Experience The Great Outdoors

OSKALOOSA — Get your tackle box and pole ready for some fishing. No fishing license will be required this weekend only, from Friday, June 3rd through Sunday, June 5th.

“The DNR (Department of Natural Resources) always has a free fishing weekend for residents of Iowa,” said Laura DeCook, Naturalist for Mahaska County Conservation Board (MCCB). “People that are residents of Iowa, 16 and older, do not need a fishing license. It’s intended to get people out and fishing.”

From noon to 1 p.m. Friday, June 3, stop by and enjoy a picnic at Russell Wildlife Area.

“We will cook up some fish, probably catfish, and hand out some recipes and enjoy a quick lunch out here,” said DeCook. Later that afternoon will be the fishing activities. “People can come and go as they want. From 5 to 6 p.m., we’ll provide some hot dogs to cook over a campfire, and people can bring their own drink and side dish and have a campfire picnic. After that, we’ll do some fishing and sign up all the kids so we know who’s there and keep track of what they catch.

“This weekend is nice because people can fish for free. We wanted to do an event for the whole family where people can come out to Russell Wildlife, which is a public area, and go fishing,” said DeCook. “We’ll have activities to teach kids all about fishing, and have some hands-on activities, and give them a chance to fish. We’re going to have a little contest amongst the kids on Friday, to see who can catch the largest in length and the smallest in length; and they can win a trophy.”

Help will be provided, so don’t worry if you’ve never baited a hook or cast a line before. There will be fishing poles available to simple but helpful sur-borrow, and MCCB will be providing night crawlers for bait. There’s no shortage of outdoor fun coming up.

Adventure week will be held from Monday, June 6th through Friday, June 10th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day. “I put this together to provide people an opportunity to try different outdoor activities,” said DeCook. “These activities are for everyone, not just kids – there’s no age limit.”

Monday, June 6th, will be spent fishing in the Russell Wildlife Area ponds. Unlike the previous weekend, a fishing license will be required for all participants 16 and older. There will be some fishing poles provided.

Basic outdoor survival skills will be taught on Tuesday, June 7th, while hiking around Russell Wildlife Area. “We’ll go off trail and enjoy the park and talk about some vival skills for outdoors,” said DeCook.

Wednesday, June 8th, will be spent learning archery and bow fishing skills.

“Everyone that comes will have a chance to try out each of those,” said DeCook. Thursday will feature exploring the outdoors, including off-trail hiking, fossil digging and bird watching. Come hungry to the Friday, June 8th activity, outdoor cooking. “We’ll be cooking over a fire here, if anyone wants to bring their own recipes or something to cook,” said De Cook, “or try out what we provide.”

“We want to encourage people to go outdoors,” said DeCook, “and it’s all free. Come all days or pick and choose what afternoons you want to come.”

Call MCCB at 641-673-9327to sign up.

Story provided by Angie Holland


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