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Fishing Around for Something to Do? Head to a Farm

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 | 07:00pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Your official summer vacation—and your official summer vacation bankroll—may last for a couple of weeks, but summer itself goes on and on. How can you keep up the summer fun without emptying your wallet?

“Head to a local fishing hole,” says Rob Beets, marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “There are farms now across the state which feature fee fishing, a great summertime activity that anyone, of any age, can enjoy.

“It’s outdoors, it’s inexpensive, it’s a traditional Southern summer pastime—and it’s one of those few sports that can accommodate every individual’s level of skill and type of equipment. You can set a pole on the bank and watch a bobber, using just a hook and worm, or you can use all the latest lures and work on your fly-fishing techniques.”

“You do pay to fish,” says Beets, “but in most cases you don’t have to have a fishing license. You should check first, but that can be an added savings. There’s also a guarantee of good fishing—these fishing lakes and ponds are stocked with just the kinds of fish that are fun to catch and to eat—like Crappie, Blue Gill, Bass, Trout, and Sunfish. One fee fishing farm, Bob White Springs in Only, even offers salmon and trout fishing for the truly serious angler.”

Depending on the farm, some of the fee fishing areas rent poles, have picnic areas, camping and other activities, says Beets; some even have restaurants. Calling ahead is the best way to ensure you have what you need to be prepared for a relaxing day. Not only do amenities vary by farm, but days and hours of operation vary, as well.

“It’s a perfect way to introduce your children to fishing, since they won’t be confined to a boat, they can linger in shady places, and will have access to a bathroom,” says Beets. “They’ll enjoy a successful fishing experience, and can enjoy it, too!”

Wilma Denning, of Meadow Brook Game Farm in Sumner County, says her farm has channel catfish. “We restock every week,” says Denning. ”Our lake has a nice shady area around it, so you can be out of the hot sun, even in the dog days of summer.”

For a list of Tennessee fee fishing farms or for more information about Tennessee farm food products, farmers markets, crop festivals, farm fun, or recipes featuring Tennessee food products, visit www.picktnproducts.org.

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