Families looking for something different to do this Father’s Day (June 19) can take advantage of free fishing throughout the weekend. The Family Fishing Weekend is sponsored by the Family Fishing Society of B.C. (FFSBC), and there are events scheduled at 48 communities around the province.
“No one needs a fishing licence this weekend,” says Owen Bird, executive director of the FFSBC. This includes free saltwater fishing as well, offered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, although Bird notes that some salt- and freshwater regulations still apply.
There are variations from community to community, but Bird says that there are usually local experts on hand to assist novices and provide tips. “The events are usually held in a place where there’s a pretty good chance participants will catch a fish. And there will often be rod and reel combos for people to use.”
The Clinton and District Outdoor Sportsmen’s Association is hosting a fishing derby at Kelly Lake from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on June 19. President Rolly Higginbottom says the event is open to everyone, and that there will be a concession and prizes. Eastern brook trout and rainbow trout from two to four pounds are the typical catches. “There will be some extra boats there,” says Higginbottom, with a “skipper prize” available for someone who takes a few children out in their vessel. There will also be people from the association there to show kids the ropes.
The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club will be holding an event between Kentucky and Aleyene Lakes on June 19 from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., and club president BJ Moore says members will be on hand to help first-time fisherpeople. There will also be rods and tackle available.
“The pond is stocked for kids to fish at,” says Moore, so there is an excellent chance anglers will take home a rainbow trout. Lunch is included, and Moore notes that the area offers good hiking and biking trails and an easy walk to the lake through very scenic landscape.
The Family Fishing Weekend is “the perfect way way to kick off the season,” says Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. “Whether you’re a veteran angler or never touch a rod, it’s a great way to get out and enjoy B.C.’s natural beauty and, maybe, get hooked on fishing.”
While the weekend is a chance for those who haven’t fished in a while to try it again, says Bird, it’s also meant to introduce new people to the sport. “If youth are introduced to fishing before the age of 14, there’s an 80 per cent chance they’ll go on to fish as adults. Young people are the stewards of our resources going forward, so it’s important they learn about them.
“And it’s all about community. The weekend is all volunteer-led; people love doing these events.”