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Kids learn to fish from the experts

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LISBON – There was something fishy in the community Wednesday.

Lisbon Central School students in fourth through sixth grade gathered outside their school to learn about everything from fish biology and invasive species to how to fish.

The class was part of a three-week program sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, FishCap and the state Department of Environmental Conservation as a way to teach children about fishing in north country waters.

Bret Canary, game warden for an area covering Lisbon, Black Lake and Rossie, led Wednesday’s class.

Mr. Canary, who began his career as an outdoor educator with the DEC, said education is essential in creating responsible anglers.

“They kids always have a lot of questions and are excited to share their fishing stories,” Mr. Canary said. “And we’re always glad to hear them. I would support an expansion of this program a 100 percent.”

He said even the experienced can learn something new.

“It’s a good way for them to familiarize themselves with us before we check them in the field,” he said. “That way they know we’re here to help and we’re not the bad guys.”

This year the program is being held at Hermon-Dekalb, Lisbon and St. Lawrence Central schools. But organizers are hoping to expand the program to more schools next year.

“We would like to expand it next year to include more schools because of how well it’s been received,” FishCap Coordinator Donald R. Meissner said.

Blake K. Hall, 11, said he chose to attend the program so he could learn about the different lengths of species.

Blake, who regularly fishes with his stepfather and grandfather, has been fishing for five years.

“I thought it was fun,” Blake said. “Almost everyone I know goes fishing once and a while. I learned what size fish you can and can’t fish at certain times of year.”

Abby E. Flack, 10, said she learned what kind of lures to use and how to cast. Her favorite cast, she said, is called the “Texas rig.”

“I like fishing,” she said. “I wanted to learn more about it and meet people who like it too.”

Abby regularly fishes with her parents and sister.

“It’s a good sport,” Abby said. “When you can catch a fish that you don’t know about, you can learn about it. It’s also a good way to spend time with your family.”

Cooper T. Davison, 9, said he would love to participate in the program next year.

“I loved the fishing program,” Mr. Davison said. “I learned about which lures are too big or too small for some fish. I want to do the program every year I can.”

Today, students will get a chance to try out their newly learned skills and techniques with angler William Locey at his property in Canton.

Next week, classes are being held at St. Lawrence Central Monday through Wednesday, with fishing on Thursday.

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