A program called Let’s Go Fishing is bringing communities together — city kids, Pittsburgh Police, and fishing enthusiasts. And along the way, everyone benefits. In fact, it doesn’t take long for the fish to bite at Carnegie Lake in Highland Park, which is a serene surprise, right in the middle of the City of Pittsburgh.
“I thought you could only fish in the woods and stuff,” said 10-year-old Angelae, one of the girls fishing.
The program is dispelling all kinds of myths. Let’s Go Fishing founder, Spencer Simon, says, “Unless we get that message out, it’s going to get lost. Or you know, we’ll be back to that old lie: Urban kids don’t fish. And you can see, they do fish.”
Simon founded the Let’s Go Fishing program to introduce fishing to urban kids. His group helped provide funding to stock the lake last year, along with the City of Pittsburgh and the Fish and Boat Commission.
The kids are loving it. A group from Gwen’s Girls has fished every week this summer. Nine-year-old Nyla said, “I have the opportunity to catch a fish, and I’m really proud.” “Aseelah, who’s 10, said she likes “the strength that it takes, and it’s just fun.” Eleven-year-old Janiya adds, “It just feels like family, being around family.”
It’s a great way to get kids outside, off technology, and meeting new people. “This is a nice way to engage our kids,” says Simon. “We’re not talking about any kind of violent sports. There’s no violence here, except to the fish.”
Pittsburgh Police Seargent Michael Douglas, who’s fishing with the kids from Gwen’s Girls, says, “It’s a great opportunity for us to come out and interact with the kids, to show them we’re not just a face driving by in the police car.”
The lessons from fishing are many, among them how to relax, appreciate nature, and be patient. Angelae summarizes it quite well. “When you catch (fish), you get happy. When you don’t catch them, you get happy, but you keep trying.”
The Let’s Go Fishing program has free fishing at Carnegie Lake on Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and a Family Fishing Festival on Saturday, September 7, which is all completely free.