Izaak Walton League’s Onondaga Lake Family Fun Fishing Day

It’s been said that fishing is an act of self-restoration. In what is believed to be the first book written on the subject, the fourteenth century fishing nun, Dame Juliana Berners, wrote… I think it’s safe to say that when we’re fishing, whether we know it or not, the experience brings with it physical, psychological and spiritual fringe benefits.

Last year marked the 30th annual Izaak Walton League’s Onondaga Lake Family Fun Fishing Day. The event was held on Sunday June 26th at Long Branch Park. About 75 young participants and as many spectators came out to try their hands at the art of angling. Participating anglers caught nearly every kind of Onondaga Lake fish there was to catch, from Round gobies to several Sunfish species, Northern pike, and the burly carp. In addition to plenty of fishing fun, the 2016 Family Fun Fishing Day offered participants free basic beginners’ fishing lessons and a broad range of fish and fishing related educational displays and activities.

Not too long ago, our local lake was considered one of the most heavily polluted bodies of North America. In those bad old days, only about five species of fish called Onondaga Lake home. Today, years of water quality improvements and the resultant habitat increases, we’re proud to be able to say that there are more than sixty fish species living in our lake.

Last year’s Family Fun Fishing Day on the water was brought to a close with a raffle drawing for fishing rods and reels. This year’s raffle awarded prizes to over thirty lucky ticket holders. One of those not so lucky was a boy of maybe five or six years of age, hanging back from the rest of the crowd, and showing some sad body language about his not being among those fortunate enough to have won one of the coveted Zebco complete fishing tackle packages. His sadness touched a slightly older boy who had just won his own rod and reel deeply enough to have him offer his prize to the younger boy. At first the younger boy’s mother was hesitant to have her son accept the offer. But the kindness expressed in the older boy’s gesture quickly broke through her resistance. A good deed well received is a good deed indeed…

I’d like to believe that fishing often brings out the best in us. I don’t know how many of us actually saw the happy exchange, but I have to tell you that I still get goose bumps and a little teary eyed when I think about it.

So, in closing, the act of fishing is certainly restorative; restorative of spirit, mind, and body, and if this little story of a boy’s generosity doesn’t restore your faith in human nature, I think you should at least consider going fishing, preferably with a youngster for company.

This year will mark the 31st annual Izaak Walton League Family Fun Fishing Day on Onondaga Lake. The event will be held on August 20th at the willow bay section on Onondaga Lake park. Time, 9:00am to 12:00pm. Tickets are $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children. For more information go to Onondagalakefishing.com