Free fishing event for kids and families Saturday gave lots of kids a chance to catch their first fish.

by: JIM BESEDA - Avery Wurdinger, 4, right, holds up the first fish she has ever caught alongside her dad, Sam Wurdinger, during Saturday's ODFW-sponsored event at Shorty's Pond.Sam Wurdinger of Silverton along with wife Kasie and daughters Avery, 4, and Grace, 2, were among the more than 100 fishermen who took part in Saturday's Shorties at Shorty's family fishing event sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Molalla River Chapter of the Northwest Steelheaders at Shorty's Pond in Ivor Davies Park.

"It's a good way to get kids and families involved in fishing, especially those that don't fish regularly already," said Wurdinger, president of the Molalla Steelheaders. "As much as we are involved in the salmon and steelhead fishing in the area, to have people that want to fish helps keep people concerned and passionate about their local fisheries and watersheds.

“If people live next door to the river and don't know or don't care, then we lose fishing opportunities because the general public isn't informed."

The ODFW stocked the pond on Friday with 800 fish, including 75 that weighed an estimated 2 pounds each, Wurdinger said.

The Molalla Steelheaders monthly meeting is Thursday at the Farmstead Restaurant at Aarowhead Golf Club, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and featuring professional guide Dave Johnson, who will discuss the spring Chinook season.

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