By Lyndsie Ferrell
SOUTH FORK— The annual children’s fishing clinic will be taking place on June 16 during the Father’s Day weekend near South Fork. The clinic is a great opportunity to get out and about with the family for a fun filled morning of fishing at Tucker Ponds located about 12 miles outside of South Fork. The clinic has been an area favorite for the town of South Fork for several years, first as a fishing derby that included prizes for best catch and then becoming what it is today, an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of fishing and to enjoy a relaxed day on two beautiful lakes in the Rio Grande National Forest.
The town of South fork partners with several area business that help provide fishing equipment as well as the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) who come out to show the participating children how to cast, identify fish species and learn about rules and regulations to help them on their future angling prospects. The department also provides poles to those who do not have one, which the children get to keep at the end of the day.
The fun will begin at 8 a.m. at Tucker Ponds with several stations for children to partake in. South Fork Visitor Center Director Mark Teders always sets up a station to introduce participating children to the wonders of knot tying. Teders is an excellent teacher when it comes to several areas of outdoor recreation, but knot tying is one of his specialties. In order to be a great fishman or woman, it is important to know how to tie specific knots, like a slipknot in order to secure lures to a fishing line. Teders takes his time and shows each and every child how to tie up to three knots.
Another station that is provided by CPW shows children how to properly cast a line out into the water and how to catch a fish. CPW staff members provide weighted poles to children and take the time to show them how their reels work and how to cast effectively, getting the line out as far as they can and how to hook a fish once they bite.
Other CPW staff members set up stations to talk about both fish species as well as rules and regulations for Colorado fishermen. The identification station shows participants how to identify and recognize species of fish in Colorado waters. Staff members explain that at certain times of the year, specific species may be off limits due to drops in population or the type of fish may be reproducing and must be left alone.
The rules are in place in order to protect the populations from becoming too thin or becoming extinct as well as helping to increase aquatic populations. Characteristics of each fish are pointed out to help children identify what type of fish they have caught. A rainbow trout, for example, can be identified by its array of colors across its scales. Brook trout can be identified by the brown to tan colors of their bodies and Kokanee Salmon by their out-reaching jaw and pink tinge on their skin.
The day will also include lunch provided by the Chapel of South Fork. For more information, please visit www.southfork.org.