Kids and cops cast off for fishing event

Fishing event set for Thursday; Huck Finn Fun Day on Saturday

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If you go

What: Kids and Cops Fishing Day

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Lil' Rascals Pond, behind the Moffat County Public Safety Center, 800 W. First St.

What: Huck Finn Fun Day

When: 8 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday

Where: Loudy-Simpson Park, 500 S. Ranney St.

When most people think of law enforcement "reeling them in," something other than flies and poles comes to mind.

But with the annual Kids and Cops Fishing Day on Thursday, members of the Moffat County Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Patrol and Craig Police Department will be after a different kind of catch.

Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz, who founded the annual fishing day, said the day of fishing offers cops a chance to connect with area kids in a positive way.

"We try to get the kids into other activities to get them away from drugs or getting into trouble," Jantz said. "I know that, years ago, someone turned me on to fishing, so I want to pass that on to kids. I want to give them that opportunity."

Jantz has been involved with the fishing day since its humble beginnings.

"I started this when we moved to the (Moffat County) Public Safety Center in 2002," Jantz said. "We had that pond out behind the Public Safety Center, and when I was a sergeant, I asked the sheriff at the time if we could use it as a fishing pond for kids."

Jantz worked with the Department of Wildlife to stock the pond, named Lil' Rascals Pond, with trout.

"We got together to make it some place safe for kids," he said, "where they would be comfortable coming to fish without adult interference."

The Kids and Cops Fishing Day isn't the only day this week for going after the big one. The annual Huck Finn Fun Day is scheduled for Saturday.

The Huck Finn Fun Day, which is in its 56th year, will start at 8 a.m. at Loudy-Simpson Park. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 and its auxiliary sponsor the Fun Day.

Don Offutt, Huck Finn Fun Day chairman, said he attended the event when he was a youth in Ohio.

"It's held in a lot of places," he said. "In Colorado, it's held on Colorado Free Fishing Day, so everyone can have the chance to come out and fish."

At both events, prizes will be awarded for several different categories, including largest and smallest fish caught.

On Saturday, prizes will be awarded for the best Becky Thatcher and Huck Finn costumes.

Both events are for children 12 years old and younger.

Pre-registration for the Huck Finn Fun Day starts at 8 a.m. There will be a four fish limit. All participants should bring their own poles.

The Kids and Cops Fishing Day starts at 5 p.m. at the Moffat County Safety Center, 800 W. First St. Hot dogs and drinks will be served.

Pam Lathrop volunteers at Lil' Rascals Pond and has been involved with the Kids and Cops event for five years.

"It's just a lot of fun," she said. "Everyone gets to come out, get something to eat, and fish."

Lathrop said the attendance depends on the weather.

"Last year, there were more than 75 people," she said. "Compared to other years, we've had between 20 and 25."

But it won't be just kids casting a line, as the Sheriff said he looks forward to his time on the lake.

"I love to fish, so I guess I'm a little selfish in that way," he said. "I'm hooked on fly-fishing. I take great solace in fishing."

Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or bbulkeley@craigdailypress.com.

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