The Hamburg Fish & Game Association once again invites youth to its annual Children’s Fishing Rodeo on May 22 and 23 after COVID-19 restrictions canceled last year’s event.

“It’s to get the kids outdoors and to come and learn how to fish and, if you know how, to fish. Just come and have fun,” said event organizer Deb Kline. “It’s great fun to see the kids catch their first fish and run to the stand to get their fish measured. They get so excited. It’s fun to see some of the children not want to touch the fish and they hold it as far away from themselves.”

“It’s just what we need as the pandemic is hopefully winding down,” she added, “a day outdoors enjoying the weather, watching the kids have fun and enjoying a hot dog by the water.”

The Fishing Rodeo will be held at the pond on the Game Association property at 935 5th Street in Hamburg. This free two-day event has been held every year since 1957.

“Last year was the first year the event was not held,” said Kline. “We have fundraisers to support the event and we normally send letters to local businesses asking for support but did not do that this year since many businesses were closed last year due to the pandemic. We accept monetary donations as well as baskets and goodies for the raffle that we hold during the event. Any donations are appreciated and can be sent to the club house or dropped off.”

The pond was recently stocked with 1,000 pounds of trout and will be stocked again the week of the rodeo for the kids. Any trout caught the kids take home.

“The announcer asks a lot of kids how they are going to make the fish. What their favorite recipes are,” said Kline. “Of course, many answer, ‘I don’t know. Ask my Mom.’”

Noting that participation is free for all children ages 1 to and including age 15, Kline said participants do not need to be a member of the club for this event.

“All you have to do is come down to the pond and register.”

Registration starts at 8 a.m. Fishing is from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. Register anytime during the day. Bait, both live and power bait, will be available for purchase, as well as other fishing items such as nets, stringers, bobbers and hooks.

“We ask that all kids register and when they catch their fish, they come back and get them measured and recorded.”

Each day, prizes are presented for the three biggest fish in the four age groups: 1 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 11, and 12 to 15. A prize is also presented each day to the girl and boy who caught the smallest fish. Each child also receives a ticket for a door prize for which 5 tickets will be drawn every 20 minutes. Numbers will be announced but children can also stop by the registration stand any time that day to have their number checked. Each child receives a voucher for a free hot dog, bag of chips and a drink. Register each day as prizes are given each day.

“We also have a fish cleaning station and for a whopping price of $1 you can get your fish cleaned,” said Kline.

Participants are asked to measure their fish before getting cleaned.

Local celebrities will sing the National Anthem to open the event. This year a Boy Scout troop will be helping in the food stand and the troop will also conduct a flag ceremony for raising and bringing down the flag.

“I think (the flag ceremony) will be a great addition to the event for the children to see how this is done.” 

Food for sale at the food stand includes hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, pretzels, candy, baked goods and drinks.

“We have many volunteers that come each year and have been coming many, many years to help,” said Kline. “It’s great they come every year as they all know their jobs, what to do and it all gets done by registration time. This event cannot be held without the volunteers and the hours and hours of behind-the-scenes work that is done to make this a great event for the kids.”

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