Families find the allure of angling at Alton Baker free fishing event



EUGENE, Ore. — Families lined the banks of the Alton Baker Park canoe canal on Sunday in hopes of reeling in the big one. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released loads of rainbow trout into the canal on Thursday, stocking the waterway for Sunday’s family fishing event.


Greg Brokaw brought his son and daughter out to the park to pass along the art of angling. Within the first minute 9-year-old Owen Brokaw had a bite on his line.


“We’ve got the push button kind, which is the kind i grew up with,” Greg said of the family’s fishing rods. “It’s all about the timing, to throw the ball and hit the button at the right time. So Owen’s working on that, he’ll get there.”


Greg started fishing with his dad when he was a kid. After taking a few decades off, he said he’s happy to be back on the riverside to teach his children how to fish.


Oregon Department of Wildlife salmon and trout biologist Shannon Richardson said the free event is aimed at getting people hooked on fishing.


“We’re trying to do here is breakdown barriers for families who are new to angling. We provide the gear, we provide the bait, we provide volunteers, the fish cleaning station, basically everything to get you from non-angling to angling in a single day,” Richardson said.


Down the bank from the Brokaws, little Cece Plummer was reeling ‘em in with her parents.


“It’s a little chilly, but the kids are having a good time and it’s seems like we’re catching lots of fish,” said Cece’s mother, Brandi Plummer.


Cece caught three of the rainbow trout in 40 minutes.


Richardson said June 7 marks the start of Oregon’s free fishing weekend, where licenses aren’t required to fish or harvest shellfish statewide for a 48-hour period. For those that want to hit the water sooner, licenses are available on the ODFW website.


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