‘Twas a lively morning Wednesday on yonder shores of Recharge Lake.
It all began with a message from Larry Pape, outreach director of youth and family fishing for Nebraska Game and Parks. I have been a G&P Certified Fishing Instructor for a number of years and thus am on Larry’s CFI contact list.
It seems Michelle Paris at the York Public Schools Summer Boost Program had sent up a flare to Larry asking for help with a fishing project for the kids.
Me, already in the business of mentoring youth anglers and a resident of York, contacted Michelle and signed on.
Larry’s shipped two boxes of rods, reels and terminal tackle to Michelle who brought it to me Tuesday. That afternoon Mary Kay and Mike, a retired Omaha couple who came out in their camper the night before to pitch in, rigged up a dozen sets of gear.
Local conservation officer Kyle Gaston popped in to help out too, seen in this photo.
I thought whatever few fish were left in Recharge which is no longer a viable aquatic habitat, might profit by a little encouragement. So I salted a stretch of shoreline with some chunks from a poultry feed block Monday and Tuesday.
Typically, CFI volunteers like Mary Kay, Mike and I work with bobbers and worms to help the kids catch bluegill and crappie. That was once a possibility at Recharge, but little evidence of those species remains in the wake of apparently permanent, suffocating siltation from the tilled farm ground it drains.
And thus did we well-meaning adults – chances slim though they would be - set out to sew the proverbial silk purse from a sow’s ear. We just wanted to give the kids a chance to experience the simple thrill of catching a fish.
There were some hiccups to be sure. For instance, we all thought someone had a monster on the line only to learn one of our young companions had put a foot wrong and plunged off the dock. At least one rod and reel (though rumors suggest it was two) plus parts of a third, remain beneath the turbid depths of Recharge. In two shifts our 30 charges caught perhaps half-a-dozen diminutive catfish and one itty-bitty sunfish.
All in all it was a good time for young and old alike; especially after a blessed breeze kicked up to help an overheated old man finish that final hour.