Nothing says summer like kids going fishing.

On Thursday, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s donated 55,000 rods and reels to metro area children, as part of an effort to get kids outside and fishing. It was in conjunction with the nationwide movement “Gone Fishing” to connect kids to nature.

“Our society is increasingly surrounded by technology and we don’t want to lose track of lessons that can be learned outdoors,” said Michael Zerman, senior communications manager for Bass Pro Shops.

The rods were donated to nonprofit organizations that help kids of any background connect to the outdoors.

Groups receiving donations include: The Nebraska chapter of Trout Unlimited, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Midlands, the Boys & Girls Club and Iowa Game and Parks.

“We’d like to thank Bass Pro Shops for this donation,” said Bryan Hayes, fishery biologist for Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Fishing is a healthy, wholesome, active, activity kids can do their whole lives.”

Josh Towey, senior grants director of Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands stated for kids the club works with this is a way for them to go fishing with their role models when most of the kids would not have that opportunity.

“I think it’s cool people come back year after year to experience what we have to offer, and we do this all for free,” said Rebecca Younkins, events specialist for Bass Pro Shops.

Younkins said Thursday also marked the beginning of summer workshops including topics on kayaking, hiking, fishing, and camping all which are free and open to the public.

“The events are designed to make the outdoors accessible so everyone can experience the joy of fishing, and to inspire the next generation of conservationists and outdoor stewards,” Zerman said.

Events for the “Gone Fishing” movement take place Saturday and Sunday and June 15-16 at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s locations — including Council Bluffs — and will include: catching fish in catch and release ponds, seminars, crafts and photo downloads. Items for participants at these events include a “First Fish” certificate and beginner’s guides. Kids of all ages are invited to attend the weekend events located at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s locations.

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