By: Heather Sees
What is better than hearing the excitement in a child’s voice when they have hooked into their very first fish or chased down a grasshopper and finally caught it? That excitement and enthusiasm was exactly what we experienced these past couple weekends in the annual Greenbacks and Big Brothers Big Sisters fishing and river exploration events.
The event consisted of a two part session on consecutive Saturdays. The first session was held at Reynolds Landing in Littleton where the kids had the opportunity to learn about several different aspects of fishing, ecology, and entomology. We started off the day learning about the differences between spin fishing and fly-fishing. After a quick lesson in the technique of fly-fishing the kids had the opportunity to practice their casting skills!
Once these skills were honed, we moved onto bugs! What kid doesn’t like bugs? The kids were given the opportunity to observe and identify the aquatic insects that live in the South Platte, conduct some experiments to understand the impacts of temperature and light, and then tie some flies that imitated the insects that they previously identified. The day ended with the kids chasing and catching grasshoppers, which were used in their bottle ecology experiments. The day was a huge success, and all of the kids were anxious for the following weekend where they would be given the opportunity to apply everything they learned.
The second session of this event consisted of fishing.The weather was perfect on Saturday when approximately 15 matches arrived at Lake Lehow, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife area. The energy and excitement in the air was buzzing and everyone was anxious to get on the water. These kids, and their mentors, came out to build some new relationships, get a little dirty, and try their hand at catching some fish! After a safety briefing and a discussion about the practice of catch and release we were off. It wasn’t soon after that we had lines in the water that you heard squeals of excitement “FISH ON”!!! Fishing that day was absolutely amazing. We’re pretty sure every kid caughy at least one or maybe five fish. With the help of CPW and The Greenbacks volunteers, we were able to share our love of the outdoors and fishing knowledge to the next generation of anglers!