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Wisconsin Seeks Angler Education Instructors for Youth Programs

David Moore

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The angler education program is looking for people who enjoy working with children, like to fish or would like to learn by helping to teach others.

Instructors provide opportunities to learn basic fishing skills, explore Wisconsin's aquatic resources and develop a set of conservation ethics to help ensure that Wisconsin's lakes and streams will remain bountiful for generations to come.

The program provides training workshops to clubs, schools, youth development organizations and service groups. Trained instructors have access to educational resources and loaner fishing equipment.

Instructor certification
Training workshops
Loaner gear
Fishing clinics
Instructor certification

Instructor certification

An Instructor-In-Training practices casting skills and resourcefulness with a fish target and pop-can rig along Milwaukee's lakefront.

Who are instructors?

Instructors are people like you. Youth leaders, classroom teachers, fishing club members and civic leaders are all encouraged to attend a workshop as a team or form one at the workshop. Successful program models include after-school fishing clubs, summer enrichment classes, family-school/camp adventures, scout merit badges and more!

While this program has traditionally focused on youth, keep in mind adults who may have missed the boat as kids!

Certification process

People get certified as Angler Education Instructors by attending a training workshop and completing a background check [PDF].

Here are more specifics on the certification process.

Training workshops

Training workshops

Instructors-In-Training test non-lead sinkers at a Rhinelander workshop.

Please check back from time to time for updates to this schedule.

Basic angler education instructor certification workshop

Basic Angler Education instructor training workshop certification workshops focus on teaching spin casting and incorporating related topics in a K-12 curriculum, youth development program or adult education. Some workshops feature fly fishing or complementary aquatic resources education programs.

Fishing club members, youth leaders, classroom teachers and civic leaders are encouraged to attend a workshop as a team or form a team at a workshop. Successful models include after-school fishing clubs, summer enrichment classes, school-family events and Boy Scout merit badge training.

Workshop fees

Angler Education workshops are free; sometimes we feed you lunch or dinner, too! However, we do have a $15 workshop commitment fee to ensure good attendance by registrants and allow us to plan accordingly. If your plans change, please notify us three days in advance to get a refund of your workshop commitment fee. Otherwise, it becomes a donation to the Angler Education Program. There are fees for Project WET and Project WILD and will be collected when those programs are offered in combination with Angler Education.

To schedule a volunteer or teacher training workshop in your community, please contact Theresa Stabo, Aquatic Resources Educator, 608-266-2272. We need a minimum of 8 to 12 adult participants, depending on location, to hold a workshop.

Workshop schedule

Several workshops are being planned. More details will be provided in the coming weeks, but here's a quick run down of what's coming up. Check back often to learn about additional workshops!

Location: Monona
Date: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Place: Aldo Leopold Nature Center
330 Femrite Drive
Monona WI 53716
Registration Deadline Call to ask
Audience Adults who work with youth in a variety of capacities.
Teachers and nonformal educators will love this exciting environmental education program focused on wildlife and their habitats on both land and water and on teaching the venerable tradition of fishing in Wisconsin! Workshop participants will develop new skills, learn how to adapt activities to their curriculum, explore literature and technology connections, and share expertise with colleagues. The activity guides contain learner-centered activities that are compatible with instruction in science, social studies, language arts, environmental science, and mathematics. In addition to the guides, participants will learn about and receive a collection of educational resources from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that complement the activities presented in the guides. These programs meet state teacher and academic standards, are eligible for inclusion in an initial educator plan, and can be used in renewal of your licensure.
Course Fee $40.00
Contact: Virginia Wiggen [exit DNR], 608-221-0404, Extension 2
Location Sparta
Date Saturday, May 18, 2013
Time 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Place Sparta High School
506 N. Black River Street
Sparta WI 54656
Registration Deadline Download the registration form [PDF], complete and return by May 11, 2013
Audience Open to all adults interested in offering a recreational fishing program.
Join the Monroe County 4-H and Youth Development at this workshop. The workshop will focus on youth and families in summer recreation programs, but ideas can be adapted for adult learn-to-fish programs. Tips for including people with disabilities in your community fishing program will be offered. Pick up ideas about adaptive fishing techniques that you can use in your community fishing programs. Role play and practice-teach fishing-related skills including:
fish identification;
knot tying;
casting; and
Contact Kim Anderson 608-261-6431
Location Shorewood (north of Milwaukee)
Date Thursday, May 23, 2013
Time 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Place Shorewood High School - Room TBA
1701 E. Capitol Drive
Shorewood WI 53211
Registration Deadline Download the registration form [PDF], complete and return by May 15, 2013
Audience Open to all adults interested in offering a recreational fishing program.
Join the Shorewood Recreation Department and the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities at this workshop. The workshop will focus on youth and families in summer recreation programs, but ideas can be adapted for adult learn-to-fish programs. Tips for including people with disabilities in your community fishing program will be offered. Pick up ideas about adaptive fishing techniques that you can use in your community fishing programs. Role play and practice-teach fishing-related skills including:
fish identification;
knot tying;
casting; and
Contact Kim Anderson 608-261-6431
For-credit Courses

