Fishing is free this Father’s Day weekend, and what better way to spend some quality time with Dad than on the water?
In an effort to get more British Columbians hooked on fishing, the Family Fishing Society of BC is hosting its 17th annual Family Fishing Weekend that encourages experienced and novice anglers of all ages to enjoy a day on the water.
With fishing licences offered free June 17 to 19, people are invited to create their own fishing adventure or partake in one of 48 organized events being hosted throughout the province this weekend.
One of the events is being organized out of Langley, but held at Salmon Lake, near Merritt, on both June 18 and 19.
“Our event is a little more unique than the other ones,” said Brian Ulle, one of the Langley organizers.
It started more than 20 years ago as a Langley Township (TOL) staff get-away, and later opened up to the public when it became intertwined with the Family Fishing Society of BC events, Ulle explained.
While it is now a public event, Ulle noted that the location seems to be a bit of a deterrent. Unlike most of the fishing society’s events, this one is not held in the host community, but rather a 45-minute drive outside of Merritt. Therefore, Ulle explained, it is still primarily attended by TOL staff and families.
At peak, the event has drawn as many as 175 people, where the past few years the numbers have levelled out closer to 100, with some people coming out just to camp and socialize, while there are still some “die-hard fishermen” who come out to compete for the trophy and prizes offered as part of the fishing derby.
“It’s has grown into a really neat weekend… a great event,” Ulle said, having participated for the past eight years.
Licences are free
The Family Fishing Weekend is about encouraging families to get outdoors and enjoy sport fishing, but it is also a way to motivate people to discover the province’s bounty of natural resources – including thousands of lakes, rivers, streams or tidal waters, said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
“Whether you’re a veteran angler or never touch a rod, the Family Fishing Weekend (June 17 to 19)is a great way to get out and enjoy B.C.’s natural beauty and, maybe, get hooked on fishing,” Thomson said.
Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada is offering free saltwater fishing during the Fathers’ Day weekend and, as with the provincial program, certain regulations apply. Regulations for tidal waters are administered by the federal government and DFO whereas freshwater fishing is the domain of the provincial government. For details people can visit www.fishing.gov.bc.ca for freshwater and http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/weekend-eng.html for tidal waters.
The fishing weekend is also made possible thanks to the support of material sponsors, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and many hundreds of volunteers and the 48 communities that will host an event across B.C. this year, said Owen Bird, executive director of the Family Fishing Society of BC.
“These events offer a great opportunity to learn how to fish and share an appreciation for the pastime and marine and aquatic resources in a fun and supervised environment,” Bird said.
“The dedicated volunteers who organize and participate in these events are passionate about fishing and even more passionate about passing on their love of the sport. They really are the heart of Family Fishing Weekend.”
B.C. boasts some of North America’s finest sport fishing opportunities.
A complete list of the 48 participating communities, locations and event descriptions, along with step-by-step fishing instructions can be found at www.bcfamilyfishing.com.