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Fishing4Fun: Free fishing classes offered around metro Atlanta this spring

Fishing4Fun is an educational initiative to get folks outdoors. (Photo by cottonbro studio, Pexel.)

By Hannah E. Jones

Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the U.S., with over 52 million folks grabbing their poles and hitting the waterways in 2021 alone. A new metro Atlanta initiative will encourage residents to do the same.

Fishing4Fun — an educational initiative to get folks interested in the sport — will kick off later this month. The program, which is spearheaded by the Greenspace Leaders Alliance, is held in partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

With Fishing4Fun, residents have the opportunity to learn best practices and fishing techniques. The program includes a series of four events at local waterways — Murphey Candler Park, Chastain Park, Hyde Farms Park and Morgan Falls Overlook. The first event is at Murphey Candler on March 18.

“Fishing can be so relaxing,” Melody Harclerode, executive director of the Blue Heron Nature Preserve and Alliance founding member said. “It’s promoting self-discipline, patience and your engagement with the environment.” 

Local leaders gathered for a recent Greenspace Leaders Alliance meeting, including (L to R) Charlie Monroe, Steve Peters, Natasha Rice, Melody Harclerode, Abigail Gross, Brian Barnes and Lori Conway. (Photo by Hannah E. Jones.)

The Greenspace Leaders Alliance was created in 2018 by Harclerode. It includes about 10 member organizations within Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton Counties. The mission is to network, educate and inspire collaboration among like-minded groups across local jurisdictions.

Complete newbies are welcome in the Fishing4Fun program, and Georgia DNR will provide fishing gear for all participants. Additionally, a fishing license isn’t required to participate. The ponds have also been stocked with native fish like Murphey Candler’s catfish, bass and bluegills.

Through the program, the team aims to engage local families, particularly those in underserved communities who might not have access to fishing resources. Additionally, the Alliance hopes to help foster an appreciation for the outdoors among younger generations.

“[The idea is to] create stewards for the future,” said Charlie Monroe, Cobb County natural resources manager. “Getting young people out and enjoying a nice experience that they can carry with them for a lifetime. Not just going out fishing, but learning the value of respecting the land that they’re fishing on, is something that we want to continue to encourage.”

In addition to encouraging folks to spend more time outside, Fishing4Fun will also teach residents to tread lightly on the environment and be mindful of local wildlife.

In the last five years, at least three Blue Herons have died at Murphey Candler due to six-prong hooks caught in their bills. As a result, the City of Brookhaven passed an ordinance that requires fishermen to use a single unbarred hook.

“Leave it better than you found it,” said Steve Peters with the Murphy Candler Park Conservancy. “Be aware of the natural surroundings — the [larger] habitat and landscape.”

Ultimately, the Alliance encourages residents to spend some time in the great outdoors — in whatever form.

“Coming out of the pandemic, where screens became absolutely so important, a lot of people disconnected from nature,” said Natasha Rice, president and CEO of the Chattahoochee Nature Center. “This is definitely a multi-generational effort. The intention is to bring families together and in the outdoors.” 

To learn more or register for the free fishing class on March 18, click here. The team is also seeking volunteers, and a sign-up can be found on the same website.

Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native and Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for two newspapers. Hannah managed the Arts and Living section of The Signal, Georgia State’s independent award-winning newspaper. She has a passion for environmental issues, urban life and telling a good story. Hannah can be reached at hannah@saportareport.com.


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  1. us map March 7, 2023 2:45 am

    Thank you for producing such a fascinating essay on this subject. This has sparked a lot of thought in me, and I’m looking forward to reading more.Report

  2. Nick Hess March 12, 2023 12:56 pm

    This is all north metro Atlanta area… anything south of 20?Report


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