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Competition creates passion for fishing

Winners pose with their fish.

Urbana, IL – Youth from across Illinois headed into the great outdoors to participate in the statewide 4-H Hooks Us Together Virtual Fishing Crappie Challenge in April. 

While competition is the focus, participating youth take away much more from the experience.

“When a kid cares about fishing as a young person, it’s a passion that sticks with them for a lifetime,” says Curt Sinclair, University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development specialist. “It also develops into a larger picture when they are a bit older in that they then care about the environment the fish need to thrive, from water quality to aquatic ecosystems, to the healthy food for their family the fish provides.”

Youth take pictures of the measurements of their catches and were able to enter catches virtually as many times as they wish. Landon Paul of Wayne County took first place with a 16" catch, Caleb Wenzel of Saline County took second place with a 15" catch, and Gage Jurgensen of Knox County took third place with a 14.5" catch.

While the competition takes place virtually, the competition gets youth outdoors and learning about the environment through a fun activity.

The tournament takes place April to June, with competition focusing on a different species of fish each month.  In May the competition will center on Largemouth Bass and in June on Channel Catfish. Those who wish to learn more information can visit the competition website.

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

For Further Information, Contact:

Source:  Curt Sinclair University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist,

Writer: Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office,

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.