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May 11, 2006

Illinois Urban Fishing Program Ready For The Season
Youth Fishing Clinics and access to fishing locations announced

 The urban fishing clinics help introduce young people to the fun of fishing, while anglers and would-be anglers of any age can borrow fishing equipment at dozens of locations as part of the IDNR Access to Fishing initiative.

“Each year thousands of youngsters get their first experience with fishing by attending one of our free fishing clinics held throughout the state during their summer break,” said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood.  “The clinics are a great way to provide some expert instruction to kids so they can add fishing to their list of favorite outdoor activities.”

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

“The Urban Fishing Program has grown into one of the most popular programs offered at IDNR,” said Chicago Program Coordinator Brenda McKinney.  “Each year we expose thousands of children to the joy of fishing and help them to experience the outdoors in Illinois.”

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, 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 scheduled clinics outlined below, fishing clinics can also be arranged for scouts, seniors, civic clubs and groups with special needs.
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.  The backbone of the program consists of free summer fishing clinics that include fishing at nearby stocked ponds.  Urban Fishing Program coordinators also hold non-fishing Conservation Education Programs and attend numerous schools during the fall, winter, and spring to teach and promote fishing and the appreciation of natural resources.
The IDNR Access to Fishing program provides loaner fishing gear to anglers of all ages.  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.ifishillinois.org or by phoning the IDNR Urban Fishing Program at 217/782-6424.

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

Chicago Area
June 21 - August 25
Chicago Park District Lagoons
 (Contact: Brenda McKinney, 847/294-4137)  

Northern Illinois
June 15 - August 11
  Riverside Park, Moline (call Moline Park District, 309/736-5714)
  Butterworth Park, East Moline (Thursdays only - call 309/755-5224)
  Glen Oak Park Lagoon, Peoria (call Peoria Park District, 309/681-2865)
  Levings Lake, Rockford (call 815/625-2968)

Big Pond, Boone County Conservation District, Belvidere (call 815/624-2968)
 Mill Race Ponds, Belvidere (call 815/625-2968)
 (Contact:  Dan Sallee, 815/625-2968)

Central Illinois
June 5 – August 4
  Miller Park, Bloomington (call 309/4340-2260)
  Crystal Lake Park, Urbana (June 12 – August 4 only; call 217/367-1544)
  Fairview Park, Decatur (call 217/422-5911)
  Washington Park, Springfield (call 217/753-0700)
(May also hold a few weekday evening and Saturday morning programs for families; Contact:  Herb Dreier, 217/935-6860 ext. 238 or 217/622-4266)

Southern Illinois
June 12 – August 4
  Veterans Park Lake, Mt. Vernon (June 12 – July 7 only, call 618/242-6890)
  Foundation Park Pond, Centralia (July 10 – August 4 only, call 618/532-4311)
  SIU Campus Lake, Carbondale (call 618/453-6088)
  Jones Lake at Kenneth Hall Park, East St. Louis (call 618/874-3600)
  Gordon Moore Park Lake, Alton (call 618/462-1181)
 (Contact:  Mark Yehling, 618/462-1181)

Illinois State Fair
August 11 – 20
 Conservation World – Five clinics daily
 (Contact: Herb Dreier, 217/935-6860 x 238 or 217/622-4266)

Du Quoin State Fair
August 26 – September 4
 Conservation Village Aquatic Area – Daily Clinics
 (Contact: Mark Yehling, 618/462-1181)
Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days
September 23 – 24
 IDNR Aquatic Area, John A. Logan College, 9 a.m. - 5p.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)
  Human Resources Center, Paris (217/465-4118)
  Pittsfield Park District, Pittsfield (217/285-4484)
  Quincy Parks Department, Quincy (217/223-7703)
  Taylorville Park District, Taylorville (217/824-3110)
  Watseka Park District, Watseka (815/432-3931)

Southern Illinois Clinics
  Belleville Park District, “Camp Quackers”, Belleville (618/233-1416)
  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)



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