Cops, Vets and Kids Fishing Day nets lots of fun for Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Cops, Vets and Kids Fishing Day nets lots of fun for Craig

Shaelynne Fross, 4, holds up two rainbow trout caught at Little Rascals Pond as part of Cops, Vets and Kids Fishing Day. The annual event, held since 2003, had one of its biggest turnouts ever Wednesday.

If local law enforcement was angling to put some grins on the faces of Craig's kids, they succeeded.

The Moffat County Sheriff's Office reeled in hundreds of children and their families during the annual Cops, Vets and Kids Fishing Day, held Wednesday afternoon.

Hosted alongside American Legion Post 62 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, the event has been part of Craig since 2003 to let kids see police and other officials in a friendly capacity while casting a line into the Little Rascals Pond adjacent to the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

Sheriff KC Hume said the turnout may have been the best he's ever seen.

"The kids have a great time actually catching the fish and the parents have an equally wonderful time watching their kids' enjoyment of the outdoors and engaging in some wonderful recreation," he said.

Hume credited former sheriff Tim Jantz, then a deputy during the event's first year, with the creation of the day and making Little Rascals a spot for kids to enjoy one of their favorite summertime activities.

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"We're just seeing smiles around," Hume said.

Primarily stocked with rainbow trout, the waters of Little Rascals were rarely still, and kids of all ages were pulling in some good-sized fish, though some were more hesitant than others to touch the scaly animals.

"I caught a whopper this time," said 8-year-old Jimmy Meeks as he placed his wriggling quarry in a net, his second fish of the day.

Jimmy was helped along a little by his aunt, Deby. The Hayden boy stayed overnight at her house in Craig just to be able to participate.

"We didn't know there was such good fishing here, but it's great that they do this," Deby said.

State Trooper Matthew Velasquez was among the local cops aiding kids in their activities, some of them not even 2 years old. Though he's long been a fan of the sport, this was the first year he was able to get in on the fun.

"I didn't expect to see so many people here, some good people here," he said.

Sgt. Steve Booker, of the Sheriff's Office, was there as both a cop and a dad, making some memories with his kids, Ryan, 8, Maryann, 7, and Jackson, 4. All three of them were among the prizewinners of a giveaway of gear including tackle boxes, bobbers and other fishing essentials.

Mike Swaro, district wildlife manager for Colorado Parks & Wildlife, was also helping out kids as they cast off into the pond.

"It's a good way to get the kids some face time with officers and get them hooked on fishing," he said.

CPW also will host Free Fishing Weekend June 6 and 7 across the state, allowing anyone to dip their lines into any lake or reservoir in Colorado without a license.

The veterans in attendance provided the hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks. VFW Quartermaster Mark Wick said he was glad to see everything hopping.

"This is a real good turnout today," Wick said. "Old Tim Jantz would be proud of this thing, it was a good legacy he left behind."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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