Below is a semester outline of the Spartan Angling Experience
Unit One (Species and Targeting) 6-7 weeks
Week 1: This is an introduction to Minnesota angling (history and evolution) and surveying students about how much they fish, where they fish, and limiting factors of fishing. We discuss spinning, casting, locators, tackle boxes, and other technology used in angling. Students are familiarized with the gear in the “lending library” that they can check out, including rods, reels, tackle, electronics, and fish houses.
Week 2/3/4: The focus of these weeks are the fish species that are present statewide and locally. Students investigate gill net surveys and complete a report on a species of choice including migratory patterns from pre-spawn until late fall. Students do some seining on a local lake to see what fish species are present. The results students will gather will be presented or displayed on electronic media or poster paper. Students will learn the best presentations for catching, including rod/reel combos, lures, line, and other relevant methods. Students will be asked to record catch rates, if possible, and/or partner with someone who can take them fishing. They go fishing as a class locally on Blue Lake and are shown the proper way to fillet fish.
Week 5: Students create a fictitious lake (or favorite lake) and identify potential hot spots for their fish species for any time of year. The lake will have have contours, lake bottom content (mud, sand, etc.) vegetation listed, and other hydrographic features. This information is prepared on poster board and then displayed in the commons area of the school for other students to view.
Week 6/7: Spartan Angling will have local fishing guides and speakers present to students. What does fishing guiding entail? How do they make a living as a guide and their tips, strategies, gear, lakes, etc.. Students will prepare questions for speakers, and also write thank-you letters. Students research a career as a fishing guide and generate a list of the resources and skills needed to make career as a guide.
Unit Two (Preservation and Conservation)
Week 1: Students learn the history of fish limits and slot limits and how they have impacted the Minnesotan fishery. They are exposed to the special regulations for area lakes and streams such as Swan Lake, Trout Lake, Pokegama Lake, Mississippi River, and many more. Students determine if slot limits are needed or not needed and have a classroom debate, based on their feelings.
Week 2/3: Students analyze what happens when a lake “crashes”. Students will be divided into groups to investigate and explain the downfalls of some of the big lakes that were fished out during one period or another (Upper Red, Rainy, Mille Lacs, etc.) and what was done since then. Students will present the information, and Indian Education provides a guest speaker from tribal waters.
Week 4: Students observe a fish stocking or milking of walleye (pending seasons) and write about their experiences and how it impacts a local fishery and lakes. Students will travel to Cutfoot Lake and the Grand Rapids Fisheries Hatchery during April or May.
Week 5/6: Students learn the steps landowners can do to improve fish habitat or prevent further damage along their shorelines. Students create flyers to be given to people who have property on area lakes that explains steps they can do or not do to minimize damage to a lake or improve spawning habitat. Students will take it a step further and work with a willing landowner to develop a shoreline plan over the summer. David Lick will speak to the kids from Itasca Waters Legacy Partnership and equip students with more resources to manage shorelines. Students clean Pickerel Creek in Pengilly.
Week 7: Students practice proper catch and release tactics for fishing, including how to handle a fish and let it go properly. Students will prepare stations for the elementary and high school science department sharing this knowledge and facilitate small group instruction.
Unit 3: (Invasive Species)
Week 1/2: Students read a variety of media sources to determine the top threats in our region for aquatic species, including vegetation and fish. Students will select a vegetation and a fish species to create an informational board to be displayed in our school.
Week 3/4: Students work with our graphic design department to create slogans and sayings to keep our invasive species at a minimum. Students create stickers or bumper stickers to be given out to the public and displayed in our school and community.
Week 5: Guest speakers present information from the DNR. Students will prepare questions and send thank you cards. Students create a boating checklist to prevent spreading invasive species and perform field work if necessary. Students are asked to volunteer at a local boat landing and hand out literature regarding a boat checklist and help clean off weeds from trailers.
Seasonal Fishing Trips for Class (not local)
Rainy River Sturgeon Trip (April)
Upper Red Lake Walleye (May)
Winnibigoshish Walleye (September)
Lake of the Woods Walleye/Sauger (December
Winnibigoshish or Mille Lacs Perch (March)
Extra Content to be Used As Needed:
What careers exist in fisheries? Any of them appeal to you? Why or why not?
Minnow and Leech trapping, rules, regulations, effective placement, and local waterways
Favorite fish recipes for different species
How to smoke or pickle fish
Fish fry for teaching staff at school
Reflection, thank you, and exit interviews with students
Who can you take fishing and “hook”?