Baseball has Little League, Hockey has USA Hockey, Soccer has the US Youth Soccer Association, and now fishing has the American Angler Leagues. Prior to last year, fishing has been without an organization that supported and helped communities build youth fishing programs.
The American Angler Leagues were founded to provide families across the country programs that introduce fishing to children in a structured environment similar to youth sports.
“We believe that in order for children to become lifelong anglers, they need continuous opportunities to fish while they are young. They also need someone to teach them how to fish and then take them fishing,” said founder Kolt Ringer of Chaska. The American Angler Leagues provides that platform.
As with most youth sports, early success builds upon itself and the more success you have the more you want to participate. Fishing is no different; most kids are hooked after their first fish. However, for many kids, their opportunities to continue development are limited.
“We working to overcome those limitations to fishing by reaching out to experienced anglers, introducing fishing as a team sport, and setting up structured youth fishing seasons in areas that can support them,” Ringer said.
For countless families with kids, youth sports are a very important part of their lives. They teach kids a lot more than just athletic skills.
“We are excited to be able to work with volunteers in communities who are ready to add fishing to the list of options parents can choose from when signing their kids up for sports,” Ringer said.
To participate in an American Angler League fishing season kids must be between the ages of 5-12 years old. Each program is run by volunteers in the communities and anglers are required to be members of American Angler Leagues. Members receive recognition, awards, opportunities to participate in local, state, and national AAL events, access to fishing education and resources.
Is there an AAL Youth Fishing Program in your area? To find out, go to www.littleleaguefishing.com.
If there is not a program in your area and you are ready to take the lead to help start a youth fishing program, there is a link to a form you can fill out to have information sent to you or contact Ringer via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.