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Home arrow Sports arrow Outdoors & Rec arrow Memorable day out on the water


Memorable day out on the water


Area fishing club instructs local youth the ropes of fishing 

It was an extremely rewarding day last Friday for the kids of the Grande Ronde Child Center, and it had little to do with how many fish they caught.

The Grande Ronde Fly Fishing club and the GRCC teamed for their annual joint venture of bringing kids from the center to Morgan Lake for an introduction to fly fishing.


Despite the gloomy weather that afternoon, the experience was a hit for all involved.

“The best quote was from one little guy, who had I think fished from shore before with a relative but he’d never been out on a boat,” Gloria Sheehy, child and family therapist and supervisor, said. “It was a cold and blustery day, and when we got back to shore, and his comment was, ‘This was the scariest, coldest, most funnest day I’ve ever had.’ That kind of summed it up.”

The fishing day began a few years ago when Jim Mollerstrom, executive director of the GRCC and also a member of the fishing club, decided to expand the center’s activity days beyond the typical excursions around  La Grande.

“We started this project about three years ago with our Grande Ronde fly fishers,” Mollerstrom said. “We met with the child center students and staff and organized it to where we meet the staff and students up at Morgan Lake.”

With the children, aged 7 to 9, having little or no prior fishing training, the center got the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to donate fly-tying kits for the kids to use. The fishing club members then showed the kids the basics of how to tie a fly. They they received a chance to get some hands-on experience with attempting to tie their own. 

“The kids get to tie their fly with the guidance of our members, and then of course that’s pretty prideful for them,” Mollerstrom said. “They get something useful out of it, and they get to keep the flies for themselves to use.”

Club members also bring fishing rods for the day. After the kids get the ties fastened to the rods, they head out on the water on boats. Mollerstrom brought his boat along with some of his friends’ crafts, and the club members and GRCC staff then row a few kids on each boat to the middle of the lake.

“For many of our kids, it’s the first time they’ve been fishing, and for the ones who have, it’s the very first time they’ve ever fished in a boat,” Mollerstrom said.

That’s when the fun really begins. Club members show them fishing techniques and explain to the kids the differences in lake fishing and river fishing, as on the lake, anglers need to let the fish come to them and allow more time for the fish to take the bait. So the kids get to see firsthand how experienced anglers reel in their fish and hear pointers that even casual fisherman may not be aware of.

For the full story, see Friday's issue of The Observer


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