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Laporte's Take a Kid Fishing hopes to hook new generation of line droppers

Fisher kid Jeremy Miller, 14, center, was accompanied at Sunday's fundraiser by his great-aunt, Jan Jones, left, and grandmother, Sandy Smith. His interest in fishing began as a toddler, Smith said, and continues. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

"If we have one kid who continues to fish, we will have succeeded," Laporte area Take a Kid Fishing coordinator Dwight Powell said of the initiative that began last year and will re-launch this summer on Garfield Lake.

Kids ages 10 to 15 from the greater Laporte area, including Park Rapids, are invited to head out onto the lake with volunteers from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 9. The boats will launch from Pine Beach Resort on the north side of Garfield.

All participants will receive new rods and reels, tackle boxes and a goody bag with snacks.

At day's end the fisherkids are invited to an outdoor fish fry at 5:30 p.m. to share their "big one" stories.

Guides are still being recruited for the event.

Sunday, Laporte area residents arrived in number for a chicken dinner and silent auction, the event raising $2,950 for Take a Kid Fishing, Powell reported.

The event's inception was based on the dwindling numbers of kids who have the opportunity or show an interest to head out to fish, Powell said.

Last year's event drew 18 kids; Powell is hoping those numbers will double this year.

Jeremy Miller, 14, pulled in a few northerns last year; this year he will lend a hand during the event.

"He sat on the dock all day," grandma Sandy Smith recalls of her grandson's penchant - to become prowess - for fishing. His interest surfaced at 2, fishing in a blow-up swimming pool. At 5, he was baiting bigger kids' hooks. And his interest hasn't waned.

"It's fun," he said. His parents joke that he plans to make it a lifelong avocation, he said.

Youth must complete an application for Take A Kid Fishing, which are available at the Laporte School, Laporte Grocery or by contacting Powell at 218-224-3367 or at 218-760-9445.

All applications must be turned in by May 30 to allow time to match kids to adults in boats.

Those with a conflict of schedule, but who still want to help by providing fishing experience and boat, may contact Powell. Contact Judy Honer at 218-224-2732, to donate time, items or dollars for the event.