School Group Sport Fishing Program
The School Group Application process is currently open
At any time during the year, whether your group was selected for a Sport Fishing Education program or not, please consider taking advantage of one of our Fishing Equipment Loaner Programs. See below for more information on our Rod Loaner Program and our Backyard Bass Casting Box.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has equipment loaner programs that operate year round. There are no charges for any of these programs, which is an amazing deal. The equipment is loaned out for up to a week and is scheduled on a first come first serve basis. You must call ahead to check on equipment availability and to schedule a pick-up date.
- The Rod Loaner Program provides you with up to 50 rods/reels and a tackle box. Fishing Regulations, Urban Brochures and other fishing related handouts are also provided. You must provide the bait although we can advise you on the best baits to use depending on your fishing location and species of fish available. Remember that anyone under 10 years of age does not need a fishing license and you do not need a fishing license to take your students fishing as long as they are the ones fishing.
- The Backyard Bass Casting Box comes with a bundle of 10 rods that are rigged with plastic casting plugs and a box that contains 31 plastic fish about a foot long. This is a casting activity that can be done on any playground or grassy field that is flat and at least 30′ by 60′. The fish are randomly placed 15 to 45 feet in front of the casters. The casters cast the plugs past the fish and reel the plug up the back of the fish until it gets caught in a raised part of the gill area allowing the caster to“catch their fish”. Each fish has a picture of a fish found in Arizona that is glued to the bottom. Once the fish is caught, the casters can use the Fishing Regulations to identify their fish, determine whether it is a native, protected or sport fish along with many other interesting things about Arizona’s fishing resources.
If you have any questions about our Sport Fishing Education Program, the drawing process or loaner equipment, call Marci Alderman, Sport Fishing Education Coordinator at (623) 236-7240.
What is the School Group Fishing Program?
A school group fishing program is composed of two parts, Classroom Instruction and Field Instruction, and these are usually held on separate days.
Classroom Instruction is a one-hour presentation conducted at a school or a place where your group meets. The presentation covers topics, such as native fish and sport fish of Arizona, fish biology and habitat requirements, fishing safety and ethics, fishing regulations and basic fishing techniques. Educational handouts are available for all participants, and information resource packets are available for educators and group leaders upon request.
Field Instruction is a three-to four-hour, hands-on fishing event at an urban lake or nearby body of water of your choice. The department provides all fishing equipment and all fishing license requirements are waived between the clinic hours. Transportation to the fishing location is the responsibility of the requesting group.
Things To Know Before You Apply
1. The majority of students in a school group program must be 8 years old (3rd grade) or above. An application may contain mixed grade levels of 3rd grade and above. The department does not provide sport-fishing instruction for classes K through 2nd grade.
2. School group must have a minimum of 25 students attending both the classroom and field instruction.
3. The maximum number of students allowed for the field instruction (fishing field trip) is 50 students. This does not include staff or especially parents who are invited to attend.
4. Groups working with individuals that have special needs, (physical, developmental or mental disabilities), may include staff or caregivers when counting minimum numbers of participants as long as the staff or caregivers attend both classroom and field instruction.
5. The Sport Fishing Education Program will not provide staff or equipment for “competitive” fishing events, derbies or tournaments. The following criteria also apply to “catch and release” competitive events. A competitive fishing event is any event that involves the catching of fish as a requirement for the awarding of prizes, trophies, certificates, ribbons, or special recognition of any kind. Raffles or drawings may be used to award prizes to individuals, who have registered for the event or have participated in an educational process and as long as the distribution of prizes is not tied in any way to the catching of fish.
6. You must submit an application each school year you want a program. We do not carryover applications to the next school year.
7. To increase your chances of being drawn:
- Be as flexible as you can when providing dates (or months) of when your group is available for a program. Our sport fishing contractors and instructors only have so many available dates as they continue to schedule programs with different groups.
- When your school has more than one classroom/teacher that is applying, have each teacher within your applicant group submit an application with their name on it. This will result in more than one application for your group being submitted thereby increasing your group’s chances of being drawn.
- Remember, each application can only list a maximum of 50 students. Applications listing more than 50 students will not be eligible for the random drawing. This is to keep the number of students per fishing program at a safe and manageable level for our sport fishing contractors.
- Be accurate and complete when filling out your application. If we can’t get a hold of you we can’t schedule your program.
You will discover that the Sport Fishing Education program will be one of the most enjoyable programs that your group will participate in all year.