Summer brings enrichment opportunities for classroom teachers. Non-teachers are welcome to join in if space allows.

Course Big Splash!
Location Oshkosh and surrounding area
Place James P. Coughlin Center
625 E. County Road Y
Date Monday, June 24 - Friday, June 28, 2013.
Time We will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Monday.
Class will be from 8:30 a.m.- 4, Tuesday through Friday.
Course Information
Two Graduate credits are being offered through Viterbo University
Expected cost: $270.00 for 2 credits and course materials
Registration materials and more details will be posted by Mid-April
Registration deadline: June 12, 2013
Audience This conference is geared for people who teach grades 4 - 12, however, other people are welcome to attend. Discover how explorations of fish and their aquatic habitats can help lay the foundation for understanding the scientific method. Participants receive materials that help support Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards for Grades 4 - 12. Supplemental materials are available for teachers of younger learners. Contact Theresa Stabo or Kim Anderson to discuss options and find out if this course is right for you.
You will be amazed in this experiential, for-credit course!
Learn the shocking truth about Fisheries Management aboard a Lake Winnebago shocking boat
See the variety of fish in Lake Winnebago in a fyke-netting demonstration
Board the Wet Wonder and marvel at the connection between lake flies and lake sturgeon
Wade a nearby stream and look for members of the stream food web
Age a fish and find out how to keep the fish in our lakes healthy and edible
...and more!
We'll roll out a full menu of aquatic resources education materials including:
Angler Education
Project WET
Project WILD
Water Action Volunteers
Aquatic Invasive Species
Contact Theresa Stabo 608-266-2272 or
Kim Anderson 608-261-6431
Teachers' conferences & professional conventions

Look for us at teachers' conferences and other professional conventions. They are typically held in the spring and fall.

Loaner gear

Tackle Loaner Program

No fishing rod? No problem! We have fishing equipment you can borrow at several DNR offices and state parks and facilities. There is no charge to borrow the equipment -- just enjoy your day fishing in Wisconsin and return the equipment in the condition you received it (or better!) so that the next person can enjoy it.

Check out the fishing equipment contacts page for information on who to contact to find out exactly what kind of gear is available near you. If you have general questions about the tackle loaner program contact Theresa Stabo, 608-266-2272 or Kim Anderson, 608-261-6431.

Available gear

While special lures and fresh bait are not provided, we generally have the following basic equipment at most sites:

The DNR has equipment you can borrow to get children hooked on fishing.

many closed face fishing rods and reels;
a few open face rods and reels;
casting plugs;
bobbers; and
hooks, lines and sinkers
In addition to fishing equipment, some sites (but not all) have fish printing materials, knot-tying practice equipment, Backyard Bass (a casting game) and other educational resources like Fish Packs [PDF]. Fish Packs are stocked with games, stories and activities that help youngsters learn about Wisconsin fish. Check one out or download the link for ideas to create your own! Inquire when you contact or visit a loaner site to see exactly what they have to offer.

Keep in mind

Before you plan a fishing trip around loaner equipment, know that:

equipment is available on a first come, first served basis; and
you may borrow equipment for up to one week, unless demand is low in your area. Ask the contact in your area if an extension is possible.
Follow the Golden Rule

Please return loaner equipment in the condition you would like it to be when you borrow it.

