First Kids Fishing Derby on for June

by Tom Coombe
After a couple of false starts, a new event aimed at promoting fishing to area youth will get off the ground in June.
The first Northwoods Kids Fishing Derby is set for Saturday, June 11 at Veterans on the Lake.
Open to youth ages 6-14, the event combines fishing with skills, art and water education and promises to be a fun day for all.
The event is sponsored by the Ely Chamber of Commerce and was first set for 2020.
“And then this crazy thing called Covid hit,” said Eva Sebesta, executive director of the Ely Chamber of Commerce.
Registration has begun and will be open until May 1, with up to 40 spots available in the event.
Each participant will receive a free rod and reel, t-shirt, bandana, and a fishing derby bling bag filled with goodies.
Four components are planned to the event.
Not only will each youth go fishing, but will also take part in a skills section with casting and knot tying, an art component using frozen fish and paint focusing on area macroinvertebrates.
Prizes will be given for fish caught - biggest, smallest and both.
Information booths will be part of the event, with Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital providing a first aid station and the White Iron Chain of Lakes Association delivering information on invasive species. The Chamber has also reached out to other groups to provide water safety and outdoor education initiatives.
Volunteers are needed for the event.
While veterans are invited, any and all interested individuals may help during the event. About three-to-four adults are needed to work with each group and move them from station to station.
A donation from FIN (Fishing in the Neighborhood) has secured 40 new rods for the event, but the Chamber is seeking additional sponsors for reels, bling bags and other items for the event.
The fishing derby was originally planned by the area’s events coordinator bureau but the Chamber picked up the torch after that initiative disbanded.
“We’re just really pumped up about this event,” said Sebesta. “We definitely would like to showcase it and we have just a beautiful area to showcase, especially geared toward fishing. Veterans on the Lake is barrier free. Anyone with any potential physical limitations will be able to get around there just great.”