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home : news : putnam   April 30, 2016

6/10/2012 11:40:00 PM
Kids fishing event attracts huge crowd (with slideshow)

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Mason Luth, 7, of La Salle tries to catch a fish.
Jeff Dankert
NewsTribune Reporter

The turnout was huge Saturday morning for the kid’s fishing tournament in La Salle.
Traffic clogged Route 351 next to the Lock 14 park where kids and adults lined the bank of the Illinois & Michigan Canal for a chance at a prize during the 27th annual Kids Fishing Tournament put on by the Better Fishing Association of Northern Illinois.
“What better day could we have?” said association president, Barry Welbers. “And they’re catching fish. The fish are cooperating.”
Indeed, the fish were biting but perhaps even better, the weather was fair all day with morning temperatures running from 74 to 84 degrees.
“I caught a bullhead,” said Zackary Kimball of La Salle. Zack was fishing from the deck next to the canal, sitting cross-legged along the ledge.
Madelyn Dzierzynski, 11, of Hennepin chose to fish near the Route 351 bridge.
“I caught a bass,” she said.
And for the umpteenth year in a row, Dave Twardowski of La Salle was there, baiting up hooks as he did last year for his grandson, Antonio Mason, 5, and Antonio’s brother, 2-year-old brother, Alejandro. Antonio caught a little largemouth bass and dared his little brother to kiss it.
“Each participant got a door prize and a fish ruler,” said Tom Wall of the association.
Sponsors included the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Valley Sunrise Rotary Club and La Salle Rotary Club, cities of La Salle, Peru, Oglesby, Utica and Spring Valley, and the Peru Rescue Squad.
The two-hour tournament was open to kids ages 4 to 15. Each kid could use one pole and one hook, but no artificial lures. Bait, snacks and soda were provided.
By midday the temperature had reached 85 under full sun. Welbers’ daughter, Megan, helped announce the winners and pointed back toward a cooler full of ice and drinks under a shade tree.
“It’s important to stay hydrated,” she said.

Jeff Dankert can be reached at (815) 220-6977 or

Related Stories:
• Slideshow: Lock 14 Kids Fishing Tournament, Saturday, June 9, Illinois & Michigan Canal, La Salle

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