GRAFTON - Pere Marquette State Park is gearing up for the 35th annual Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., kids and families can enjoy fishing stations, shows and giveaways at Pere Marquette State Park, all for free. Organizer Scott Isringhausen, the urban fishing coordinator with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said the goal is to promote fishing and outdoor fun.

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“My job as the urban fishing coordinator is to truly get kids hooked on the outdoors and hooked on fishing,” Isringhausen said. “But I think it’s so important, and even much more important today, to get the kids outdoors. I just feel a deep passion to try to help educate kids about the outdoors and truly get them outside.”

Kids can check out over 30 stations at the fair, from a catch-and-release bluegill pond to a bowfishing station. Every kid who completes seven of the stations will win a prize and be entered to win a $100 gift card to Farm & Home and a six-hour fishing trip for two with Alex Nagy of Twisted Cat Outdoors.

There are also a few shows and programs that attendees can enjoy. The Fetch-N-Fish program will feature a 4,000-gallon mobile aquarium with several fish species found in the Illinois River. Jason Reynolds with Fetch-N-Fish will conduct fishing seminars and dog shows over the course of the day.

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Alex Nagy with Twisted Cat Outdoors will be present to talk about catfish fishing in the Riverbend region. The Lodge Brothers Band will provide music, and Camo the Clown will make his high-energy return to hang out with the kids.

The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show is a new addition to the fair, and Isringhausen is looking forward to these lumberjack performances. Les and Keaton Stanstipher of S&S Guide Service will also be conducting crappie fishing seminars. These new acts are part of Isringhausen’s goal to grow the fair.

“I try to do something new, and this being the 35th year, I really wanted to do something big. I’ve added a couple of big things,” he said.

The Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair is hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge (administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and Pere Marquette State Park (administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources). The event is completely free, with poles, bait and supplies provided. No fishing license or gear are required.

For more information about the Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair, you can call Pere Marquette State Park at 618-786-3323.

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