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Seven Steps to Get Young Anglers on the Line

LITTLE ROCK — According to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Fishing Education coordinator J.J. Gladden, the best partners the AGFC has in recruiting new anglers are adults willing to take the time to visit one of the great streams, lakes or other fishing destinations in The Natural State.

“We can put on derbies and fishing events for kids through schools, scout groups and other organizations to give the kids a taste of fishing fun, but it’s ultimately up to a parent, grandparent or other mentor to take up the reins when that child comes home excited about the experience,” Gladden said. “But fishing alongside a youngster is much different than going with an adult. You have to keep it fun. That’s why we fish in the first place.”

Gladden offers these tips to keep kids casting and building a lifetime of outdoors memories:

Go Where It’s Good

Nothing helps build a new angler better than giving them a taste of success quickly. Try to talk to friends who fish and learn about places where catching fish is a little easier. Better yet, take a look at one of the AGFC’s stocked locations to increase your chances even more. The AGFC stocks hundreds of locations with catchable-size catfish grown in the agency’s hatcheries for fishing derbies, in addition to regular stockings at ponds in the agency’s Family and Community Fishing program. Stocking dates are updated regularly, and all public fishing derbies are listed with contact information to discover how to be a part of those events. Some of the ponds will have bream, bass and even a few crappie in addition to the catfish stocked, but rigging up for catfish is simple and the fish fight hard to make it fun for a new angler. A list of FCFP ponds is available at, and a list of fishing derbies throughout the state can be found at

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