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Fishing clinics and contests set up for kids give youths and accompanying adults a chance to bond while the fish are biting.

Several free events are slated for area sites, providing young and new-to-fishing folk a place to learn about angling and enjoy the fun of trying to catch big numbers and sizes of fish.

Here are four events keyed to kids’ enjoyment and to learning more about fishing:

• East Aurora Fish and Game Club holds its Kids Fishing Derby at the club pond at 1016 Luther Road on Saturday. The derby goes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with refreshments and prizes for kids signed up for this event. For registration and directions, call 597-4081 or 949-9483.

• The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge hosts its 22nd Annual Youth Fishing Derby on Saturday at the Ringneck Overlook on Oak Orchard Ridge Road. Registrations begin at 7:30 a.m. and fishing is from 8 to 11 a.m. The free event is open to youths ages 17 and younger; first-, second- and third-place certificate prizes will be awarded to youths in three age categories: 7 and under; 8-12 years old; and 13-17 years old. For derby rules and details, call (585) 948-5445 or go to fws.gov/refuge/iroquois.

• The Department of Environmental Conservation and Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs will partner to host two free kids clinic in June. At both events, adults are allowed to assist youths in the fishing clinics without the need for a fishing license.

The first clinic will be at Tifft Nature Preserve on June 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lake Kirsty is wheelchair accessible and all youths are welcome to this gathering. A lunch and prize drawing follow the youth clinics and fishing forays. For registration details, call 851-7010 or 597-4081.

The second DEC and ECFSC clinic will be offered at Chestnut Ridge Park Lake in Orchard Park on June 22, with a format similar to the clinic at Tifft Nature Preserve. To sign up a youth for this event, call 597-4081 or 949-9483.

Top fishing gear

Everyone has a pet product name when it comes to fishing gear. Southwick Associates’ AnglerSurvey results lists these products as the leading brand name and the percent of purchases for each item in 2012: Rod brand: Shakespeare (10 percent); Reel: Shimano (21.1%); Combo (rod & reel): Shakespeare (18.3 %); Fishing Line: Berkley Trilene and PowerPro (11.2 % each); hard bait: Rapala (23.5 %); Soft Bait: Berkley Gulp; Tackle Box: Plano (44 %); Landing Net: Frabill (34.9 %) and Fishing Knife: Rapala (28.2 %). For the complete listing of all fishing-gear items, go to anglersurvey.com.

Children’s special day

The Penn Dixie Site in Hamburg will be a special site on Saturday for kids to enjoy everything from finding fossils to astronomical activities.

Hamburg Natural History planners will offer fossil–identification help and have lenses in place to view sunspots and other astronomical sites from 1 to 4 p.m.

Throughout the gathering, fun events will be set up for children and their families to celebrate Children’s Day at Penn Dixie. Messinger Woods will have their hawks and owls on display.

Richard Spencer will conduct rocket launches at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., plus other exhibits and informational offerings.

Registration is not required. For directions and more details on this event, call 627-4560 or go to penndixie.org.

email: odrswill@gmail.com