The sun is shining, the leaves are green, and there are goslings on the loose. Fisherpeople across Minnesota know what that means: it’s time to get out on the water!
For more than five years, Elm Creek Elementary fourth grade teacher Dan Baker has fostered a love for fishing in young Eagles. His after school fishing club, which this year boasts 18 eager participants, began as a way to offer students that wouldn’t otherwise have access to the sport a way to gain experience.
A partnership with Tuned Up Custom Rods—where Baker works in his free hours—provides rods, reels and tackle boxes to each of the students in the club. Rods come customized with the student’s name engraved, and tackle boxes contain an assortment of hooks, bobbers and weights.
For four weeks, students in the club meet one day a week after school to learn about species of fish, types of bait, and the kinds of knots most important for fishing. One special afternoon, the grassy fields behind Elm Creek are spotted with bright bobbers as students practice casting.
Then the special day comes: three hours of fishing at Weaver Lake. This year, the students will fish on Saturday, May 22 and rotate between 3 boats belonging to former Elm Creek teacher Jeremey Carel; John Burback, the owner of Tuned Up Custom Rods; and professional fishing guide Larry Hanson. In each, they will try their hand fishing for bass and for panfish like bluegill and sunfish.
Baker’s idea of success? A student heading out to their neighborhood pond or the pier at their grandparents’ cabin, tackle box in hand. What he hopes he’s gifting to these Elm Creek Eagles, ultimately, is love for a sport that can be enjoyed their whole lives long.
See photos from the 2019 fishing trip: