• 75°

Plenty of places in region for kids to enjoy the sport

Fishing with children can be a great way to spend quality time with the little ones and Oxford and the surrounding area have plenty of opportunities for kids to fish along with other children, and adults might get a chance to toss in a line as well.

The Oxford Park Commission holds fishing classes during the spring and summer months for people of all ages, with an emphasis on youths.

“We want to teach the whole family how to fish,” said OPD program manager Sam Pryor. “If the parents are involved, they may be more likely to take their kids fishing themselves.”

The program is three classes that focus on the basics of fishing. They go over which fishing poles are the best for young fishers on up to the advanced fisherman.

“We talk about baits — artificial and live,” Pryor said.

After the first class, the group heads to Pat Lamar Park where they practice throwing in different types of lures and seeing how they react in the water. Class No. 3 is when they actually do some fishing. Where they go depends on the water levels of area lakes and ponds in the area.

Some popular fishing places that are convenient and safe for family fishing include the Tallahatchie Bridge on Highway 7 North where a new ramp and fishing area was recently put in; Hurricane Landing, Coontown Landing and Clear Creek.

The spring fishing class has already started and this session’s group will be at Pat Lamar Park for their second class today. Pryor said the second session will begin around the Fourth of July and those interested can sign up at OPC. Cost is just $5 per person. Classes are recommended for those at least 4 years old.

Fishing is allowed anytime at Pat Lamar Park but only for youth 16 and under. Younger children should be accompanied by an adult.

Each year on Father’s Day weekend, the Lafayette County Law Enforcement Officers Association holds a fishing rodeo in conjunction with the U.S. Forestry Commission and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

For the last couple of years, the event has been held at Puskus Lake Recreation Area of the Holly Springs National Forest.

The event is free, and bait and a hot dog lunch are provided.

“Kids need to bring their own rods and reels,” said Lafayette County Sheriff Chief Deputy Scott Mills.

The event is open to children under 16. Trophies are awarded to first through fifth-place winners in three age groups. Every child receives a participation prize.

Fishing licenses are required in Mississippi for those 16 through 64 to fish in fresh or marine waters. Licenses for adults cost $50 a year or $15 for a three-day license.

Taking a child fishing can be great fun if a few steps are taken to assure a great day, including:

• Packing plenty of snack and water

• Fishing in the morning when it’s cooler and fish are biting

• Pick a sunny but not overly hot and humid day

• Stay within 30 minutes of home.

• Make sure there are restrooms near by

• Remember to take a few breaks from fishing to eat, hike or just rest

Remember, when on fishing outings, keep it simple and keep it light. Light line with small, floats, weights, hooks and bait can help kids catch more fish, even if they’re small. Kids tire quickly and often give up while waiting for fish to bite. Most kids would rather pull in 25 small fish than wait for one big fish.