Kids growing up at the time I did had no problem getting involved with the outdoors during summers. It's what we did. There wasn't on X-Box or an I-Pod to be found anywhere. We didn't need grown-ups or gadgets to provide our entertainment. We just grabbed a sharp shooter shovel and a Prince Albert tobacco can, dug us some earthworms and went fishing.
Today's parents who grew up the way I did are usually the ones who see the importance of getting their offspring involved in outdoors stuff. They take their kids with them to the woods and on the water, allowing them to experience some of those valuable things that molded them.
Parents with no outdoors background themselves are less likely to take their sons and daughters fishing and hunting. They never did it and it doesn't occur to them the importance of having their kids doing things foreign to them.
Thankfully, efforts are being made by some groups to help parents see how vital learning about and partaking of the natural world is to their children.
I saw a press release this week about an event the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is hosting for youngsters in the Baton Rouge area. While it's not likely any of our north Louisiana kids will be able to take part, maybe the same type camp can be held around the state.
The event will feature a summer camp for kids, 12 to 16 years of age, at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge. The camp is free and will allow participants to receive their official boater and hunter education certifications. The LDWF will also offer a fish identification class, fishing and canoeing in the ponds at Waddill, skeet shooting, and other outdoor related classes and activities. Lunch will be provided and Cabela's in Gonzales will donate a rod and reel combo set for each youngster to fish with at camp and take home with them afterwards. I have grandchildren living in the Baton Rouge area and you can bet I'm forwarding them this information, hoping they get to participate.
Another event caught my attention recently. Most mornings, I walk at Lincoln Parish Park. This past Friday when I drove into the park, I was puzzled at the number of vehicles there; I had to search for a parking spot. Then I remembered the Peach Festival Kid Fishing Tournament being held that day. I was humbled at the sheer number of youngsters and adult supervisors dunking crickets and casting jigs into the lake at the park. I have no idea who actually won the event but from what I observed, there were no losers there that day.
I spoke with one dad, Ruston's Nick Brown, who was there with his wife, Mandy, and their two youngsters, R.J. and Baylee. "This is an event we try to bring our kids to every year because we see it as important for them to have this opportunity to learn about nature and the outdoors. I can't thank the Peach Festival folks, the LDWF and the Lincoln Parish Park enough for providing this wonderful opportunity," said Brown.
As I walked around the lake, I observed families like the Brown's fishing together, saw single mothers with their children and even total strangers helping youngsters with no parents present bait hooks and teaching fishing techniques.
Here's hoping that Wildlife and Fisheries will see the value in conducting these camps such as the one in Baton Rouge all around the state to give kids the opportunity to learn how much fun it is to get serious with Mother Nature.
BLACK BAYOU: Some bream are being caught on crickets and worms. Bass fishing has been fair with best catches made on floating worms and topwater lures fished around the grass. Crappie are slow.
CANEY LAKE: Bass fishing has fair during the days; better at night with most caught fairly shallow on black spinner baits, plastics worms and lizards. Most are slot fish or just under the slot; not many big ones caught this week. Bream fishing has been best fishing crickets and worms off the banks in 8-9 foot water. Catfish are biting liver and cold worms fished on the bottom. Crappie are rather slow.
CHENIERE LAKE: Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Bass fishing has been fair with best catches made early mornings on topwaters and buzz baits while Wobbleheads are working around the grass later in the day. Crappie are slow to fair.
LAKE CLAIBORNE: Bream fishing is good on crickets and worms. Bass fishing has been fair with best catches made early, late or at night. Spinners and plastic worms are working at night fishing around the lighted docks. Stripers are schooling and a good many 5-7 pounders are being caught fishing bucktails. Crappie are rather slow.
LAKE D'ARBONNE: Bass are hitting early and late on buzz baits and topwater lures while Carolina rigs and crank baits are better during the day. Crappie are fair fishing shiners or jigs in the deeper sloughs around submerged brush while some better catches are being made at night on shiners fished around the lights. Bream and catfish continue to bite cold worms and crickets fished on the flats and off the banks.
OUACHITA RIVER: The river is at normal level and both bass and crappie fishing is improving in the river lakes. Some bream are still on the beds in the lakes.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.