A group of disadvantaged youth with the Stanislaus County Police Athletic League traveled to the Horseshoe Recreation area on Orange Blossom Road in Oakdale to participate in the seventh annual Fish Day hosted by the Knights Ferry Army Corp of Engineers on Saturday, May 7.
Eighty children, ranging in age from young to older teen, converged on the recreation area to learn about nature and experience the simple pleasure of catching fish on a hook. Many released their catch — largemouth bass — and others took their bounty home to eat.
“The kids, the looks on their faces when they catch their very first fish, is priceless,” said volunteer park host Karen Kelley, who along with her husband Robert, have been volunteering for this event for the past five years. “It teaches them about nature and how to take care of nature. It’s really a great program.”
There were 53 fish caught — Fish and Game helped stock the area with fish for the day — and the smiles were plentiful.
Kelley said they were among those who took home their catch and fried it up to eat.
“It was delicious,” she said.
For many of the children, this is their only opportunity to cast a line as many live in the city without access to a fishing environment.
The kids enjoyed lunch and crafts as well as fishing as part of their activities.