Of course Kids Fishing Day is about the fish, but there's so much more to this annual event.

Of course Kids Fishing Day is about the fish, but there's so much more to this annual event.
Carthage's 16th annual Kids Fishing Day was held Saturday, June 10 in Kellogg Lake Park.
It happened only three days after the Missouri Department of Transportation reopened the Spring River flood way bridge next to the park, which made access easier.

Roads repaired
Carthage Street Department crews took a day and a half and 22 tons of asphalt to patch holes in the roads through the park which were battered this spring by a massive jump in traffic as drivers used the park as a detour around the construction zone as a contractor built the new floodway bridge.
Hundreds of cars, and some tractor trailers, were using roads that were built to be used by dozens of cars at the most.
The constant pounding through March and April left ruts at the stop sign where the three roads come together on the west side of the park and crumbling pavement on the road through the slough and on old Route 66 along the river.
Then on April 30, storms that brought several inches of rain to the entire region forced Spring River out of its banks and to within five feet of the girders of the new flood way bridge, further damaging the roads.
The city closed Old Route 66 and the road through the slough as well as the entrance west of the flood way bridge to prevent through traffic from using the park and preserve what was left of the pavement.
On Wednesday, after the flood way bridge was completed and open to traffic, city crews moved in and started patching the pavement.
The roads in Kellogg Lake Park were reopened to traffic on Friday but the city is still getting estimates on how much it will cost to resurface all the roads in Kellogg Lake Park and is asking the state to contribute to the repair bill.

Nature stations
Again, Kids Fishing Day is mostly about fish, but there are other opportunities for children and families to learn and get excited about nature.
The Missouri Department of Conservation, along with the MAKO Fly Fishers Club, Ozark Gateways Master Naturalists, Carthage Recycling Center, and Carthage Rotary Club worked with the Kellogg Lake Nature Center Advisory Board to provide several different stations with information about recycling, fly-tying and fly fishing, animal fur and skins and keeping water clean.
Kids were encouraged to visit the stations when they registered for Kids Fishing Day at the Kellogg Lake Pavilion.
They were given a paper with places where people at the different nature stations could stamp the paper. When they visited four of the six stations, they qualified to enter a drawing for prizes which was held at noon.
Payton Welch and her family stopped at a station where Jeff Cantrell, naturalist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, and Master Naturalist Mike Davis, were showing off the furry pelts of some of the most common animals found across Missouri.
The display included skins from beaver, fox, raccoon, opossum, coyotes, bear and mink, among others.
Welch and the other children were given the chance to touch the fir of an animal they likely see all the time but might never otherwise have a chance to touch.
“My favorite was the bear,” Welch said. “It felt pointy, but soft to the touch too.”
Jeannie Hackworth said she liked the deer.
“It's crazy how soft the fir of this normal, every day animal really is,” Hackworth said.
The recycling station featured the likeness of an eagle made of plastic water bottles to illustrate how dangerous those can be if they get out in the wild.
Plastic, when it breaks down, can form beads that stay in the soil and is eaten by other animals. Those beads can build up in an animal's digestive system and make it ill.
The Carthage Recycling Center employees gave away pens, refrigerator magnets, tote bags and other items made of recycled plastic, paper and other materials. They also gave away crayons made from soy bean oil.

Of course, the fish
Kellogg Lake, at the height of the event, was ringed with children and parents casting their lines into the dark waters of Carthage's public lake.
Some pulled in smaller fish, like crappie or minnows, but many were pulling in two, three or four-pound catfish.
The Department of Conservation and Carthage Rotary Club tried to make sure there were plenty of hungry fish in the lake, stocking it with between 500 and 1,000 catfish.
Peter Hansen, Springfield, brought his son and six daughters to Kellogg Lake to celebrate his son's sixth birthday and get out in the beautiful weather.
“This is the first time I've been to this event,” Hansen said as he watched his son, Owen Hansen, learn how to fly-fish at the MAKO Fly Fishing station. “I scoped it out on the Missouri Department of Conservation website and thought we'd come for the day. It looks pretty nice.”
As one walked around the lake, young fisher men and women were eager to show off their catches as they held them on lines attached to shore.
It wasn't unusual to see a youngster, aged six or seven, with five or even six big catfish on the line.
Estimates weren't available as of Tuesday, but it appeared the event drew its usual 700 to 800 children and their parents to Kellogg Lake, and most had a pretty good time.