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Laporte kids fish for fun, walleyes, on Lake Garfield

Latasha MaKarrall, of Laporte, at left, and Holly Ritter of Kabekona, look overboard to see what species of fish their leeches might attract. Just moments later Holly reeled in a small walleye across the lake. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 3
Zach Hegg holds the stringer of fish he and guide Tim Benson hauled in midway through the outing. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 3
Guides Adam Heuton, in the blue sunglasses, and Jake Premo help Matthew Feldhege hoist his walleyes for the photo op. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)3 / 3

On a perfect summer Saturday, sunnies, sunburns and smiles filled Lake Garfield.

Laporte's first ever "Take a Kid Fishing" outing coincided with a state promotion of the same name.

Fifteen young anglers, both boys and girls decked out in lime green T-shirts, went out in boats accompanied by guides that did their best to find the hot spots on the lake.

Some succeeded better than others.

"C'mon," guide Jan Jones urged husband Gordy when they stopped to take a break. "We gotta find these girls some fish."

Less than half an hour later, angler Holly Ritter of Kabekona had hauled a small walleye out of the water. Her fishing buddy Latasha MaKarrall of Laporte was still waiting her turn.

Matthew Feldhege had to hop off his boat and run ashore to announce his big news.

A 31-inch walleye had broken his line just as he'd hauled it up to the boat.

"I did bring in a 23 (incher)," he said, already talking the talk. He had the good fortune to be paired with two professional guides, Jake Premo and Adam Heuton, who praised Feldhege's skills with a jig and fathead minnow.

"Oh, he's a pretty good fisherman," Heuton said. "He likes fishing."

"All right, we're gonna pile up some sows," Premo said as the boat left shore, adding to young Matt's fishing vocabulary.

Zach Hegg held up a stringer of fish out on the lake, beaming with pride. So was his guide, Tim Benson. Walleyes were biting in 12 feet of water all day.

"There's no blood, nobody's fallen in the lake, and we've had no fish hooks in the face," said Pine Beach Resort owner Shawn Bowles. The resort hosted the event.

"So I'd guess you'd call that a success," he added.

The kids ended their day with a hot dog dinner and if they were lucky, fish guts smeared on their lime green T-shirts.

Dozens of local merchants sponsored the event, which will be a "second annual" in 2012, co-organizer Dwight Powell promised.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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