Make proper handling and care of equipment part of your angler or fishing education program.
If the equipment was damaged, return all the parts with a note explaining what happened.
Instructions to fix a tangled reel [PDF].
The most popular time for borrowing the equipment is also the busiest time for our field staff - spring and early summer. Please help them out by returning the equipment clean and in good working order. If something breaks -- which sometimes happens -- fix it if you can, or bring the problem to our staff's attention so the next group will have functional equipment. Your help with maintenance frees up our field staff for stocking fish and working on habitat projects.

Adopt a fishing tackle loaner site

Many tackle loaner sites would welcome help with equipment maintenance. This would be a great volunteer service project for scouts, students, fishing clubs or anyone who'd like to pitch in and ensure that our gear is in shape for beginner anglers. Materials will be provided for re-spooling and general clean-up. Loaner sites that want help are marked with a VM. Locate the site nearest you on the fishing equipment contacts page and call them to find out how you can help! Thank you!

Fishing clinics

Fishing clinics

Throughout the year, the Department of Natural Resources works with local parks departments, fishing clubs and organizations to host fishing clinics and other events. Thanks to all clinic hosts and sponsors!

Attend a clinic

County: Sauk
Location: Baraboo, WI
Date: May 11, 2013
Time: 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Place: Devil's Lake State Park, S5975 Park Road, Baraboo, WI 53913. Meet at the North Shore boat launch.
Target Age: All ages are welcome
Learn to Fish
Want to try fishing but don't know what to do?
Come to our Learn to Fish program and we'll show you how!
We'll have fun games and activities that will teach you the basics of fishing.
We supply all the fishing equipment.
Children need to be accompanied by an adult.
Sponsored by Devils Lake State Park
Contact: For more information call: 608-356-8301
County: Chippewa
Location: Chippewa Falls YMCA
Date: May 28 to May 31, 2013
Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30p.m.
Place: Chippewa Falls YMCA
Target Age: All ages are welcome
Family Fishing Get Hooked
Tuesday, May 28 Fishing basics are covered
Wednesday, May 29 Meet the DNR Fisheries
Thursday, May 30 How to clean fish
Friday, May 31 How to cook fish
Contact: For more information:Kyle Beach
County: Oneida
Location: Rhinelander, WI
Date: June 8, 2013
Time: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Place: Hodag Park boat landing and Pavilion, Rhinelander, WI
Target Age: Families and youth kindergarten through 12th grade
9th Annual Family Fishing Fun Day
The goal of the event is to introduce, educate and promote the joy of fishing to area youth and their families.
Sponsored by 4-H Youth Development and local businesses
Contact: For more information contact Katie Leone or Anna Gauthier: 715-365-2750
County: Waushara
Location: Wild Rose, WI
Date: June 22, 2013
Time: call
Place: Evergreen Campsites W5449 Archer Lane, Wild Rose, WI 54984
Target Age: 16 and older
Family Fishing Frenzy
Fishing clinic for families
$5 fee to participate
Learn the basics of fishing
Equipment provided
Contact: For more information contact Tracy Schroeder: 920-622-3498
County: Taylor
Location: Rib Lake, WI
Date: July 13, 2013
Time: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Place: Little Spirit Lake Boat Landing, 7 miles east of Rib Lake on State Hwy 102
Target Age: 15 and under
Kids Pan Fishing Day
Games, prizes, raffle and food
Children need to be accompanied by an adult
Sponsored by Spirit Lake Association
Contact: For more information Call: 715-427-3778
Plan a fishing clinic

Now is the time to start planning your own fishing clinic to usher in a summer of fishing fun! Use these events to kick off summertime youth fishing clubs and get anglers of all ages out to the water's edge.

Download the General Event Planning Form, [PDF] to be used anytime. Return your completed form to the Angler Education Office at the DNR. Contact Kim Anderson, 608-261-6431 if you would like a planning form mailed to you.

Participants 16 years or older likely will need fishing licenses to fish at most events, unless they occur on Free Fishing Weekend. Call contacts for complete information.

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