Columbia Springs hosted a fishing celebration for avid anglers and those who wanted to get their feet wet in the world of fishing at Battle Ground Lake State Park on Saturday, June 10.
Kids had the opportunity to explore educational activities during the event. They included casting practice in an open field, painting fish pictures, and presentations from experts.
Kylie Dacunha, with Columbia Springs, said alongside learning about fish and fishing, the event “taught people a little bit about the importance of our rivers and our relationship with nature.”
Many fish were caught on the lake, which included trout that were more-than-likely released by Columbia Springs.
“We raise about 750,000 trout every year and some of those come to Battle Ground Lake and we really like to be able to follow the fish from there out to here and help everybody else follow them and celebrate them with us,” Dacunha said.
A main feature during the celebration this year was the “Lamprey Olympics.” It featured young lamprey, educated people on the bizarre species and included obstacle courses for kids.
Every hour, kids got to choose a lamprey they wanted to root for as the fish were dropped off at the top of a small, sand slide. The fish raced down the slide with no water, while the kids timed how long it took them.
During the event, Clark Public Utilities’ Stream Team educated people on various bee species ahead of their first pollinator festival on June 24. Their booth also included a large wire salmon. Kids were able to draw a picture on a fish scale and pin it to the salmon to complete the piece of artwork.
“It’s just trying to get our message across about what we do, so salmon need cold, clean, fast moving water,” Kendra Cutler, with the Stream Team, said. “We like to plant trees, so we have the kids draw trees sometimes, and when the trees fall into the river, they provide little places for the little fish to hide.”
The event was well attended as the main parking lot was completely filled up by noon. The two fishing docks were also full as anglers young and old waited for a fish to bite their line.
Bald eagles flew around the lake and landed in trees above the docks as a large garter snake could be seen basking on the lake shore. The presence of the garter snake was fitting as the day celebrated fish and fishing at Battle Ground Lake, which is also known as Lake Oluk, a Native American name that translates to Serpent Lake.
To find out more about Columbia Springs, go online to co lumbiasprings.org. The nonprofit organization can be reached by phone at 360-882-0936 or by email at hello@columbias prings.org.