Max, Josh and Kate Schonwald. Photo by Kelley Elwood

Mother Nature forced the cancellation of most of the activities surrounding the July 12 “Fishing Frenzy” at Lovelace Park, but the dozens who showed up were still able to fish. The most popular catch: algae.

Youth ages 5-15 are invited to fish every Saturday from 10am to 1pm at the park’s pond from May through September as part of the “Access to Fishing” program sponsored by the Evanston Ecology Center and the State of Illinois’ Department of Natural Resources. Equipment, bait and fishing expertise are provided free of charge.

While the pond contains plenty of blue gills, sunfish, catfish and crappie, it is also full of algae which many say gets in the way of catching fish.

“It’s great that they do this to help get kids hooked on fishing, but there needs to be an effort to remove seaweed,” said Josh Schonwald who often brings his two kids Max, 5, and Kate, 7, to the pond to fish on Saturdays. Max was proud to say he caught a small catfish but Kate was disappointed that she only hooked seaweed.

Matt Poole, who coordinates the fishing program at the Ecology Center said the City is aware of the problem and looking for solutions. “We have done several things to try and get [the algae] under control. We’re not sure exactly why there is more this year than last.” Mr. Poole said the Ecology Center is going to start having someone hand rake the pond on Fridays so it’s ready for fishers on Saturdays.

The Fishing Frenzy will not be rescheduled per se, but the Ecology Center is going to continue to promote the fishing program through social media and expects to bring out snacks during an upcoming Saturday to celebrate the program.

Lovelace Park is located at Gross Point Road at Thayer Street. No license is needed for those under the age of 16. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.