A father and son show off the fish they caught at Kids Fishing Fun Day. That event returns Saturday, June 4, to Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park. (Photo: Springfield-Greene County Park Board)

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A free event at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park will teach kids how to fish and encourage them to put their new skills to work.

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board is teaming up with the Missouri Department of Conservation for the 41st Annual Kids Fishing Fun Day. The event is June 4. Kids ages 3-15 may register to fish at 8, 9:30 or 11 a.m. Space is limited and sessions may fill up.

“Living in the Ozarks it's easy to imagine that all kids know to fish, but that’s not true,” said Jenny Fillmer Edwards, public information administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. “There’s a first time for everyone. This is a great event if you've never fished before, it’s a great event if your family doesn’t have fishing gear or someone that knows how to do this. It’s a little less daunting than just buying gear and going to the nearest river and figuring it out yourself.”

Each child may catch and keep up to three fish at Kids Fishing Fun Day. The pond at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park is fully stocked with largemouth bass, channel catfish and bluegill. Other activities at Kids Fishing Fun Day include:

  • Free drinks provided by Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper Bottling Company
  • Free ride on the cow train
  • Prize drawings
  • “First Fish” selfie station

Kids Fishing Fun Day is free, but registration is required by Tuesday, May 31, 5 p.m. at ParkBoard.org. No on-site registration is available. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

“It’s a stocked pond, so chances are pretty good you’re going to catch a fish,” Edwards said. “You want your first time to be a success. But even if you’ve done it before, you can come. It’s for kids of all skill levels, but especially those that need an introduction.”

Guests are asked to bring their own rod and reel. Limited fishing equipment is available through the Missouri Department of Conservation and staff may provide pondside fishing assistance. In case of rain, Kids Fishing Fun Day may be rescheduled to Saturday, June 11. The times and location will remain the same.

For more information, call 417-864-1049.

Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park also hosts Family Fishing Night June 10, July 8 and Aug. 12, from 6-9 p.m. It’s an evening of fishing, campfires, bounce house and cow train rides. The fee is $10 per participant or $15 with equipment rental. Registration is required at 417-837-5949.