Montana FWP "Kids To Fish" Program Allows Anglers To Borrow Gear & Tackle For Free

Over 40 rod loaner sites, and 350 rods, can be found in northeast Montana

Glasgow – A popular Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 6 program that allows kids and their friends or families to check out free fishing rods and tackle is in full swing again this year.

In time for summer fishing, FWP staff has restocked and maintained over 350 fishing rods in most of the 41 different location sites across Montana's Hi-Line. The "Kids to Fish" program lets anglers check out fishing rods and reels equipped with basic tackle, such as hooks, bobbers, and sinkers. Typically, eight rods are at each location, and some places have a tackle box available to borrow/use the available tackle.

Marc Kloker, FWP Region 6 Communication and Education Program Manager, manages the program.

"Although it takes quite a bit of time and effort to maintain, replace, and travel around to all the loaner locations, it's worth it if it gets someone out fishing who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity," said Kloker.

"Just because someone doesn't have a fishing rod doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to go fishing," adds administrative assistant Ken Jansa, who handled most of the 'rod-run' duties the last three years. "Whether it's a cousin in town that wants to go along and needs a rod, or an extra pole is needed for catfishing on the Milk River or chasing walleye on Fort Peck, we want as many kids as possible to get out, fish, and enjoy themselves."

FWP appreciates the businesses and other locations that display a rack of these fishing rods, and they are the reason the program has been so successful.

"The many business owners and organizations who participate in the program deserve special thanks," said Kloker. "They're helping a lot of kids have fun on the water this summer."

The sturdy loaner rods come already rigged with a bobbers, split-shot, and hook, and should be ready to go. Anglers can then change the rigging however they want to target their desired species.

Anglers are expected to sign out the equipment at the site and return it in good working order, if possible. Kloker reminds folks that these rods are to be brought back to the loaner location, even if damaged or with broken line.  "We really want these poles brought back to their location sites," says Kloker. "The next kid that comes along should also have a chance to fish."

If poles are continually lost or stolen, the program will need to make the necessary changes and location sites may be removed.  In addition, some sites that haven't seen much use have had their poles removed and taken elsewhere with more opportunities.

These fishing rods are also available to be checked out from the outlets by individuals, families, organizations, youth groups and schools.  If anyone is looking to check out a large number of rods (over 20) for a particular event, please contact either the Glasgow or Havre FWP offices and they will get you set up.  If there are any questions about the program or if you are interested in having poles available at other locations in your community, please contact Kloker at 406-228-3704.

Fishing rods and tackle are currently available to check out at these locations.  Locations and addresses can also be found on the Region 6 webpage on fwp.mt.gov.

Bainville: Welcome Stop; Big Sandy: The Grocery Store; Brockton: B & S Quick Stop; Chester: Liberty Quick Stop; Chinook: Finley's Food Farm; Circle: Circle Country Market; Culbertson: Val-Am; Hometown Market; Flaxville: Pro Co-Op; Fort Peck: Downstream (Kiwanis) Campground; Fort Peck Fish Hatchery; Lakeridge Motel & Tackle Shop; Fort Peck Marina; Fort Peck Interpretive Center; Rock Creek Marina; Frazer: School; Glasgow: FWP Region 6 Headquarter City-County Library; Cottonwood Inn; Ezzie's West End Conoco; Glasgow Recreation Department; Shady Rest RV Park; Harlem: Ez Mart Store; Havre Area: FWP Havre Office; Stromberg's Sinclair; Hill County Library; Fresno Tavern (Near Fresno Reservoir); Hinsdale: Ezzie's Quick Stop; Loma: Pa's Loma Mart; Malta: Phillips County Library; Westside Conoco Convenience Store; Medicine Lake: Lake Pit Stop Store; Nashua: B&B Foods; Opheim: Pro Co-Op; Peerless: Dutch Henry's Club; Plentywood: Sheridan County Library; Plentywood Hardware; Saco: Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs; Scobey: Pro Co-Op; Hometown Hardware; Wolf Point: Ec Sports.

 

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