Is it going to take another COVID-19 epidemic to bring the human race back into our great outdoors?
I hope not, but only time will tell.
Looking back at the past three years, many folks did turn to the outdoors for recreation and to get away from crowded areas where COVID-19 might be present.
In our travels around the area, we did see many more folks using the hiking trails and some who took up fishing.
But there was something missing on the fishing scene and, today, it is even more noticeable: Where are the kids?
The adults have been fishing much more than usual, but it seems that the kids in the area were left on their own to pass the time of day.
Yes, I do know that times have changed and we are in a different time where electronic gizmos have taken over our lives, some of them for the good, but not all of them. Isn’t it time that we brought back some of those old-time family traditions, like spending some time in our great outdoors on a fishing trip with the kids and instilling in them a love for fishing?
And when it comes to a fishing trip, forget about all of those high-tech fishing contests you see on the tube. Keep it simple and make it fun. Don’t make it a chore, but simply another way to have some family fun.
Of course, I came from a different time when being a kid was a whole lot different. Mom and Dad would pile us kids into our car and even take a couple of the neighborhood kids along if they wanted to go.
Back then, Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park was one of our go-to spots because it was there for kids 15 and under to fish. On any given weekend, the shoreline would be mobbed by groups of kids fishing.
One of the incentives to keep kids fishing was a tagged trout that would award the lucky angler who caught it a new bicycle!
The fact that Mirror Lake fishing was for kids 15 and under did not deter parents from being there. Many of these trips included a picnic with your parents and friends of your parents.
It did not get any better than that. I guess you could call it family values.
Over the years, things changed quite dramatically at Mirror Lake. It was noted that kids no longer fished Mirror Lake because the parents, who were not allowed to fish, did not want them going there alone.
That was changed. Adults were allowed to fish Mirror Lake if they accompanied a child who was fishing. The next step was to open Mirror Lake to the public as long as the adults had the proper fishing licenses.
For this I say, “Kudos to the city councilors who had a hand in opening Mirror Lake to everyone.”
Now the DEEP Inland Fisheries has gotten involved and has been stocking Mirror Lake with some nice trout and channel catfish for the past couple of years. They have even graciously showed up with their trout stocking truck for the Annual City of Meriden/Meriden Rod & Gun Club/ Carl D’Addario kids fishing derby.
It is usually held on “Free Fishing Day,” designated by the DEEP to be a day when NO license is needed for an adult to fish after the kid’s derby. Hopefully, I will have more on that later.Fishing & Outdoor Show
Speaking of fishing and getting the kids interested (as well as adults), a Connecticut favorite for those looking for some outdoor adventures is the CT Fishing & Outdoor Show at the Mohegan Sun next weekend, March 24-26.
This is a great way to get youngsters interested in the outdoor sports, especially fishing. The show features 200 booths and 125 exhibitors selling their fishing and outdoor products at some fabulous prices.
The show will also feature many familiar names as speakers and demonstrators. They are included free with admission to the show.
There will also be some hands-on activities featuring the Black Hawk Fishing Fighting Chair, a virtual experience that is as close to the real thing as you can get.
The DEEP will also have its Laser Shot Range for the kids to try.
Admission at the door is $15 per adult. Kids under 12 are free.
Show hours are 1-7 p.m. on Friday, March 24; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 25th; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday March 26.Fishing
Even with the weather in the area playing some nasty jokes on us, I have seen some boats on Silver Lake, Black Pond, Lake Beseck and even a kayak fisherman on Beaver Pond, where the Meriden Dog Park is located.
Please keep in mind that while you may fish for trout in waters that are stocked with them, they have to be returned back to the water unharmed.
See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours, and a Happy St; Patrick’s Day to all of my Irish friends.