Reeling in Memories: Celebrating Kids Fishing Day in Winthrop

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Over 500 excited young anglers and family members attended Winthrop National Fish Hatchery’s Kids Fishing Day in Winthrop, Washington, on June 8th to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week. The event has become a tradition for many local and visiting families since it first started over three decades ago! 

A beautiful day for some family fishing fun!

Participants lined up at the gate well before the event started, eager to catch the large trout left over from Entiat National Fish Hatchery’s retired fishing pond and non-migrant juvenile steelhead from Winthrop National Fish Hatchery. Once the gates opened, kids age 14 and under received their passports to fishing fun and were encouraged to visit activity booths where they receive a passport stamp. Kids with five or more passport stamps earned a rod and tackle for a chance to catch a trout. This includes opportunities to land a trophy trout or a tagged fish that came with a special bonus prize.

The water table was a very popular activity

Educational booths were hosted by partners new and old across the Methow Valley. Trout Unlimited and Okanagan Conservation District hosted a macroinvertebrate station where visitors could get a closer look at a young salmon’s main food source. The Methow Valley Fly Fishers demonstrated casting and fly tying based on the bugs they observed. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers led activities focused on water safety, the Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation ran the water table, and the Methow Beaver Project had a variety of beaver educational materials. Yakama Nation Fisheries had a fish tank and shared information about their work restoring native fish populations, and Indigenous storyteller Dayton Edmonds shared tales with visitors. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fishing and Aquatic Education Trailer brought casting, knot tying, and fish identification activities. Some great new additions this year included storytelling from the North Central Washington Library in a large fish tent, and salmon smoking demonstrations by members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, with plenty of delicious samples to share with attendees!

The smoked salmon station was educational and delicious! 

Many first-time fishers joined past returners, bringing their rods from home and sharing stories of the large trout caught in years past. 

“It’s so fun seeing the same kids year after year as they get older but continue to have the same excitement about the event activities and fishing,” says Sara Reese, Winthrop Fish Hatchery Manager. “It’s probably one of the highest attended kids-centric events by the local community.” 

Parents who fished the pond as kids themselves now get to bring their children and share the excitement of reeling in their first catch. “I used to bring this one here to fish as a kid,” one man mentioned about his adult son, “Now we get to bring my granddaughter." 

Although bites were a little slow, plenty of fish were caught, and kids had the chance to learn what fishing is all about – patience, relaxation, and enjoying the outdoors surrounded by good company. After catching a fish, kids brought their catch to the fish cleaning station, where volunteers prepared the fish to be brought home for dinner.

There was no shortage of prizes at the event, including fish-shaped tackle boxes and new fishing rods. These prizes allow kids to continue their fishing fun for the rest of the season. One young angler who won a prize rod was seen purchasing fishing supplies at the local hardware store a few days later! Event t-shirts created by the Methow Arts Alliance and provided by the Methow Valley Flyfishers and Friends of Northwest Hatcheries featured art created by local middle schoolers. 

Storytime inside the fish tent

This event would not be possible without all the help and support from the Methow Valley community. We are grateful for all the community members who made the event a success and look forward to continuing the tradition next year. 

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Fish hatcheries
Special events
Sport fishing

Recreational Activities