2017-06-15 / Front Page

A Day of Family Fun at the Ponds

Children Thrill With Excitement of A Summer Saturday Spent Fishing
By Erich T. Doerr


Aiden Gould, 6, and his father Zach show off a fish Aiden caught during Kids Fishing Day Saturday, June 10, at the Castle Rock Ponds. The fishing was good at the ponds Saturday, as Aiden caught and released more than a dozen fish, reeling in many of them with this new green fishing pole he won as a door prize. Behind them, Mary Ocko and her daughter Alaina (left) and nephew Isaac Bowol, all of Interlochen, can also be seen fishing. Aiden Gould, 6, and his father Zach show off a fish Aiden caught during Kids Fishing Day Saturday, June 10, at the Castle Rock Ponds. The fishing was good at the ponds Saturday, as Aiden caught and released more than a dozen fish, reeling in many of them with this new green fishing pole he won as a door prize. Behind them, Mary Ocko and her daughter Alaina (left) and nephew Isaac Bowol, all of Interlochen, can also be seen fishing. There was plenty of bait in the water and the fish were biting Saturday, June 10, during the 21st annual Kids Fishing Day celebration at the Castle Rock Ponds.

The event attracted 248 people, including about 115 children, for an afternoon of fun at the ponds. The Straits Area Sportsmen’s Club, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service worked together to arrange the outing.

Saturday’s event tied in with a free fishing weekend in Michigan, so children and their families could do all the fishing they liked without needing a license. The weather was perfect for enjoying the outdoors, as temperatures beside the pond stayed in the warm but comfortable category. The water in the ponds was largely clear, so children seated along the shore actually could see fish swim up and bite their lures at times. Free hot dogs, orange drinks, and coffee were available to visitors during the festivities.


Jenna Theisen, 4, and her grandfather, Howard Cadotte, both of St. Ignace, had a good time at Kids Fishing Day at the Castle Rock Ponds. Jenna caught this big 15-inch perch, getting a little help from Mr. Cadotte to reel it in. Jenna Theisen, 4, and her grandfather, Howard Cadotte, both of St. Ignace, had a good time at Kids Fishing Day at the Castle Rock Ponds. Jenna caught this big 15-inch perch, getting a little help from Mr. Cadotte to reel it in. “Everyone is having a good time,” Sportsmen’s Club President Gary Gorniak said. “This is a good program to get families involved in. Sometimes in this fast-track, modern world, you forget basic fun like this.”


At left: The 21st annual Kids Fishing Day at the Castle Rock Ponds was a success Saturday, June 10, as 115 children and their families came out to enjoy a few hours of outdoor fun. Here children and adults fish side by side both on the shore of the largest pond and in a temporary water tank set up on shore. The Straits Area Sportsmen’s Club, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service worked together to organize the event. At left: The 21st annual Kids Fishing Day at the Castle Rock Ponds was a success Saturday, June 10, as 115 children and their families came out to enjoy a few hours of outdoor fun. Here children and adults fish side by side both on the shore of the largest pond and in a temporary water tank set up on shore. The Straits Area Sportsmen’s Club, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service worked together to organize the event. All of the Castle Rock Ponds were stocked in advance of Saturday’s festivities. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s Jordan River Fish Hatchery provided 1,000 brook trout that were in all the ponds, 600 of them in the largest pond that was the focus of the fishing day activities.

Children caught more than 160 brook trout. There were also 150 rainbow trout that were used to stock a temporary above-ground pool onshore that children also could fish. Remaining trout in the onshore pond were released into the large pond at the end of the day. About 100 door prizes donated to the event were given away to children Saturday, including fishing poles and outdoor toys.


A.J. Babione and his father Andrew hold up A.J.’s fishing pole together just minutes after A.J. caught a fish, his first ever at the Castle Rock Ponds. A.J.’s goal for the day was to catch a fish, and he was happy he did. The fish was released. A.J. Babione and his father Andrew hold up A.J.’s fishing pole together just minutes after A.J. caught a fish, his first ever at the Castle Rock Ponds. A.J.’s goal for the day was to catch a fish, and he was happy he did. The fish was released. Four-year-old Jenna Theisen and her grandfather, Howard Cadotte, were among the local contingent in attendance Saturday. Early in the day, Jenna caught a 15-inch perch, with Mr. Cadotte helping her reel it in. The family planned to eat the prized catch after they went home.

“This is good,” Jenna said. “I like the big fish I got.”

This was the family’s second time at the event. They came because Jenna wanted to be a part of the action. Mr. Cadotte has been fishing for more than four decades and takes part in the hobby often.


