For outdoors enthusiasts, June is a time to celebrate.
It’s Great Outdoors Month, and fishermen, campers, hikers and hunters will be honoring the occasion with special events.
▪ This weekend will be Free Fishing Days in Missouri. That means beginners will be able to try their hand at catching a fish Saturday and Sunday without buying a license. The same promotion was held last weekend in Kansas.
▪ An event designed to get families involved in fishing is set for Saturday at Lewis and Clark State Park near Rushville, Mo. The event, which will run from 2 to 5 p.m., will be based at Civilian Conservation Corps shelter along Lewis and Clark Lake. Guests can visit several stations and learn about casting, fish identification, regulations and how to rig a fishing rod and reel. Fishing equipment will be loaned to the first 25 participants.
▪ As part of Bass Pro Shops’ National Donation Day, the Independence store on Thursday donated 450 slightly used rods and reels to Camp Valor Outdoors, an organization that provides outdoors recreation for wounded members of the military and their families. The rods and reels were collected during the Spring Fishing Classic, in which customers were able to trade in used rods and reels in exchange for a discount on new ones.
▪ The Bass Pro Shops in Independence and Olathe will have “Gone Fishing” events this Saturday and Sunday and June 18-19. Both stores will offer kids’ events from noon to 4 p.m. each day. Youngsters can fish in a catch-and-release pond, have a photo taken of them with their catch and receive a first-fish certificate. They also will be able to trade in their video games for a coupon for $5 off on a new rod-and-reel combination. In addition, families will be able to attend free fishing seminars designed to help beginners from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
▪ June 18 has been designated as Great Outdoors Day in Kansas by Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. A special event at El Dorado State Park will celebrate the occasion. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., families will be able to shoot bows and airguns, learn to paddle a canoe or kayak, learn about nature and see the latest in outdoors gear.
The Governor’s Campout will be held that night. The campout will feature Dutch-oven cooking, cowboy campfire stories and songs, and stargazing. Campers must preregister by calling Kati Westerhaus at 620-672-0740 or by emailing her at Kati.firstname.lastname@example.org.
All in the family
Fishing runs in Tom Alsop’s family.
Never was that more apparent than last weekend.
Dad Tom of Overland Park teamed with his longtime fishing partner Keith Leftridge to win a Burton’s Bait and Tackle Buddy tournament on Sunday with an eye-opening catch of five bass weighing 25.36 pounds.
His son Kyle made news of his own in the Bassmaster College Series Midwestern Regional on Clinton Lake in Illinois. He teamed with Taylor Bivins and finished sixth in the three-day tournament, enough to qualify for the Carhart Bassmaster College Series National Championship on July 28-30 at Green River Lake in Kentucky.
It’s premiere night
Heartland Bowhunter and Heartland Waterfowl, two television shows based in the Kansas City area, will present a premiere night June 18 to provide a sneak peak of one new episode of each of their popular series.
The event, which will open at 6:30 p.m., will be at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City and will be free to the public. The event will include a performance by country music recording artist Travis Martin, raffles from the show’s sponsors and a meet-and-greet with the TV shows’ stars.
The first 300 people in the doors will receive a free, laser-engraved insulated Yeti Rambler Low Ball cup.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes goes fishing
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes will get into fishing in a big way June 18 when it sponsors its first youth fishing clinic and adult buddy bass tournament at Smithville Lake.
Both events will be based at the Crows Creek access.
The kids clinic, which will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., will be open to all youth from middle-school to high-school age. The Missouri Trout Association will demonstrate fly-tying and casting; guide David Shaw will demonstrate lure tactics, the Department of Conservation will help with casting and fish conservation, and veteran fisherman Marvin Lynch will host a lure and fishing-reel demonstration.
The buddy tournament will run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be an entry fee of $100 per team, with a $1,000 first-place prize.