News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Launches Youth Backyard Fishing Program

Annapolis, Md. (June 11, 2010) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service has selected three community ponds as test sites for a new Backyard Fishing Program. The purpose of this initiative is to create fishing opportunities for kids in easily accessible areas and to provide learning experiences to inspire natural resource stewardship.

"The Backyard Fishing Program gives Maryland children the opportunity experience fishing while they are young," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "Our kids deserve the same rights and opportunities to enjoy the natural world around them that we enjoyed when we were young. Experiencing the outdoors will help create a smarter, greener generation of stewards.”

The Fisheries Service is stocking these ponds with hybrid sunfish and will manage the areas to provide youth fishing opportunities throughout the summer months. The fish are raised by young people enrolled in the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services Aquaculture Certificate Program. In 2009, Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly succeeded in appropriating funds to build an aquaculture and environmental science center at the Meadow Mountain Youth Center in Grantsville, Md. to support a science, math, engineering and technical (STEM) program for adjudicated youth. Watermen were hired to build the facility as part of the Governor’s program to reduce the economic impact of blue crab conservations measures.

“I caught my first fish at age four, and it is a lasting memory,” recalls DNR Inland Fisheries director Don Cosden. “But it was those endless summer days of catching bluegills at a neighbor’s pond that left me with an undying love for the outdoors and the desire to protect it for future generations.”

The Fisheries Service will host the following kick-off fishing events at selected ponds:

  • Grantsville Pond in Garrett County: 5 to 7 p.m. on June 22
  • Boonsboro Community Pond in Washington County: 5 p.m. on June 23
  • Warfield’s Park Pond in Howard County: 9 a.m. on July 2

These events are open to all, but the fishing will be reserved for anglers under the age of 16. DNR will supply the bait and will have a limited amount of fishing tackle available. Additionally, Fisheries staff will assist participants in baiting up and catching fish and will provide casting and knot-tying demonstrations and assistance.

The The Backyard Fishing initiative is inspired by the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. “Catch a fish” is one of the rights covered by the Bill which was issued by Governor Martin O’Malley last year. The Bill is part of the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, an initiative to ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards.

For more information, please contact Letha Grimes, (301) 898-9724.

   June 11, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at