Fish in Lovelace Park pond were biting on Aug. 6, and about 75 youth were there to catch – and release – them as part of the annual summer Access to Fishing program. “They’re catching catfish, bluegills, sunfish, and crappie,” said Armin Abajian, who runs the catch-and-release program.  Children ages 4 and up can learn about fishing and enjoy the outdoors for a few hours. “We provide rods and reels and worms, and they take off and go catch fish,” he told the RoundTable.  

Kyle Peach has helped with the program for eight years and says many of the children come back week after week. While they are happy to catch the fish, he said, when they are told about catch-and-release, they understand it. “We explain that we return the fish to the pond so they can grow larger,” he said.

Mr. Peach said he hopes the kids learn both how to fish and how to appreciate the environment.

Access to Fishing, sponsored by the Ecology Center and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, continues on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Sept. 24 at Lovelace Park pond, Gross Point Road at Thayer Street.

The equipment and advice are free. No license is necessary, but adults must accompany children.