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Learning to set the hook marks 25 years of Kids’ Ice Fishing Days

Hot dogs and hot chocolate are always a hit, but bluegill, crappie and free fishing tackle make up the main event.

The goal is to introduce hundreds of children to the sport of a lifetime. And it seems that the mission has been accomplished by more than just the Yahara Fishing Club.

With an endless supply of new participants ready to pull a fish out of an ice hole, the club will hold its 25th annual Kids’ Ice Fishing Day on Monona Bay on Saturday.







Packs of young anglers joined Monona Bay last year for Kids’ Ice Fishing Day. The Yahara Fishing Club’s 25th annual event is this Saturday and starts at the Brittingham Park picnic shelter on West Washington Avenue near South Park Street.


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The free event, outside the Brittingham Park picnic shelter near West Washington Avenue and South Park Street, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon. And with temperatures dropping later in the week, there should be more than six inches of ice to hold eager anglers.

“Our mission at the club is to increase interest and opportunities for fishing and maintain the quality of the lakes,” club president Philip James said. “Hopefully, some of them will enjoy it and it will be a lifelong activity for them. If we don’t have people who value the outdoors, we won’t keep them.”

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James, who joined the fishing club more than 20 years ago when he took his kids to Kids Ice Fishing Day, said the first 300 kids will get free fishing poles, ice packs and weights. helping to determine the depth of the water. It will also be stocked and this year it is a favorite of nails, half inch long white fly larvae and fish.







Ice Fishing Day for Kids turns 25

A small bluefish emerge from the waters of Monona Bay during last year’s Ice Fishing Day.


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Club members have dug hundreds of holes since early in the morning, to clarify questions and also to give advice. And while there’s no guarantee everyone will catch a fish, they’ll set up in one of the most productive and popular fishing spots in southern Wisconsin, which also offers a view of the State Capitol.

A maximum of 600 hot dogs and liters of hot chocolate will be distributed.

“We don’t have the cache of the North Woods but there’s definitely great opportunity here,” James said. “While the weather hasn’t been good for ice, it looks like Saturday will be pretty good.”







Ice Fishing Day for Kids turns 25

Ansel Bakkum, 8, Madison, center, watches Dave McCoy fish with the help of a sonar fish finder during last year’s Kids Ice Fishing Day on Monona Bay. McCoy is a member of the Yahara Fishing Club and was demonstrating the use of sonar. Left sister Mille, 6, Dog, Banjo, brother Lincoln, 12, and father Eric Bakkum, right.


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The Yahara Fishing Club was founded in 1945 and focuses on the Madison chain of lakes and its many species, including walleye, bass, walleye, northern and apex predators and the state fish, muskie. The club, with about 170 members, offers educational events, promotes fishing and “supports local and state efforts to protect and preserve natural resources related to and necessary for fishing,” according to the club’s website.

The club meets monthly at Bowl-A-Vard Lanes, where it features speakers who talk about fishing, the outdoors and conservation, but will also host a kids’ fishing day on June 3 at Warner Park.