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GRAFTON - The Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair marked its 32nd anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at Pere Marquette State Park, and once again, hundreds attended even with some rainfall.
Outdoorsman Larry Reid has been affiliated with the fishing fair for 32 years and said it has become one of the largest family events in America for National Fishing Week.
“I can’t believe the number of people who attend every year,” he said.
The annual Fishing Fair included a wide variety of outdoor activities. Participating children were able to find a catch-and-release bluegill pond where young anglers were able to have their photograph taken with their catch; the popular One-Cast station, where everyone won a prize; and, bow fishing stations where children could shoot at moving targets in a pool or at a 3D target. Every child who completed at least seven stations received a prize and had the chance to catch a trout in the Pere Marquette trout pond.
A 3,000-gallon mobile aquarium was featured this year, stocked with many of the fish species found in the Illinois River. Fishing seminars were presented throughout the day, featuring Billy Hurt providing a variety of fishing information. Entertainment was provided by “Camo the Clown” and the Lodge Brothers band. There was food available for purchase throughout the day.
Scott Isringhausen, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Urban Fishing Coordinator, said the goal was to get kids "hooked on fishing."
Isringhausen also thanked the Fishing Fair’s generous sponsors - Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery as a Premier Sponsor, along with Farm and Home Supply, the Jersey County Board, Walmart, State Farm Insurance of Jerseyville, and Carrollton, and many others.
The event was 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).
Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, masks and social distancing were practiced throughout the fishing fair.
Charlie Deutsch of the Two Rivers Fish and Wildlife Service said the event is a great one to introduce children and people to waterfowl and fishing.
“The kids are so excited and there are always some cool things to see,” he said.