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Abraham Bangdura, 11, of Laramie, casts a reel on Sloans Lake during a free fishing seminar held by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on Saturday, July 8, 2017 in Cheyenne. The event was geared towards novice fisherman. Jacob Byk/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – Wyoming has a wide range of fishing options in the state’s southeast corner, but many people might not know they don’t need to travel long distances to land a great catch.

On Saturday, the Laramie Region of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department hosted a free fishing workshop and outing in Cheyenne. It was the latest in the department’s “Tacklin’ the Basics of Fishing” events, held in the region’s five counties, said Robin Kepple, Game and Fish information specialist.

“The reason we decided to hold these workshops is to give people more information about local waters in their area,” she said. “This is the latest one we’re doing, and it’s by no means the last one we’ll ever do.”

It’s part of the department’s urban fishing outreach to inform people about local fishing opportunities they might not be aware of, Kepple said.

“If you want to catch a fish, you don’t have to drive two hours to do it – you can do it right in your own backyard,” she said.

In Cheyenne, Game and Fish is highlighting fishing activities at Sloans Lake in Lions Park and the Lake Absarraca Recreation Area northwest of Carey Avenue at Kennedy Road. Kepple said there is a variety of fish species, such as rainbow trout and channel catfish at both that people normally have to go up to the high country to land. The lakes are stocked with fish from 10 hatcheries around the state.

“We do go to great lengths for people who want to catch a fish,” Kepple said. “We’re really just trying to give people the opportunity to have a good time.”

On Free Fishing Day in Cheyenne in June, Kepple said anglers were pleasantly surprised with the length and weight of fish they could catch in the urban fisheries.

“A family came by – it was a mother, father and a little toddler – and we just handed them a fishing pole at Sloans Lake. The dad and kid sat down and caught a huge rainbow trout – it had to be 20 inches,” Kepple said. “A lot of people were like, ‘Wow.’ People were impressed.”

Saturday’s events began with Laramie Region Fisheries Biologist Lee McDonald presenting a slideshow to help anglers learn about fishing spots near Cheyenne. McDonald went over the kinds of fish stocked, survey information collected from anglers in the area and data from annual monitoring.

In addition, he covered a history of fish stocking in the waters, common angling tactics for different species, the best times of year to fish and more – all information that should help locals make the most of urban fisheries.

“We just go out and see how the fish are doing, and we share that,” Kepple said.

The workshops are free, but anglers older than 14 are required to buy a fishing license and conservation stamp prior to fishing. The fishing outing at Sloans Lake included equipment for anglers in need at no charge.

Joel Funk is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s state government reporter. He can be reached at jfunk@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3124. Follow him on Twitter at @jmacfunk.

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