Local first graders took some time out of their busy school day to hook some fish early this month at the Troy Fairgrounds Park, an event that has been around for upwards of 20 years.

Every first grader in the Troy School District participates in the event over the course of a few days.

Lincoln County conservation agents Kevin Eulinger and Tim McDaniel, along with several local fire and police officials, teachers and parent volunteers, helped the kids reel them in.

And reel them in they did, as catfish, bluegill and sunfish were being caught left and right.

“It’s a win win event for everyone involved. The City of Troy provides the facility and pays for the catfish to get stocked. The Lincoln County Fire Department is there with their truck and the kids get to fish with the firemen. Troy Rotary Club sponsors the trophies for the kids that catch the biggest fish in each group. With all of those entities working towards the same goal to provide a unique field trip experience for all first graders in the district, it makes for an amazing opportunity,” Eulinger said.

As a conservation agent, Eulinger sees the importance of opportunities like this, to expose young kids to activities they may partake in for the rest of their lives.

“If we can give them an interest in the outdoors and an interest in fishing, that’s kind of [a] bonus on top of what has become a really fun day for the kids,” Eulinger said.

The biggest catfish that has been caught this season, so far, is a little over four pounds.

Fishing is synonymous with spring, meaning Eulinger and Missouri Conservation Agents are stocking public waters with fish.

Eulinger said that without the hard work and cooperation from Troy Elk Lodge, who purchase the catfish for Troy to stock, the fire department, the Lincoln County School District, the City of Troy, Troy Rotary and the Missouri Department of Conservation, this event for the kids wouldn’t be possible.

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Perry shows off his fish.

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