By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer
It’s time for the Oasis State Park Kid’s Fishing Clinic.
The annual event next Saturday draws young and old to learn about fish, tying hooks, bait and casting.
Oasis State Park Manager Jim Whary said the New Mexico Game and Fish Department put together the fishing clinic.
“Children are being taught different things,” Whary said. “They can be taught knot tying, fly fishing, water safety, ethics and conservation.”
The 18th annual Kids Fishing Clinic features eight to 10 stations set up for people to watch, learn and participate.
The park, Friends of Oasis State Park, Retired and Senior volunteer Program of Portales, Eastern New Mexico Wildlife club, Game and Fish and local volunteers will be hosting the clinic.
Children can learn about fish biology and what the fish might eat to help them catch the big one that usually gets away.
Kathryn Law, instructional coordinator with New Mexico State Parks, has been teaching at the clinic for six years and also teaches at a clinic at Brantley Lake.
“I teach children about how fish live,” Law said. “I start explaining how fish move and breathe. Then how they eat. Then if you know this about fish then you can tell where a fish lives by the shape of its body, and get a good idea of what kind a bait to use by the size of its mouth.”
Law uses props to show children and explain the biology of a fish to them. She has a mounted largemouth bass that she shows the children and talks to them about the eyes, gills and fins of the fish.
Last year, the children fished out of a pool because the park was having problems with the leaking liner and holding water. This time the children will see the fish in their natural habitat.
Erin Cabeldue and her family went to the fishing clinic last year and enjoyed learning how to fish.
“We’re looking forward to this year,” Cabeldue said. “We’re planning on going again so this year we can fish out of the pond instead of the swimming pool. We learned a lot that day and the weather was perfect.”
The clinic is for children 6-17 years old and their guardians.
People planning on attending the clinic must register early due to limited space. Park spokespersons say dress warmly, bring fishing gear and tackle if you have it.
The entrance fee is one or two cans of food per child. The canned food will be donated to the Eastern New Mexico Bank.
Children 12 years or older must have a valid state fishing license and trout limits apply to all fishing.