Family Fish Camp at Jones Park and Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve

Spend a day with the family on the shores of Spring Creek at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center or Marshall Lake at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve. Precinct 4 hosts two Family Fish Camps Saturday, September 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kickerillo-Misher Preserve and Saturday, November 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Jones Park.

Parents and kids of all ages spend the day learning basic fishing techniques from experienced anglers and trained volunteers. “The day is free, and all equipment and bait are provided,” says Jason Naivar, program coordinator and naturalist at Jones Park. “It’s a great way to connect with family and nature.” Jones Park and Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve are working with Fishing’s Future, a nonprofit focused on getting parents and children outdoors and engaging with nature. “Fishing’s Future is the number one aquatic education program in the country. In Texas, they work hand in hand with Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD) to supplement educational funding and provide opportunities for families to gain an appreciation for angling and the environment,” Naivar says.

Hard hit by Hurricane Harvey, Jones Park lost 90 percent of its fishing equipment in the storm. The nonprofit not only donated 50 brand new fishing rods, reels, and full tackle boxes to both Jones Park and Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve, but also supplied educational materials needed to teach the course.

“Fishing’s Future massively upgraded our park fishing programs,” Naivar notes. “They have been incredibly supportive.” Jones Park and Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve are official First Catch Centers for Fishing’s Future and will hold several Family Fish Camps each year. Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve began working with Fishing’s Future in November 2017 and has already held two Family Fish Camps. “At the first camp, we had about 50 participants. Word spread after that event, and at our next Family Fish
Camp, we had dozens on a wait list,” says Jerrel Geisler, environmental education coordinator at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve.

Learn How to Fish and More

Parents and kids rotate through skills stations to start, learning how to tie fishing knots, proper fish-handling techniques, tackle-box basics, fish identification, plus tips, tricks, and techniques. The morning also covers TPWD fishing rules and regulations, angler ethics, water and boat safety, and environmental stewardship. Then, in the afternoon, participants head out to put their newly acquired skills to the test.
“We’ll fish for up to an hour and a half and wrap the day up with a presentation of certificates,” Naivar says. Participants are encouraged to wear closed-toe shoes and bring a light lunch, water bottle, insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses, and a chair.

Volunteers Needed

For those who would like to volunteer, Jones Park will host a TPWD Angler Education class Saturday, September 15 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Nature Center. Teachers can earn continuing education credits by becoming a trained volunteer. “We are also in need of teacher assistants for those who may not be an educator, but would like to help,” Naivar says.

“There are great opportunities for fishing right in your own backyard—from the banks of our 40-acre lake at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve to the shores of Cypress and Spring creeks. Precinct 4 offers a wide array of ponds, lakes, and creeks for fishing,” Geisler says.“We are thrilled to have been selected as a First Catch Center,” Naivar says. “We are hoping that for many residents fishing becomes a family tradition. We want to see parents and kids outdoors, enjoying nature and enjoying time with each other.”