Fishing with a Trooper is a huge success for kids at Leaser Lake
“Hook up with fish rather than handcuffs.” Pa. State Master Trooper Marc Allen, community service officer
Master Trooper Marc Allen, of the Community Service Unit of State Police Troop M, Bethlehem, recently organized a fishing trip at the accessible recreation area of Leaser Lake, Lynn Township, to treat children from throughout the Lehigh Valley to a day of fishing.
There were 20 kids and 22 troopers, so they were paired one and one.
The troopers, both active and retired, were chosen because they were already fishermen and knew how to work with the kids.
Principals and guidance counselors chose student participants, ages 11 to 14, with a few younger siblings, based on the fact that otherwise they would not have an opportunity to go fishing.
Allen said he learned to fish from under the South Street Bridge in Philadelphia.
The grass, trees and wide-open spaces brought him north from Philadelphia.
“If we just imprint on one child today it will be good,” Allen said.
Jerry Loudon, a retired state police trainer, of the Volunteer Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, taught Allen the community service aspect of policing.
Later, Allen was Loudon’s teacher.
The Carlisle man said the fishing is a great idea. He enjoys working with kids and getting out and being with people during his retirement.
He worked for the state teaching community service but was not himself a police officer.
Allen noted the age range, 11-14, is a critical time period to see another side of police.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission provided rods, which were to be returned after the day’s fishing was done.
Cabelas provided 10 rods, which will be used later at the state police Camp Cadet program.
Subway provided sandwiches for lunch and Weis provided the doughnuts, which Allen said he considered mandatory.
Both stores are in Schnecksville. Coca- Cola, Bethlehem, provided drinks.
“We all brought extra things to give to the kids if they need them,” Allen said. “We just want to help. We’re police because we like to help people.”
Lehigh County Waterways Conservation Officer Travis Miller said “Fish with a Trooper” was a great event with a great turnout.
Fishing at Leaser Lake is catch-and-release with the exception of trout over 7 inches. Fishing licenses are required after age 16. Miller said the fish should be released back into the water as quickly as possible so they do not suffer ill effects.
Northampton County Waterways Conservation Officer Zachary Rudd asked everyone: “Are you having fun?”
The answer was a loud “Yes.”
Rudd asked if the young anglers knew what trout eat.
Tiny fish and bugs was the answer.
He explained that a kick net lets the conservation officer sample the water and though they might catch small fish they are really checking for bugs.
A giant minnow trap lets them count fish.
Rudd told the youngsters Leaser Lake has many kinds of fish and offered identification guide books to be taken home or used for an immediate check on a caught fish.
State Trooper Michael Booke told the youngsters that one day he went out on a boat and threw out his line.
A bird went for the worm and he caught a bird instead of a fish.
A trooper friend said Booke was a great entertainer so they should take his story with a grain of salt.
His student was Lovely Williams, who was afraid to touch a worm, but finally did.
“They don’t hurt,” Williams said, amazed.
She was more excited about playing with the worms than fishing after that.
Retired Trooper Ted Huertas said he and his wife came to Leaser Lake before and after the dam was repaired.
She birded and he fished.
Many youngsters caught fish before the program officially began but there was a dearth of catches until about two hours later at 11 a.m.
Some of the children started to become discouraged but then the yells could be heard, “I caught one!” “I caught one!”