There was at least one catfish for every kid on Saturday at a free fishing clinic in Tucumcari.
Testing their new found fishing skills, some of the kids reeled in several catches.
“I’ve caught three or four,” said Billy Sandoval, 9.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish stocked an outdoor pool with 200 catfish for the clinic. The program was a catch and release which allowed kids to make many catches.
Over 160 kids took part in the clinic which was sponsored by the Elks Lodge of Tucumcari.
The kids were introduced to several different aspects of fishing and water safety.
Game and fish officers and over 50 volunteers instructed participants in fish identification and anatomy, boating safety and fishing rules; then it was off to the pool where the catfish were waiting.
The Elks funded the educational clinic and also provided lunch for everyone who attended.
The city donated the water for the catch and release pool, and the Tucumcari Fire Department filled it on Friday.
“We really appreciate all that the city has done to help,” said David Gonzalez, Elk’s Lodge coordinator for the event.
The first 120 entrants also received new Zeppo rods and reels to practice their new fishing skills.
What do you do with 200 leftover catfish?
Often, the fish are used again at other clinics or they are used to stock area lakes.
Catfish from Tucumcari’s clinic were headed north to stock Conchas Lake, Dominguez said.