Last Wednesday on a post card perfect day more than 80 members of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula gathered at Centennial Park in Soldotna for a free fishing trip complements of the Kenai River Professional Guides Association. “A lot of these kids have never been out on the river fishing before so today we have twenty guides who have donated their afternoon to take the kids out for time of their life,” said Boys and Girls Club executive director Natasha Ala. Additionally the Kids Don’t Float folks in cooperation with CPH Kenai Peninsula Safe Kids program were on hand to fit each child with a properly fitting personal floatation device (pfd). The purpose of the collaborative event was not only to give the kids a fun day of fishing but to make a positive connection with the river and educate them about the life cycle of salmon an the importance of caring for the river so it will continue to abundant for future generations.
About 3:00pm the kids started returning with their guides to the Centennial dock fish in hand, some caring pinks and few silvers over to where professional guides Val Early and David Booth who assisted most of them with cleaning and filleting their fresh catches, “I really lost count, I tried keeping track but lost count of the tags, but pretty much every one caught a least one fish and had a great time doing it. This is the future and this is what we want to have these kids excited about fishing, learning about the sport, and falling in love with the river, that’s what it’s all about,” said Early. 7-year-old Jayden Garner chimed in, “I’ve been catching fish since I was two and I like it a lot. I’m going to gut it and clean it and eat it and I do it all by myself because my mom says you catch it you clean it and eat it,” he proudly told the Dispatch.
“The humpies were really in the lower part of the river today and everybody was having fun catching fish throwing some back and just having a blast and that’s what it’s all about. Sure it’s been a challenging year for guides with the weak run of kings, but we got to take the wounded warriors fishing early on, we’re here for the kids, and we’ll be back September 11th for the veterans to take them fishing,” said Dave Goggia president of the Kenai River Professional Guides Assoc.