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Students tell Rochester's fish tale


A group of Brighton High School students wanted a project that would help people get outdoors for exercise and spend more time with nature. So they turned to their passion: cold water fishing. They pulled together nearly $1,000 in grants to create a guide to fishing sites within the city, says Sawyer Hall, a senior at BHS and president of the school's fishing club.

The students researched six sites — Trout Lake in Seneca Park; Eastman Lake and Durand Lake, both of which are in Durand Eastman Park; Ontario Beach Park; Genesee Valley Park; and the Lower Falls on the Genesee River — and they received approval from county officials to create signs for each one, Hall says.

The signs will be up in the fall, and they'll provide information about the aquatic environment of each site, such as the type of fish found there. They will also feature a QR code to access more information about the site from a smartphone.

Hall began fishing when he was four and fishes all year long, including on the ice. He says that local lakes, rivers, and streams contain salmon, perch, rainbow trout, and walleye.

About 15 students participated in the project, says Brian Knebel, a technology teacher at Brighton High School who has been mentoring them. The students wanted to promote fishing sites in the city because fishing is a recreational activity that people of every age can enjoy, he says. They also wanted people to appreciate the city's natural environment.

School-based fishing clubs are becoming more common, Knebel says. "It's multi-faceted because it teaches students to give back to their communities, it teaches them to respect the environment, and there are statewide competitions between the clubs," he says.