Happy smiles from JBER kids who had a free day of guided fishing on the Kenai.

Happy smiles from JBER kids who had a free day of guided fishing on the Kenai.

Hooking kids on fishing

August 16 saw nearly 100 youth from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) and Kenai Peninsula Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have the opportunity to go fishing with a professional guide for silver salmon on the Kenai River. They also learned about river and fish ecology, boating safety, how important it is to wear a life jacket and habitat restoration and protection at Harry Gaines Fish Camp on the Kenai River.

The rain stayed away until the kids returned to shore with their catches of the day and then down it came.

“No amount of rain can wash away the smiles on the kid’s faces as they come back. Many caught fish today for the first time in their lives and have seen the fishing paradise that we have here on the Kenai River,” said Ricky Gease, CEO for the Kenai River Sportfishing Association that created the event hosted by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski for the last eleven years.

The week before many of their moms and dads were fishing with the Wounded Heroes event and this week it was their kids’ turn and maybe even more exciting than catching fish themselves.

“Not only the kids of our servicemen and women, but the kids are bringing home dinner tonight,” added Gease.

According to Gease the kids went out for about three hours of fishing with a professional river guide.

“Hats off to the guides with four kids in a boat for three hours and no other adult in the boat. That’s a service in itself.”

The Kenai River Jr. Classic was created to build future sport anglers, one child at a time. This annual event allows military and scouting youth, many who otherwise would not have the opportunity, to experience the magnificent Kenai River. The Alaska Office of Boating Safety taught Junior Classic participants about safe boating and awareness on the water. Central Peninsula Hospital SAFE Kids provided each child with a life jacket and explained the importance of always using a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) while on the water. The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies and Kenai National Wildlife Refuge had fun game activities for the kids and everyone was treated to a free kid’s lunch of pizza and sandwiches.

“These kids are the next generation of conservationists. I think one of the most important things parents can do is to introduce their kids to fishing, getting them outside on the river. I didn’t see any smart phones or kids with their eyes down playing e-games they were connecting with each other and nature. KRSA hopes it will be the beginning of a life-long love of the sport. I want to tip my hat to Alaska USA Federal Credit Union and the Alaska USA Foundation for being the prime sponsors of the Junior Classic we couldn’t do it without them and all the other boat sponsors that we have from variety of small businesses and individuals,” said Gease.

While Junior Classic host Sen. Lisa Murkowski was unable to attend the event, her husband Vern Martell was on hand to greet the kids and help them unload their fish. The Junior Classic was followed by the regular Kenai River Classic that was started by the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.

“We honored him this year with by auctioning portraits of him and Justice O’Connor when she was sworn in by President Regan. Senator Stevens and Justice O’Connor enjoyed a friendship and passion for fishing in Alaska for many years. Fishing whether it was commercial, sport, subsistence or personal use, Senator Stevens was a supporter of all fishing and all things Alaska. A true legend,” said Gease.

The Women’s Classic will be Sept. 7-9 where professional and business women from across the state and nation will come compete and network on the mighty Kenai River.

KRSA is a nonprofit professional association dedicated to ensuring the sustainability of the world’s premier sport fishing river.

Jane Fellman from Safe Kids of the Kenai Peninsula makes sure each participant has a properly fitting life jacket.

Jane Fellman from Safe Kids of the Kenai Peninsula makes sure each participant has a properly fitting life jacket.

Pinch-hitting for his wife Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Vern Martell welcomes successful fisherkids ashore at KRSA Junior Classic.

Pinch-hitting for his wife Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Vern Martell welcomes successful fisherkids ashore at KRSA Junior Classic.

A young angler kisses her first silver salmon for luck.

A young angler kisses her first silver salmon for luck.

More in News

Girl Scout Troop 210, which includes Caitlyn Eskelin, Emma Hindman, Kadie Newkirk and Lyberty Stockman, present their “Bucket Trees” to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Bucket trees take top award at 34th Caring for the Kenai

A solution to help campers safely and successfully extinguish their fires won… Continue reading

Children work together to land a rainbow trout at the Kenai Peninsula Sport, Rec & Trade Show on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Sport show returns next weekend

The 37th Annual Kenai Peninsula Sport, Rec & Trade Show will be… Continue reading

Alaska Press Club awards won by Ashlyn O’Hara, Jeff Helminiak and Jake Dye are splayed on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion’s newsroom in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, April 22, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Clarion writers win 9 awards at Alaska Press Club conference

The Clarion swept the club’s best arts and culture criticism category for the 2nd year in a row

Exit Glacier, as seen in August 2015 from the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park just outside of Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
6 rescued after being stranded in Harding Ice Field

A group of six adult skiers were rescued after spending a full… Continue reading

City of Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel and City Manager Terry Eubank present “State of the City” at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Mayor, city manager share vision at Kenai’s ‘State of the City’

At the Sixth Annual State of the City, delivered by City of… Continue reading

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
District unions call for ‘walk-in’ school funding protest

The unions have issued invitations to city councils, the borough assembly, the Board of Education and others

tease
House District 6 race gets 3rd candidate

Alana Greear filed a letter of intent to run on April 5

Kenai City Hall is seen on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai water treatment plant project moves forward

The city will contract with Anchorage-based HDL Engineering Consultants for design and engineering of a new water treatment plant pumphouse

Students of Soldotna High School stage a walkout in protest of the veto of Senate Bill 140 in front of their school in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi students walk out for school funding

The protest was in response to the veto of an education bill that would have increased school funding

Most Read