Outdoor notes: Wildlife, Parks and Tourism launches fishing instructor program

An educational program designed to place qualified fishing instructors across Kansas will kick off Aug. 10 at the Great Plains Nature Center.

Bryan Sowards, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism fisheries specialist, said the Kansas Angler Education Training Programs are being offered in partnership with Fishing’s Future, a Texas-based organization that began in 2007 to bring families closer together through fishing.

Training programs will be scheduled in other parts of the state in the coming months.

“It’s a training course for an educational program, a kind of training certification,” Sowards said. “Everybody involved becomes a trained instructor. Once trained, we’ll place (their names) in a data base and they can go hold (accredited) fishing clinics.”

Sowards stressed the new program does not mean someone has to have completed the program before they can offer a fishing clinic.

Sowards said the 8 a.m.-noon program will help teach the best ways to hold fishing clinics that are educational and productive. Topics covered will include fish identification, aquatic nuisance species identification, fishing techniques, fishing tackle, fishing regulations, angling safety and ethics. Instructors will also be given a detailed guide they can refer to in the future.

In the future, he said the agency hopes to have enough certified fishing instructors in its data base that they could be called upon to assist with fishing clinics. That could include a clinic presented by Wildlife and Parks or another certified instructor. It would also give groups interested in a fishing clinic, like scout troops or school classes, a way to schedule a quality fishing event.

“A lot more parents would be more willing to do something if someone like (Wildlife and Parks) or Fishing’s Future are involved,” Sowers said. “Once we get a bunch of instructors trained, we plan to have fishing kits placed at our regional offices. If a fishing instructor is holding a course they can just get one of the kits to teach. They don’t have to have their own poles. That should help facilitate the process.”

Pre-registration is required to attend the workshop on Aug. 10. Go to www.fishingsfuture.org, and click on the link to the Wichita program. For more information call Kevin Reich, 785-577-6921.

Twilight float planned

The Arkansas River Coalition will host a float on the Little Arkansas and Arkansas Rivers on Thursday. The public is invited, kayaks and gear can be provided with proper notification.

The float begins on the Little Arkansas at 6:30 p.m., near the Bitting Street bridge. A portage of about a block will eventually get floaters on the Arkansas River. The float will end at the Lincoln Street dam. Those with helmets and skirting can float the whitewater portion of the fish/boat passage at the dam.

The float is free, though a donation of $15 is appreciated for those who use coalition equipment. Liability waiver forms are needed to begin the float, and can be downloaded at www.arkriver.org. For information call 316-680-9669.