At left: Kinross resident Megan Rolston, 11, holds up the rainbow trout she caught in the onshore water tank just moments before releasing it into the Castle Rock Ponds. Megan came with her family to the event and fished in both the tank and the actual ponds Saturday. She said the festivities were a great experience for children who may not have gone out fishing before. At left: Kinross resident Megan Rolston, 11, holds up the rainbow trout she caught in the onshore water tank just moments before releasing it into the Castle Rock Ponds. Megan came with her family to the event and fished in both the tank and the actual ponds Saturday. She said the festivities were a great experience for children who may not have gone out fishing before. “It’s a beautiful day and we’re having fun,” Mr. Cadotte said.

Aiden Gould, 6, was another of the local participants Saturday as he fished beside his father, Zach. Aiden won a fishing pole in the door prize drawing early in the day and found much success using it later, as he caught perch after perch, releasing each after reeling it in. Aiden said he liked his new pole because he caught more than a dozen fish Saturday.


At left: St. Ignace resident Kevin Hershman and his nine-year-old son Dillan Pavlat of Kinross fished together at the Castle Rock Ponds as part of the annual Kids Fishing Day. Dillan won a new, blue fishing pole as a door prize Saturday, and holds it up here before putting it to use. The pair and their family have been regulars at the event for years, and Mr. Hershman’s father, Al Hershman, was one of the organizers who helped start the event more than two decades ago. At left: St. Ignace resident Kevin Hershman and his nine-year-old son Dillan Pavlat of Kinross fished together at the Castle Rock Ponds as part of the annual Kids Fishing Day. Dillan won a new, blue fishing pole as a door prize Saturday, and holds it up here before putting it to use. The pair and their family have been regulars at the event for years, and Mr. Hershman’s father, Al Hershman, was one of the organizers who helped start the event more than two decades ago. The Goulds often fish together at the pond behind their house. They also have gone fishing at their cabin near Trout Lake. This was Aiden’s third time at the event.

“This is great for the children,” Mr. Gould said. “It gets them out and they have fun.”

St. Ignace’s Kevin Hershman and his son, Dillan Pavlat, 9, of Kinross also were there. The pair takes part in Kids Fishing Day every year. The family has a long history with the event: Mr. Hershman’s father, Al, helped start it.


Straits Area Sportmen’s Club volunteer Keith Doepker grills hot dogs to serve to hungry visitors to Kids Fishing Day at the Castle Rock Ponds. The event attracted 248 people, including 115 children, with the club expecting to serve more than 350 of the free hot dogs by the time the day was over. A team of 22 volunteers operated all of Saturday’s activities. Straits Area Sportmen’s Club volunteer Keith Doepker grills hot dogs to serve to hungry visitors to Kids Fishing Day at the Castle Rock Ponds. The event attracted 248 people, including 115 children, with the club expecting to serve more than 350 of the free hot dogs by the time the day was over. A team of 22 volunteers operated all of Saturday’s activities. “The children are all really enjoying this,” Mr. Hershman said.

Dillan won a new fishing pole in the door prize drawing. He is quite fond of it because it is blue, his favorite color.

“I love the fishing,” Dillan said, noting this is the only time he and his dad go fishing together all year.

Cailin Bills, 9, is another regular participant at Kids Fishing Day. She caught both a perch and a trout Saturday, having fun although the trout did eat one of her hooks. She came to the event with her brother, Braeden Arnold, his friend, Angelo Gallo, and her grandmother, Lori Tallman. Cailin said she loves fishing.

Five-year-old A.J. Babione was one of the St. Ignace children who caught his first-ever fish Saturday. He attended the event with his father, Coast Guard Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate Andrew Babione, the officer in charge at Station St. Ignace.

“I was hoping to catch a fish and I did,” A.J. said.

This is the second year Mr. Babione has attended Kids Fishing Day. He was pleased with the event, noting the Coast Guard could get involved with it in the future to help promote children’s lifejacket use. While no one was out on the water several children Saturday still wore lifejackets on the shore.

“This is a superb way to introduce your family to the great outdoors,” Mr. Babione said, noting he and A.J. plan to go fishing more now that he is of age.

Megan Rolston, 11, was one of the children who fished in both the regular ponds and the onshore tank, catching a rainbow trout from the latter before releasing it into the main pond. She came to the event for the first time this year alongside her family from Kinross.

“That was pretty fun,” Megan said. “This is a great experience for a lot of children who may not have been fishing before.”

The set up at the ponds for Kids Fishing Day required one hour of work Friday, June 10, and two hours Saturday morning. It was expected to take about two hours to put everything back to normal after the event. A team of 22 volunteers ran the event.

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