and hire professional fishing guides to provide fishing education to staff, b) provide gear for all campers to have access to, c) provide campers with training and wilderness trips with staff supervision, d) create a mentoring program for older kids to mentor young anglers, e) generate enough interest so that more kids self-identify themselves as anglers, and f) evolve and repeat annually.
The Minnesota DNR wants to get more people into the outdoors. The Angler and Hunter Recruitment and Retention grant program was created in 2015 to help local groups support Minnesota’s angling and hunting heritage. The program aims to address concerns over declines in hunting and angling participation. (Source: MN DNR)
A large body of literature suggests that spending time outdoors helps people feel connected with nature and therefore makes them more likely to engage in environmentally protective behaviors – one reason why the DNR is committed to creating a healthy, sustainable, and livable Minnesota. They are dedicated to protecting and managing land, water, fish and wildlife and also providing access to outdoor recreation opportunities. By promoting hunting and angling, the DNR is working to protect our precious environment.
Freshly built Fish Hut by local handyman Caleb - the new storage space for our stock of rods, reels, and tackle.
Our trip leaders were encouraged to encourage fishing on all canoe trips. Many of them hadn’t fished much before, but we were able to supply rods and tackle so they could learn to fish right alongside their campers. The idea was that if counselors fished more, campers would be motivated to give it a shot.
Besides paying for equipment, the grant also paid for 3 day trips with local professional fishing guides around the White Iron Chain of Lakes. The ease of motor boat trips offer the perfect foundation for angling instruction.
As a result, more campers were able to get their lines wet this year than ever before. Though campers have the opportunity to fish on every canoe trip, we often like to group fishermen together on trips. We sent fishing trips up the Man Chain in the Quetico, down the historic Crooked River up to Crooked Lake, around the Basswood River, and even to a new secret fishing location we learned about from a local angling ally. We also tried to fish more from the camp peninsula itself, and spend some activity periods fishing the local lakes. Indeed, it was a big year for fishing. The grant will continue into 2020, so don’t forget to stock up on wacky worms and other fishing equipment for the upcoming summer!