Have you ever wanted to learn the basics of fishing but didn’t know where to begin? The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) has developed a beginner fishing course just for you.
WFF’s “Go Fish, Alabama!” Program provides adults and families with little-to-no fishing experience an opportunity to fish under the guidance of a skilled fishing mentor. The program is for anyone interested in learning how to fish, socializing outdoors, putting fish on the dinner table, or simply enjoying the thrill of the catch. Each event is conducted in a safe, welcoming and constructive environment.
“The goal of the program is to highlight the benefits of spending time outdoors while learning about conservation, including the importance of purchasing a fishing license,” said Justin Grider, WFF’s R3 Coordinator (Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation). “When you purchase a hunting, fishing or Wildlife Heritage license, all of those funds are reinvested in conservation efforts throughout the state. Fisheries and wildlife management, habitat restoration, land conservation, public access to outdoor recreation, and state Conservation Enforcement Officers are just some of the ways your license dollars make Alabama one of the best places in the country to fish or hunt.”
During the events, all the necessary bait, equipment and tackle are provided. However, you will need to bring a cooler to take home your catch. The events take place at State Public Fishing Lakes, State Parks lakes, city lakes and other fishing destinations throughout the state. For select events, a $10 registration fee may apply. Online registration is required to attend.
Jennifer Cohron from Cordova, Alabama, took part in a recent Go Fish, Alabama! event at Walker County Public Fishing Lake. She recommends the program for anyone who has been around fishing for years and wants to move from being an observer to being a participant.
“The program is ideal for someone who is interested in the idea of fishing but wants to get more comfortable with it by having an instructor there to help,” Cohron said. “I’d especially recommend it to women. I have to believe there are others like myself who have an interest in fishing, but no one took the time to teach them, and now they feel a little embarrassed to admit that they don’t know how.”
In addition to learning the basics of fishing, including how to clean and prepare her catch for the dinner table, the program helped Cohron deepen her connection with a family tradition.
“My husband Zac and I have spent a lot of time fishing this year in memory of my dad, Rocky Williams, who passed away in July 2020,” Cohron said. “Usually, Zac is the one doing the fishing and I’m reading or enjoying the scenery. When I fish, he takes care of everything, just as my dad took care of everything when I was a kid. All I had to do was cast. I’ve really enjoyed being on the water this past year, but I wanted to know how to do things like tie on a hook or pick out a lure. If I had wanted to go fishing by myself, I wouldn’t have been able to before the class.”
Since attending the Go Fish, Alabama! event, Cohron and her family have kept up that tradition.
“My husband and I went out for an hour or so the afternoon I took the class, and we’ve taken our son out to Walker County Public Fishing Lake once since then,” she said. “It’s something we’ve been doing on a regular basis anyway, but we will continue for sure.”
To view the current Go Fish, Alabama! schedule or to register for an event, visit www.outdooralabama.com/GoFishAlabama.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.