A number of Clovis and Portales children spent Saturday outdoors in Oasis State Park learning all about fishing.
The park’s 21st annual fishing clinic educated children ages 6 to 17 on fishing, showing them how to cast a fishing pole, clean fish, and use various kinds of tackle.
The clinic also showed youngsters the type of fish and wildlife that exists in Oasis State Park. After picking up the essentials of fishing from park officials, participants headed to the park’s lake to catch trout.
The lake is stocked with trout before each clinic, giving participants ample opportunity to practice skills learned in class.
Brad Cozine, president of the Friends of Oasis State Park, said the clinic provided a healthy, non-competitive learning experience for children, getting them away from television, video games, other forms of technology and negative social influences.
“You get the kids involved in the outdoors, they’re more likely to stay away from gangs and drugs and that type of stuff,” said Cozine.
According to Cozine, 74 children registered for the event. The number of registered participants, with their younger siblings and parents, totaled 150.
The clinic cost participants only a donation of two canned goods per person. Every registered child received a prize such as a fishing pole, a sleeping bag, a canteen, a pair of binoculars, or a backpack.
Many of the prizes and much of the food served at the event was donated by VFW Post 3280 of Clovis, the clinic’s major annual sponsor.
“Three-quarters of the participants this year were first timers. I think this was fantastic because it gave the children’s parents or guardians an opportunity to spend the day outside with them,” said Jim Whary, Oasis State Park manager. Whary said this year saw more first timers than in the past.
“In this day in age it’s hard for parents and kids to do things together so this brings out families,” he said.
According to Whary, the clinic was created by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, which hired a contractor to conduct fishing clinics throughout the state. Cozine and Whary said they hope the event sparked youngsters’ interest in the outdoors.