Second Annual ICIO Inmate Family Fishing Day
Orofino, Idaho- On Saturday, April 28, 2018, the second annual Idaho Correctional Institute-Orofino (ICIO) Inmate Family Fishing Day took place at Tunnel Pond in Orofino. ICIO staff, inmates, and families were able to enjoy nature together while fishing for Rainbow trout. The fishing day event was a collaboration between the Nez Perce Tribe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the ICIO.
To be eligible to participate, inmates had to be near their parole date and have excellent behavior over the last year. Three inmates participated in this year’s activity. One inmate’s family traveled all the way from Nevada to be able to spend time together during this special event. Two of the participants were dads with daughters and one participant had a son.
For the children, it was their first time fishing. Each child caught their two fish, and beamed with pride as they walked the fish to the gutting and cleaning station manned by ICIO Lieutenant Frank Welch. Welch has been a champion for this event as an incentive and reward for inmates. “We put this event on to remind and encourage inmates to pursue other outlets; like fishing, there are many positive activities available.”
In addition, other ICIO staff were in attendance with their families. One staff member fired up the BBQ grill cooking burgers and the freshly caught trout, while another staff member took photos to share with the families. U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee Jill Olson brought the poles and tackle for participants to use. The bait used for the event was donated by the Orofino Guide Shop.
Even though the weather was slightly chilly and overcast, all attendees were able to mingle and enjoy Tunnel Pond together. Overall, the ICIO Inmate Family Fishing Day was a great success. As long as there continues to be interest, the event will continue to occur on an annual basis.
The Nez Perce Tribe began construction on Tunnel Pond in 1999. Upon completion in 2000, the Nez Perce Tribe opted to open the trout pond to the public. The hope was to use the pond to encourage family outings and create a deeper appreciation for the outdoors. The pond is regularly stocked with hatchery Rainbow Trout by the Nez Perce Tribe’s Department of Fisheries Resource Management Trout Ponds Project.
The late Nez Perce Elder, Elmer Crow was a large advocate for this project. He grew up in the area, and the area of Tunnel Pond just happened to be his swimming hole as a boy. He is commemorated for all his efforts by a photo and plaque near the pond.
Tunnel Pond is a regular venue for fishing events such as this one, Kids Fishing Day, and Veterans Fishing Day. The space is also used by many local groups and families for special events.
For more information regarding fishing and permits to Tunnel Pond, please visit: http://www.nptfisheries.org/Resources/FishingInformation.aspx.