Texas Parks and Wildlife teamed up with volunteers on Saturday to help introduce families to the world of fishing at Eisenhower State Park in Denison.

The TPWD Go Fish educational program was hosted by Eisenhower Rangers, Texas Parks And Wildlife’s outreach and education staff, and volunteers from various fishing groups like the Red River Fly Fishers. Families hopped from station to station where they learned how to cast a line, find different fish in different areas of the lake, and coax them out with their favorite bait.

“Once they catch that fish, they call it the tug of the drug,” TPWD Aquatic Education Specialist Kier Quam said of newcomers to the sport. “It’s a lot of fun and there are a lot of great memories to be had.”

Quam said the Go Fish program is hosted by state parks throughout Texas and its curriculum is carefully curated by Texas Parks and Wildlife. Families are encouraged to take part in the four to five courses held in the spring and late summer, where they can gradually expand their knowledge and skills for both fresh water and salt water fishing. And with a state as big as Texas, Quam said there are many different waters, species and techniques for fishers to experience.

“A lot of people find different styles or types of fishing fit their personalities,” Quam said. “Some people just like to throw that bait out into the water and just wait for something to tug at it. Some people prefer to be more aware of what the fish are eating and match that with a fly which they’ll pay more attention to in that way that it drifts downstream.”

While fishing was the focus of Saturday’s classes, Quam said the activity is one that many in the outdoor and park management community see as a steppingstone that leads people to spend more time outside.

“We feel like if they go fishing, they might try kayaking, they might try shooting a bow and arrow, or stand-up paddle boarding, or geocaching,” Quam said.

Members of Team Meltdown, a bow fishing group, attended the event and brought out their boat and some bows for participants to try. Team member Philip Reno said bow fishing’s use of an arrow that strikes the fish and can be reeled in differs from the conventional cast and hook method many learn first. But he added that the technique improves the odds of catching fish and it incorporates many outdoor activities.

“You get to hunt, you get to boat, you get to fish, you get to shoot, you get to do practically everything in the outdoors all at once,” Reno said. “That’s what’s good about this sport.”

Adam DeWolf said he and his wife decided to bring both kids out for the classes, but especially for their son who has he said has shown interest

“He fishes in his grandfather’s pond and so when we saw this, we thought we’d bring him out here and maybe learn a thing or two,” DeWolf said

As he watched his son practice his cast, DeWolf said he felt fishing was a way to help him and the whole family unplug and enjoy a little nature.

“Me and her both are computer technicians and he ends up playing a lot on the computer, so I think it’s a good thing to get him outside and doing this,” he said.