More than 20 disabled and disadvantaged children from Hesperia, Palmdale and Lancaster spent Saturday learning the in and outs of fishing at Silverwood Lake.


In a collaboration with the CAST for Kids Foundation a public charity that provides disabled and disadvantaged children the opportunity to fish the Department of Water Resources and California State Parks hosted its inaugural fishing event on Silverwood Lake.


Ranger Kevin Forrester, sector superintendent of Silverwood Lake, said the event would allow non-traditional park users to enjoy the park.


"It's a good way to make that connection between the activity and the community," he said. "It promotes fishing as an activity and as our department, that's what we're here for."


David Inouye, chief of the water conservation and land and water use section of the southern regional office for the Department of Water Resources, said the department wanted to make a commitment to work with disabled and disadvantaged children to enjoy what the agencies have created. Hopefully it would spark their interest to come back when they could, he said.


"Working with disabled and disadvantaged children is the No. 1 goal," Inouye said. "You can do a fishing event, but when you're targeting children who are disabled with Down syndrome and other physical abilities and disadvantaged youth who probably never would have this opportunity to experience something like that, we felt like what CAST for Kids was trying to accomplish was something good."


Forrester said the parks department did an event like this at Millerton Lake near Fresno and it grew beyond what anybody could imagine. He said because of that the department wanted to expand the event and see how it went at Silverwood.


Inouye said he hoped the event, which besides Millerton Lake has also been at Lake Perris in Riverside and Lake Oroville in northern California, would catch on and happen at lakes and reservoirs statewide.


"The department is really glad that we're a partner in this project and that we're hoping to continue doing this at all our state water project facilities for the foreseeable future," he said. "We hope to attract other partners and businesses to help us out and keep these events going."


Amanda Getchel may be reached at 951-6234.