Lil anglers line up for fun at LaPorte Farms fishing tourney

[Photo: Kaila Jones]

Children reeled in some ‘big ones’ last Saturday at LaPorte Farms during the annual Kids Fishing Tournament at the nonprofit petting zoo.

The competition was fierce, with both boys and girls doing their best to tip the scales and hook the most substantial cumulative weight before lines were ordered up at 2 p.m.

“We started the Kids Fishing Tournament about seven years ago,” said Laura LaPorte, owner and founder of LaPorte Farms.

“I was already letting a couple of the churches come out every few months and cast nets to get fish for their fish fry events. Kids love to fish and were already wanting to fish in the pond. It’s a great day, especially for kids that have never caught a fish. That first catch is a lifetime memory.”

LaPorte first stocked the pond 20 years ago, so there has always been an abundance of fish for everyone to admire. On Saturday, the children reeled in an assortment of tilapia and catfish, which were weighed in and then released to live another day.

All participants took home a medal, and the top three in the boys and girls divisions took home hats, awards and a fishing pole, so they can continue to hone their newfound skills.

The petting farm is open year-round to fulfill its mission of “offering a safe environment for all people, regardless of age or ability, to interact with animals while enjoying nature and bringing lifetime memories.”

After landing one whopper after another, the children scampered off to visit with the menagerie of more than 150 animals that call the 5-acre farm home, including tortoises, sheep, goats, birds, a llama, monkey, pig, donkey, horses and even a zebra.

The animals were in rare form, seemingly excited to have visitors once again, after the slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic’s safer-at-home period.

“We didn’t have many visitors for the first three weeks but began to show an increase as the families began to get cabin fever,” said LaPorte.

After washing up at sanitizing stations, children and parents snacked on hamburgers, hot dogs, snow cones and ice-cold watermelon – the perfect end to a day of summertime fun.

For more information and an event schedule, visit laportefarms.com.

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