Fishing fishing day reel fun

Oasis State Park Manager Jim Whary gathers attendees of the 16th Annual Kids Free Fishin’ Clinic on Saturday. (Staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Ashley Lee: Freedom Newspapers

How to fish was not the only thing children learned this weekend at the free fishing clinic at Oasis State Park. With 10 learning stations set up around the lake, they also learned about such topics as fly tying, ethics and conservation, aquatic invertebrates and preventing hypothermia.

About 70 children and their parents came out to the park Saturday to participate in the 16th annual Kids Free Fishin’ Clinic sponsored by Oasis State Park, Friends of Oasis, Portales RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteers Program) and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3280 from Clovis.

The children spent the morning traveling from station, spending about 15 minutes at each.

“This is a teaching clinic,” said Jim Whary, Oasis State Park manager. “And all the stations are important,” he added.

The stations were run by 40 Oasis volunteers, the Eastern New Mexico University Fish and Wildlife Club, and community volunteers.

“We tell the kids some simple rules to follow to conserve fish and local resources,” said Jenny Ramirez from the ENMU Fish and Wildlife Club.

“Actually catching a fish is my favorite part of fishing,” said Carl Baas, 10, of Clovis who was participating in the clinic.

“It’s nice because you get to learn — even the parents are learning,” said Benny Tapia, of Portales, a parent at the clinic.

The stations were completed before lunch. In the afternoon door prizes were given away, then everyone was free to fish.

Lunch for the event was provided by Portales RSVP.

“This is an intergenerational project for us with our senior volunteer population,” said Senior Volunteer Program Director Judy Griego.

Portales RSVP, administered by the Senior Volunteer Program, has been involved with the clinic for seven years. The members usually do a barbecue, but this year they made 200 sandwiches.

Cookies were made by members of the foster grandparent program, the senior companion program and the Elida Senior Center. Local businesses and the community center donated food.

“Without donations, this project would not be possible,” said Griego.