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Take your Dad fishing this Father’s Day

Anyone who’s been inside a tackle store, watched a fishing show on television, browsed a fishing magazine or studied their state’s annual fishing regulatory guide surely encountered the slogan “Take a Kid Fishing.”

The meaning behind the slogan is a heartening message of introducing a youngster to the joy of spending time fishing. With hope, the youngster gets hooked into a lifetime of fishing and a time-honored way to reduce stress and increase enjoyment of life.

Many anglers got fishing fever from sitting along the banks of a farm pond with fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles and grandparents, dangling redworms under bobbers to entice bluegill. In the late afternoon, the fish cleaning board appeared and bluegill fried in cornmeal made supper, along with potato chips, pork and beans and Dr. Pepper from a returnable bottle.

As adults, our careers and families take precedence over all other considerations and those fond memories of simple times at the farm pond fade. With Father’s Day upon us, there is no better time than now to reverse the process and take your father fishing. Instead of going to the mall and buying a gift he does not need, buy your Dad his annual fishing license for Father’s Day and take him fishing. This gift gives until Feb. 28, 2013 when annual fishing licenses expire.

A lot of us have lost contact with the landowners we knew growing up who had great, rarely fished farm ponds on their land. You got spoiled fishing such waters. You didn’t need a boat to fish them well. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources operates the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program. This program brings great fishing at lakes across the state from Paducah to Kingdom Come State Park in Letcher County.

The fisheries division of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife heavily stocks these lakes with catfish in the spring and summer, trout in fall, winter and spring and monitors the sunfish and largemouth bass populations to ensure quality fishing. These lakes make great places to take your Dad fishing and rekindle old, good memories. Take along your kids, too. They’ll have as good a chance to catch a fish there as anywhere in Kentucky.

Visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife page at fw.ky.gov and watch the banner in the top middle of the page. Click on the “Take Someone Fishing” tab. This page offers anglers a wealth of information on fishing in Kentucky.

The link to the information page on the FINs lakes is there, along with a series of columns written by the Kentucky Afield magazine staff detailing excellent Kentucky fishing opportunities. Here you will find a printable beginner fishing booklet, the current fishing guide and a page to print a certificate honoring a significant catch. The trout stocking schedule is on there as well.

The “Take Someone Fishing” page also includes a link to fishing and boating spots all across Kentucky under the “Find a Place to Fish or Boat” tab. This search page contains information about the Voluntary Public Access (VPA) fishing spots, in which Kentucky landowners receive payment for public fishing access on their land.

The most important link on this page is the yellow “Purchase Licenses Here” tab in the middle of the page. Click on this tab to buy your Dad his annual fishing license. You may also purchase fishing licenses at tackle stores, department stores that sell fishing equipment or by calling 1-877-598-2401.

So, avoid the ties, the socks, the after shave or an expensive dinner this Father’s Day. Take your Dad fishing instead.

Author Lee McClellan is an award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.