Prizes are awarded after the fishing contest concludes. This is a scene from
the 2016 contest.
Prizes are awarded after the fishing contest concludes. This is a scene from the 2016 contest.

Go ahead – make Steve Volkart’s day.

Take a kid fishing. 

The S&S Bait Shop proprietor is again holding the annual Ag Days children’s fishing contest, this year slated for Saturday, Aug. 19, on Spring Valley Creek. The contest is for children up to 12 years old.

Historically, the contest has been sponsored by S&S Bait Shop, other local businesses and the Minnesota Trout Association (MTA), which also sponsors several kids’ fishing days throughout the region during trout season. Volkart is pleased that he has the cooperation of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as well. 

“The DNR fisheries in Lanesboro usually stock the creek for the contest, and there are already fish in Spring Valley Creek, but we hope to get it stocked before the contest,” he said.  “Kids can bring their own poles and tackle, and we provide the bait.  If they don’t have their own pole, we do have some extras.” 

Contest participants should meet at the bait shop on Main Street at 8:30 a.m. to register. Then at 9 a.m., they can hike or ride bike to the creek to find the best fishing holes – where the “big one” is hiding, catch a trout or two, then return to the bait shop for judging around 11 a.m. 

“A lot of local fishermen donate all the prizes, and they volunteer to help, too,” said Volkart. “All the people in the community who give the prizes…without those guys, I couldn’t do a lot of the fishing days I do.  If you take a kid fishing when he’s little, he’s going to want to go out and keep fishing.  I think that’s excellent.” 

Volkart loves to instill a lifelong affection for fishing in youngsters, calling the opportunity to witness a child reeling in his or her first catch “awesome.”  He enjoys watching fishing contest participants getting ready to string their fishing poles, bait the hook and cast in hopes of a tug on the line, but especially when they bring back their catch of the day. 

“It’s just fun seeing the kids having a great time, learning how to fish…the kids have a blast doing it, and they can bring their dads, their moms, their grandpas and grandmas, have a good time together,” he said. “You know, I get a kid hooked on fishing, they get their parents to take them fishing, and years later, they’re still fishing.  That’s just awesome.”      

For more information on the fishing contest slated for Saturday, Aug. 19, from 9 to 11 a.m., with registration starting at 8:30 a.m., call Volkart at 507-251-4359.