Kids can compete reeling in the longest trout and catch a prize during a free event promoting outdoor recreation in February.
The Water Oriented Recreation District is hosting its 24th Annual Fun Fish on Feb. 23 at Camp Huaco Springs on the GuadalupeRiver.
Last year, more than 1,200 people participated. WORD assistant manager Beverly Lopez said the event is a fun way to encourage kids to enjoy nature with their families and friends.
“I believe it is important for kids to learn outdoor recreation activities because they are able to get away from their phones, TVs and video games to learn a new skill that could fuel an undiscovered passion,” Lopez said.
Registration is free and at 10:30 a.m. The fishing tournament is from noon to 3 p.m., and the awards ceremony is at 3:15 p.m.
The district supplies free bait, tackle and loaner fishing poles on a first come, first serve basis.
Texas Parks and Wildlife releases about 25 tagged fish, Lopez said. If someone catches any tagged fish, they can take them to any measuring station throughout the campground and win an instant cash prize.
Kids can bring multiple fish at a time to qualify. Texas Parks and Wildlife also stocks more than 2,000 trout the morning of the event. Anyone who catches a fish is given a medal but must be present at the award ceremony to win, Lopez said.
There are first-second-and third-place trophies for age groups: 3 to 6, 7 to 9, 10 to 13 and 14 to 16. One grand prize winner goes to the longest fish caught.
Besides fishing, multiple organizations have “education stations” set up so kids can learn about subjects like conservation, knot tying, beautification and aquatic habitat, Lopez said.
“Kids who visit all the education stations may have the opportunity to win free family day passes to local attractions, such as Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, Alamo Drafthouse, Stars & Stripes Drive-in,” she said.
The grand-prize winner will receive a free family camping trip to Guadalupe River State Park and a camping kit. The kit will contain a sleeping bag, tent, camping chair, backpack, first aid kit and water bottle.
“We want kids to learn the importance of taking care of our natural resources, and by engaging in outdoor recreational activities they can see the impacts we have on those resources firsthand,” Lopez said.
The Texas Legislature in 1987 created the Water Oriented Recreation District, a parks and recreation district encompassing Canyon Lake and more than 30 miles of water on the Guadalupe River above and below the lake, according to the district’s website.
The district started Fun Fish years ago when it contracted with the KIDFISH foundation to run the event. It brought the event in-house sometime in 2007 and renamed it FUNFISH.
The event is free because the district pays for many of the event costs and solicits sponsorships, contributors and volunteers.
“We hope this event will bring kids and their families who do not have the opportunity to engage in outdoor recreation opportunities,” Lopez said. “We also hope that those who have attended this event in the past continue to participate year after year. Any day you can spend outdoors away from your day to day routine is a good day!”