Kids Fishing Day to inspire a love of the outdoors

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published July 23, 2014

FARMINGTON HILLS — Boys and girls, get your worms out and your inner fisherman ready; the sixth annual Optimist Kids Fishing Day is almost here.

The Kids Fishing Day event, sponsored by the Farmington/Farmington Hills and Southfield Optimist clubs, is set for July 26 at Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve, on 10 Mile Road, east of Inkster.

The Kids Fishing Day offers children ages 4-11 and their parents the opportunity to practice casting, and learn how to catch and release fish.

“There are not that many opportunities for kids like that to come and learn,” Southfield Parks and Operations Supervisor Robert Murray said. “This is actually a class. It is almost a one-on-one learning experience. It is really valuable in that way.” The event has three two-hour sessions running 9-11 a.m., 10 a.m.-noon, and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Each child receives a rod and reel, a tackle box, a snack, instruction and fishing time — for a fee of $20. Participants should wear sunglasses and a hat, and are required to have parental supervision, according to a press release.

There is a limit of 20 kids per session. Register in person at the Costick Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile Road in Farmington Hills.

The event is coordinated by the Farmington Hills Special Services Department and Southfield Parks and Recreation.

Farmington Hills Nature Center Supervisor Ashlie Smith said in an emailed statement that the fishing event is an opportunity for families to discover how fun and rewarding fishing can be.

“The program is especially unique because kids get to take home their own high-quality rod and reel, along with a tackle box,” Smith said in the statement. “We also practice knot tying and casting techniques. Fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors and is a skill that a child will use throughout their life.”

Tom Neal, of the Farmington/Farmington Hills Breakfast Optimist Club, said getting children out into nature is the whole purpose behind the fishing event.

“(We) try to get the kids out of the house and into the wildlife, which we don’t have a lot here in these two towns,” Neal said. “We have opportunities, but kids don’t know today how to do that because there aren’t a lot of people pushing fishing here. It is not taught in the schools. It is not taught anywhere.”

Neal said there are a number of Special Services Department employees with ties to Southfield, so it was a natural relationship to connect with Southfield.

“You should see the excitement and the smiles when (kids) catch a fish,” Neal said. “It is really cool to see a kid light up when they catch a fish. It is a lifetime type of thing. … They’ll do it for the rest of their lives.”

For more information, call (248) 473-1800 or email