Kids from the area were joined by parents and family members to try their hand at ice fishing during the 10th Kid’s Ice Fishing Day at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery, Sunday.

“The kids are catching rainbow trout that we raised up from the eggs,” Doug Aloisi, hatchery manager, said. “They’re anywhere from 1 to 4 years old.”

Anglers were limited to a maximum of three, which likely ended up on a lot of families’ dinner tables that evening.

When asked how the day went, “It went bad, and then it went good,” Taishon Berkley, 8, of La Crosse, said “One was this big,” indicating about the length of a 12 inches.

From fishing poles to bait and a warm meal, it was all provided and prepared by hatchery staff members, volunteers, individuals from the Midwest Fisheries Center in La Crosse and Friends of the Upper Mississippi.

“It went really well, the turnout was actually about the same, 250 to 300 kids, I won’t know the exact count until we actually get the numbers,” Aloisi said.

Despite Sunday’s snowfall, the event was not restricted by weather anymore, and made for a day of calm family fun.

“We had a total of 491 people registered that day,” Angela Baran Dagendesh, assistant hatchery manager, said in an interview Monday. “Which is crazy considering we postponed it twice.”

The Genoa National Fish Hatchery has been providing conservation of aquatic species since 1932. The Kid’s Ice Fishing Day is a part of educating children on the importance of conservation, as well as spending time outdoors together.

“The message of the day is getting families out and to have a really memorable family event out in the outdoors,” Aloisi said. “To reinforce both of those things, between the family and the conservation message.”

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Sahnje McGonigle can be reached at


Vernon County Broadcaster reporter

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