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Youngsters benefit from donated rods and reels

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outdoors Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The rod and reel donation program in Bemidji is alive and well, according to Bruce Aalgaard who is among the donation program volunteers.

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Begun in 1995 by Aalgaard and Jo Clayton as an offshoot of the community's Take a Kid Fishing event, the rod and reel project has presented 713 completed outfits to area TKF youngsters.

The goal is to provide 1,000 rod and reel combinations to area youngsters by 2015.

Another 130 rod and reel combos are ready to give away at this year's Take a Kid Fishing event on June 15.

"About half the kids (at Take a Kid Fishing) do not have their own rods and reels," Aalgaard said. "We plan to fix that problem so they can enjoy the experience of fishing beyond this one day."

Throughout the history of the donation program 450 rod and reels have been purchased at rummage sales and 263 new and used rods and reels have been donated by members of the community.

"We appreciate the community input," Aalgaard said. "If you have rods or reels stored away that you don't use anymore, broken or in good condition, drop them off with Carol Olson at the Tourist Information Center on the Lake Bemidji waterfront.

"If you cannot drop them off, call 444-8188 and I will collect them," Aalgaard added.

Area youngsters who are looking for a place to drop a line are invited to head to the panfish pond which has been created near The Sanford Center.

This summer DNR officials will stock the pond with about 500 sunfish and a series of boardwalks will provide easy access to those fish.

The pond and the boardwalk can accommodate up to 18 young anglers at a time.

Aalgaard also will visit the pond on a regular basis and will hand out rods and reels to the young anglers who could benefit from an equipment upgrade.

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

Area youngsters who are looking for a place to drop a line are invited to head to the panfish pond which has been created near The Sanford Center.

This summer DNR officials will stock the pond with about 500 sunfish and a series of boardwalks will provide easy access to those fish.

The pond and the boardwalk can accommodate up to 18 young anglers at a time.

Aalgaard also will visit the pond on a regular basis and will hand out rods and reels to the young anglers who could benefit from an equipment upgrade.

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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