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Fish the Day Away at Fort Zumwalt Park

Kids and their families are invited to come out to Lake Whetsel for the annual O'Fallon Family Fishing Day for fun-filled activities and prizes.

It’s time to break out the fishing poles and get realin’ for the annual O’Fallon Family Fishing Day right around the corner.  On Sunday, June 10, Fort Zumwalt Park will host the free event for kids 5-12 years old and their families for catch-and-release-fishing at Lake Whetsel from 8 a.m.-noon.

“The purpose of the event is really to get kids and their families interested in fishing, especially those who have never been fishing before,” said Tom Drabelle, O’Fallon Communications Director.  “But the event is also for those who are already familiar with it and are regular fishers.”

Little anglers can compete in events like worm races, casting contests, a reel race, and more throughout the event.  “We’ve got a ton of things going on,” said Pat Minogue, O’Fallon Parks and Recreation intern. “Our worm race is where we’ll have a big piece of plywood and water in the middle where all the kids will put the worms and see which one crawls out fastest.  We’ve also got a contest where you put the rubber ducks in a bucket with numbers on the bottom, and whoever draws a certain one will get a prize.”

In addition, over $250 worth of prizes has been donated for a raffle.  “Right now, we’ve got 11 fishing poles, two backpacks, handmade fishing lures, and some items from Cabellas for the raffle,” Minogue said.  “We really have a lot of stuff to be given out that day.”

Put on by the O’Fallon Parks and Recreation Department, the Family Fishing Day is in its sixth year.  “Usually we average about 70-75 people at this event,” said Paula Creech, O’Fallon’s Cultural Arts Coordinator.  “Last year the weather wasn’t so great, so we had a little less, but we pretty much always have at least 70.”

A fishing license is not needed for those 15-years-old and younger or 65 and older.  Guests are also reminded to bring their own equipment and bait.  Even though this is a special event at the park, Lake Whetsel is always available for fishing whenever the park is open. 

Volunteers are still welcome to help out at the Family Fishing Day.  Drabelle said that “helping with registration and assisting guests with getting the hang of fishing” are among the volunteer duties.  If interested, call the O’Fallon Volunteer Services Department at 636-379-55507 or email volunteer@ofallon.mo.us.

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