Friday, July 12, 2024




The Kid’s Fish-In is an annual Longview Early Edition Rotary and Longview Parks and Recreation fishing event for kids 5-14 years of age. It also involves volunteers from the Longview and Kelso Rotary clubs and several area fishing clubs. It’s held the last Saturday in April at Longview’s Lake Sacajawea and attracts over 400 participants. Parents and adults are allowed to assist the kids, but only the kids are allowed to reel in the fish.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks the lake with over 3,000 trout from hatcheries in Washington. The fish are held about 30-40 feet from the bank by a containment net so the kids have a pretty good chance of catching fish. The kids fish for 45-minute sessions and can catch up to two trout. Volunteers from one of the fishing clubs have a fish cleaning station where the kids can watch their fish being cleaned. Unwanted fish are donated to a local shelter for displaced families. The session ends with a free goodie bag filled with items donated by local businesses and a hot dog lunch provided by the local Lions Club. Longview Parks and Recreation has also added an “Earth Day” celebration on the same day at the lake, so there’s exhibits, a climbing wall, more free goodies, and lots of other activities the kids can do after they’ve fished.

The registration fee of $10 includes a rod and reel that the kids get to take home. They also receive an “official looking” fishing license and a couple of fish related books identifying fish species, various fishing methods, cooking recipes, and water safety. A private session is provided for special needs kids and adults the day before the public event at no charge. There is also a special fund provided by local anglers that pays for kids that don’t have the resources for the registration fee.

It’s amazing to watch these kids reel in their first fish. We hope the excitement they experience on this day is something that sparks an interest in being out in nature with a brother, a sister, a parent, a grandparent, or a friend and returning to it for years to come.

We take joy in encouraging the kids, especially when they lose patience. We tell them that no mater what today brings, the most important thing is that they’re outdoors experiencing nature and they’re spending time with someone they care about. Whether they catch a fish or not, the memory they’ll cherish will be the time shared with someone special. Almost everyone leaves with at least one fish and a memory that will last a lifetime.

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