Pictured Below: Lillian Ferrier gets a lesson from her Dad
A Legacy of Fishing & Fun
By Ken DeLaat
The scene at White Cloud’s Mill Pond was nearly perfect with sunny skies, a slight breeze, and the sounds of hundreds of kids excited to cast their lines for fish and prizes at the Annual Russell H Gilbert Kids Free Fishing Day Saturday.
This event draws families from throughout the region and beyond and is supported by a loyal and ever-growing group of contributors from businesses to families to individuals as well as an ocean of dedicated volunteers.
There were 200 cash prizes waiting the more fortunate fisher folks who would reel in one of the tagged fish, a large table of other prizes, donuts and drinks for participants, and a lot of...
...family fun to be had all due to the late Mr. Gilbert the former White Cloud Mayor who began the event to give his town’s kids something enjoyable to do on a early summer Saturday.
As always the excitement came to a head when the signal rang out to begin fishing and within about 10 minutes 10 year old Bethany Ferrier brought in catch #1. From then on a steady stream of fish of all sizes began making their way to the measuring table. 15 year old Cody Miller managed to hook into a mailbox and White Cloud sophomore Rachel Burke landed a rather impressive looking frog, but for most participants the catches were of the finned variety.
The White River Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation were there with the Daisy inflatable shooting range giving BB gun instruction to kids who lined up to put their hands on one of the air rifles they had for use.
“We do this to help teach kids about safety and the proper use of guns while also hoping to get them enthused about hunting,” said Scott Kukal, Chapter President.
Amidst the occasionally snarled fishing lines, the armada of bobbers floating about the water and the squeals of delight when a trout or bluegill made it to shore there existed a strong sense of community among those who brought their families down to the pond on Saturday. Neighbors greeted neighbors, friends and acquaintances sat together to take in the day’s activities and most of all, hundreds of kids with poles in hand got to have a day of outdoor fun in a beautiful setting all for the price of just showing up.
One imagines this is just what Mr. Gilbert had in mind when he got the ball rolling so many years ago.