MONTELLO - There's something fishy going on here.

Youngsters are piling into bass boats with professional anglers.

Monster trucks are crushing pontoon boats.

People who have fished for years, and maybe some who've never cast a line in their lives, are learning how to tie flies, or how to locate fish using state-of-the-art technology.

Welcome to Fish-N-Fun in Montello.

Sandy Wuteska, one of the planners of the festival that started Friday evening and continues today and Sunday, said Fish-N-Fun is a celebration of the opening of the fishing season.

That's why one of the flagship events of Fish-N-Fun is called "kids fishing with the pros."

This year, about a dozen professional anglers (at least one of whom is a woman) have volunteered to take pre-registered children, ages 6 to 14, fishing for one hour on Buffalo Lake. The professionals provide not only the boat, but also the poles, the tackle and the bait.

Daryl Christensen of Montello, who's one of the participating pros, said over his dinner Friday - Lake Michigan whitefish from the Fish-N-Fun opening-night fish boil - that most of the young anglers release whatever they catch. But if they snag a prize catch, it's theirs to keep, or eat or have mounted.

The professional anglers had been scouting Buffalo Lake all day to find the prime spots where fish are biting. In addition to an abundance of bluegills, the lake contains "tons and tons and tons" of perch. And wherever there are perch in abundance, northern pike are almost certain to abound, too, he said.

The boat ride, Christensen said, is almost as much of a highlight for the young anglers as fishing.

"We might let the older kids drive the boat," he said. "The little kids, we let them sit on laps and pretend they're driving."

The lake will be available to any adult (with a valid fishing license, of course) to try their luck on opening day.

There will be a "blessing of the boats" at 9:30 a.m., and after that, free pontoon rides for people of all ages.

And, anyone who wonders what might happen to an old pontoon boat can find out today at 3 p.m. at Johnson's Boats and Motors on Highway 23, where a monster truck will crush not one, but two, old boats.

Johnson's is also where there will be demonstrations of the latest technology for tracking fish.

Anyone who wants to learn how to tie a fly to use as a fishing lure can do so in downtown Montello today.

But for Christensen, it's the kids fishing with pros that typifies what Fish-N-Fun is all about.

"I enjoy the look on the parents' faces when a 6-year-old pulls in with the boat and the little guy says, "Daddy, we caught a good one.'"



 Fish-N-Fun: What's going on


All day: Kids fishing with the pros, fly-tying classes, voyageur canoe rides, helicopter rides, softball tournament and volleyball tournament

9 a.m.: Spoke Smokin' bike ride.

9:30 a.m.: Blessing of the boats.

10 a.m.: Carnival opening.

1:30 to 3 p.m.: and locator demonstrations and lessons.

3 p.m.: Monster truck pontoon crushing.

7 to 10 p.m.: Street dance with live music by Picture This.


10 a.m.: Carnival opens.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Voyageur canoe rides.

Starting at 10 a.m.: Photos by the Falls.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Helicopter rides

Conclusion of softball tournament

Shuttle rides

There is free shuttle service for people who park at Krakow Park, the Marquette County service building or City Park


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