For the second year, Libby Elementary has held the Hooked on Fishing program for fourth grade students in cooperation with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
Brian Stephens, FWP Fisheries Management Biologist, says the program is designed to teach children about fish and aquatic resources in the area.
He said the students spend extra time in the classroom learning about fish dissection, the distribution of water on the planet, and even fly-tying lessons.
“Fish, Wildlife & Parks need to have teachers who are interested, and we have ones that are interested,” said Stephens.
Fourth grade teacher, Bill Moe, explained there is a lot more to the program than just the fishing trips. Starting in October, 4th graders had one project relating to the Hooked on Fishing program per month. The ice-fishing trip was the project for January. In February the students will participate in “fish math.”
“This is a program that the Kalispell kids have been doing for a few years,” said Moe. “We started this last year. Something else we do is we have all the kids draw and color a fish that is the state record fish. Every kid will get a different fish. They have to measure it and write an essay about it.”
Moe said the students have to write about where it was caught, what kind of food it eats, whether it is native or non-native to Montana, and it’s measurements. At the end of the year the fish will be lined up along the hall to be presented to the whole school.
“We tie that in with the Hooked on Fish program,” said Moe
While the ice-fishing trip was not a competition, there will be a prize scheduled to be given away to one of the students. Moe said for every student who participated in the trip, their name will be put into a hat and one student will win a custom-built wooden ice fishing sled donated by a member of the fish and game department.
“I had one kid in my class that caught a fish,” said Moe. “I let her go into the treasure chest and pick something.”
The next scheduled hands-on section of the Hooked on Fishing program will be in April. That section is called Fishing Equipment and Skills. The students will learn about fishing tackle, lure types, fishing knots and casting.
“The kids will practice casting out on the grass,” said Moe.
The next open water field trip will be Tuesday, June 4, at the Libby Kids’ Fishing Pond at the Millpond MotoX Park, Moe said.
Parents who have 4th grade students at Libby Elementary who are interested in the trip should contact the school at 406-293-2763. Information will also be sent home with the students closer to the day of the event.