KDKA: City kids can go fishing through these local programs
We often think of fishing as something people do in the country or outside the city. But there’s a program right in the heart of Pittsburgh that’s teaching kids to fish every week.
When I visited, there were a record 56 fish caught in just an hour at Carnegie Lake, right in the heart of Highland Park in Pittsburgh. The fishing club at Dilworth PreK-5 comes to Carnegie Lake almost every Wednesday in the spring and fall with help from volunteers with the Anglers Fishing Club of Pittsburgh. The kids look forward to it each week.
“I really like to look at fishes and feel them,” said 7-year-old Marian Nicholas.
Aria Haley, 10-years-old, is also a fan: “I like that we get to hang out with friends and catch fish, which is really exciting,” she said.
For student Kali Thorne, it’s all about being outdoors: “I love how you get to go outside and not just sitting in the house.”
10-year-old Jayden Harden is glad to be learning. “It’s fun doing it,” Jayden said. “It just takes a lot of patience.”
The kids learn how to fish — the different types of bait, types of fish in the stocked lake and how to cast and catch. The goal of getting kids off their phones is working.
Chris Massa comes with his son Caleb, who is 6. “I think it’s great. It gives kids something to do that’s not in front of a screen,” Massa said. “They’re outside in sunlight and fresh air and it’s beautiful.”
Andre Nelson comes weekly with his granddaughter, Miliyah Griffin, who is 9. “I’m really not a fisherman,” he said. “I don’t really like fishing to be honest, but my granddaughter likes it. So I love it.”
Lori Russo started the fishing club at Dilworth PreK-8, where she is a teacher. She has loved fishing since she was a child and wanted to share that with the students.
“It’s just a skill that has brought families together and kids together,” Russo said, “and they’re learning even though they’re having fun.”
One of the great things about fishing is it doesn’t cost very much. And the hope is that although the kids are enjoying this during their special club, they’ll come back and fish on their own time.
The kids I met couldn’t wait to show off the fish they caught. But touching the fish gets mixed reactions: “The fish is all gooey and wet and kinda gross,” said Aria Haley.
Student Tadeo Ortiz was holding a fish when he said they are, “very slimy and they move around a lot, but you have to be careful with the back because it’s spiky.”
Volunteer Ed Caldwell, who belongs to the Anglers Fishing Club, shared these thoughts on what the kids learn from fishing.
“I’m a deacon, so I’m going to say faith. Because if you look out here at this water, you don’t see fish. But they’re fishing,” Caldwell said. “They’re having faith that there’s something in there when they throw that worm out there.”
Learning faith through fishing — the unknown in the darkness of the water and the reward for believing.
If you’d like to try fishing with your kids, you can contact the Anglers Fishing Club on their website. Kids and families can also go fishing for free at lunchtime every Wednesday during the summer on the Allegheny River through a program from Venture Outdoors. Learn more here.