FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shannon Terry, Public Information Officer
Kids Fishing Mentorship Program Featured at 2020 MN Governor’s Fishing Opener
February 20, 2020–Otter Tail County, MN– High school fishing teams are exploding in popularity in Minnesota. In 2018, schools in and around Otter Tail County formed the Heart O’ Lakes High School Fishing League. In 2019, there were 22 schools who had joined the league and over 400 student anglers participating. During the summer months, these teams take to area lakes to compete in catch, record and release tournaments. The students are accompanied by an adult who is designated as the boat captain. Fergus Falls won the 2019 team Championship which was held on Otter Tail Lake.
As part of the 2020 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener, the student anglers are participating in a youth fishing mentorship program. Rather than simply have a onetime fishing “clinic”, teams have been asked to identify a handful of kids in their schools who do not typically have a chance to go fishing. The high school teams were asked to engage the mentees in at least three fishing experiences.
The first experience will take place on land and cover subjects like: safety, technique, AIS and species identification. The second experience will take place either ice fishing, river fishing or on a lake before May. The third and final experience will happen when the student mentors take their fellow student mentees fishing on the Minnesota fishing opener May 9, 2020.
The goal is to provide a meaningful introduction to the sport of fishing and perhaps long-lasting relationships. Ethan Soland, Fergus Falls Fishing Team coach and local teacher is a member of the fishing committee for the 2020 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener. Soland, along with Erik Osberg, committee chair, and members from the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will offer the on-going mentorship program to students as part of the event.
“Fishing has a way of breaking down barriers. Regardless of your background, everyone can enjoy fishing on a very personal level. I had a dad and older brother that loved to fish, and I tagged along whenever I could,” said Soland. “Many kids today don’t have that opportunity, so we’re hoping to provide that with our mentorship groups. If we’re able to instill the love of the outdoors into our kids each year, it’s not just our fishing team that wins, but it’s also our school, community, and everyone that enjoys the beauty of Otter Tail County.”
For more information on the event or to volunteer as a boat host visit: www.mngovernorsopener.com or contact Erik Osberg.
Rural Rebound Initiative Coordinator
Otter Tail County