Local youth fishing leagues launching this summer

A new youth fishing league hopes to get local kids hooked on fishing.

Fishing Friendzy, a community and conservation-focused organization, is launching children’s programming in Southwestern Ontario this summer.

“The idea is to get our coalition into communities everywhere because we’re actually doing more than just teaching kids about fishing and ethical fishing, we’re trying to connect them to nature,” said Mike Sklad, Fishing Friendzy founder. “Getting them out there and having an interesting competitive alliance like ours really encourages them to be lifelong environmentalists.”

Sklad started the Fishing Friendzy Youth League in Orangeville, Island Lake Conservation Area. They had two seasons before COVID hit and they chose to stop their show. Sklad has since moved to Wingham and his new town is one of five locations where they hope to bring the Youth League this year.

There was already interest, and the limited space was quickly filled.

“We’re going to have two leagues, one at Lake Vavanosh in June, and it’s half booked,” Sklad said. “We have a maximum of 12 players per league so they get the proper education and dedication.”

The first league starts on June 5 and runs every Monday from 5pm to 7pm for four weeks. A July date has yet to be determined.

Fishing Friendzy has also created an alliance at Fanshawe Conservation in London which will run on Sunday, July 2nd from 1pm to 3pm

All fishing takes place on the shoreline, and participants receive rods and reels, baits, tackle boxes, hooks, weights, hats, sweatshirts, sunglasses, and more. The registration fee is $250 plus tax.

There are also opportunities for older youngsters to gather volunteer time by mentoring younger anglers. Several of the kids who played in the early Orangeville leagues are now returning to impart their expertise, Sklad said.

To learn more about the Fishing Friendzy Youth Fishing League, visit their website.

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