September 9, 2008
Lawrence Education Center held a workshop and field trip to the Department of Conservation at the Illinois State Fair Grounds. The workshop was presented by Herb Dreier, Central Illinois Urban Fishing Coordinator from Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The workshop touched on many subjects. First the hobby of fishing was discussed as a way to build confidence and relationships. Fishing is great to help a person wind down or great way to teach a friend or younger person a new skill.
Safety in casting and handling fish was discussed. Casting safety involves proper storage and transporting of the hook. Allowing sufficient space between fisherman. Also, carrying the fishing pole by holding it above the reel. Safety in handling of fish involves knowing which types of fish have fins that act as "horns, spines, or thorns." These fish can be handled by holding tight on top of head, pushing the fins down with your hand prior to holding them, or holding them by the mouth.
Ethics of fishing was covered. It is important to treat fellow anglers with respect, do not crowd each other, do not be obnoxious, and do not through objects into the water. Always fish is a safe manner, know the fishing laws, know how to identify fish, release the fish that are not going to be eaten, do not return life bait into the water, and have the proper license and permits to fish.
Anatomy of fish was discussed and it was of great interest that the rings on the scales of the fish, similar to the rings on a tree trunk, tell the age of the fish. Scientist will compare the growth of fish in one body of water to another and determine what conditions let to the fish having varied growth rates.
The eco-system was presented. Many factors lead into the environment and conditions that make life favorable for fish. Discussion was held regarding pollution, farm run-off, trash left by humans. The food chain of carnivorous, herbivorous, and omnivorous was discussed. The phto synthesis process and content of oxygen in the water was presented.
After the educational and interesting workshop, it was off to the pond to due some real life fishing. It was a beautiful day and fish were caught by all participants. Some caught as many at 15 fish, which all were returned to the water. We have many pictures capturing this exciting workshop and field trip.