In November of 2019 when I started working at the Y as the marketing director, I immediately recognized Knickerbocker Lake as a great spot to learn to fish. In our area, fishing has a place in almost every household, either as a livelihood or a family hobby. It seems like everyone has at least that crazy uncle who always has a yarn to spin about the time he hooked into some cousin of Moby Dick. In my family, yes, I am that uncle.
When summer camp started in June of 2020, Camp Director Erin Gray asked if I’d like to make a fishing program at the Y become a reality. My mind immediately began to race, and I spent a few weeks gathering supplies and learning the Y’s little section of Knickerbocker Lake. At the start, we weren’t sure how many campers would be interested. We bought eight rods, but on our very first day we had over fourteen kids who wanted to learn! So we bought more rods, and soon fishing became a favorite activity for many of the campers. With the help of our newly minted anglers, we learned that there are lots of hungry bass in Knickerbocker Lake, especially in the mornings. The excitement and hope of catching one of them made fishing at Camp K a great experience for the kids and for me.
Over the course of Camp K last summer, the campers learned how to cast, how to handle the fish, how to choose different kinds of lures, and how to observe fish behavior. It was especially fun to watch the kids who were serious about learning their new craft. After taking some suggestions, sure enough, soon they would shout “fish on!” from across the dock.
After summer camp ended, we continued the fishing program with Fit Kids. Wednesday afternoons became a highlight of the week for me, fishing with the kids. As the weather cooled off we changed fishing tactics to focus on trout, and the kids caught some beautiful brook trout and rainbow trout before the lake iced over. Once the lake was frozen and safe for us to go out on, we began ice fishing. Many of the kids caught some of the biggest white perch I’ve ever seen.
It’s been an amazing year fishing with the kids, and I’m excited to kick off another summer of Camp K with more fishing! To get ready for the 2021 season, we’ve added more lures and rods to our arsenal to make sure we can keep up with the interest we’ve had. If last year is any indication, we can expect this summer to be full of fishy memories and maybe even a few tall tales!