Huck Finn Day returns Saturday

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Huck Finn Day has come full circle for Jim Haskins.

The district wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife has been a regular staple at the annual children's fishing festival, where he helps plant the fishing bug in young anglers.

On Saturday, he expects to see children whose parents learned the ins and outs of fishing at the same event 20 years ago.

At 9 a.m., children donning cutoffs, straw hats and bonnets will gather in Hayden Town Park to tempt fish in Dry Creek with worms and hooks.

"It's another kick-off to summer," said Lindsay Heer, recreation coordinator for the Town of Hayden. "It's the first big activity for the month of June."

Every year, the DOW stocks the creek with about 200 trout averaging 8 to 10 inches in length.

At the blow of a whistle, children cast their lines into the water, anxiously waiting to see who will catch the first fish, the largest fish and the smallest fish. Prizes, including tackle boxes and nets, will be awarded to boys and girls in each category.

There also will be a Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher look-alike contest.

"It's a good, easy way to introduce kids to fishing," Haskins said. "A lot of kids don't have that opportunity."

The DOW will provide about 50 fishing poles, reels, hooks and fishing bags, and the town will provide bait.

If available, children are encouraged to bring their own fishing poles so there will be enough for all participants.

Before fishing, Haskins will talk about general fishing topics, such as native fish, aquatic bugs and fish-handling skills.

He also will discuss when to catch and release fish. On Saturday, he will encourage children to keep their fish because of the high fish mortality rate with bait-fishing, he said.

The fishing contest will start at 10 a.m. and last for about an hour, although children may continue fishing into the afternoon. A hot dog barbecue will follow the contest. Call 276-3741.

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