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UF Hosts Free Family Fishing Days

By Kim Scotto-Kelly

The UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation kicks off its first 2019 Family Fishing Day this Saturday, Mar. 23 from 8 a.m. to noon. The free, monthly event is held at 7922 NW 71st Street Gainesville, Florida, 32653. The facility hosts six ponds, stocked with largemouth bass, channel catfish, redear sunfish, and bluegill. All fishing will be catch-and-release.

The site has a brand-new accessible dock which allows everyone the chance to participate. “It’s a great opportunity to get families on the side of the pond fishing together,” said Chuck Cichra, professor and fisheries UF/IFAS Extension specialist. “Also, it’s an opportunity to get kids outdoors away from computer games and TV sets, and introduce them to the sport of fishing.”

Some of the fishing days honor specific holidays, such as Easter and Mother’s Day. The event on Mar. 23 will honor civil servants. All civil servants who attend will receive a free vintage fishing lure.

UF/IFAS has held Family Fishing Days for many years. “We’ve had parents coming back that were here as kids,” Cichra said. “We’ve had as many as four generations of a family here.”

The event welcomes those who have never fished before; volunteers will help participants with baiting and casting.  “You’ll see kids come with Barbie rods and reels and Superman rods and reels,” Cichra said. “It’s just something we feel we should be doing.”

A list of upcoming Family Fishing Days is available here.


The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at and follow us on social media.