Sunny with a light westerly breeze, one couldn’t have asked for better weather to host Fish for the Future 2008. This was our sixth annual event. When this project was first initiated in 2003, the idea is to promote sportfishing, but to also make sure required knowledge is made readily available to those who are new to this recreation. When educated anglers are created, resource stewards are created, which lead to a better future for the fish. This event is only possible each year with the support of BC Family Fishing Weekend, National Fishing Week and many local generous sponsors.
Maybe it was enthusiasm, the entire event only took 40 minutes to set up. We were ready to go by 9:30am! Once 10am passed, parents and kids began arriving steadily at registration for their licenses.
The pier was filled with eager new anglers in no time. It was time to catch a fish!
Perhaps it was the tide, or the extended freshet that the Fraser River has experienced this year, the fishing was somewhat slow at the beginning. The main target species are peamouth chub, northern pikeminnow and several sculpin species. There was also the possibility to catch a variety of other species such as bull trout, cutthroat trout, white sturgeon, starry flounder, shiner perch and american shad, making fishing rather unpredictable and exciting in the estuary portion of the Fraser River. Once the kids found the way to entice these picky feeders, fish began to show up on the floating dock.
Once caught, the fish was brought to the aquarium stations by the catcher so it could be observed and identified in the water by everyone. All fish were released after a viewing period. This system creates a relaxing atmosphere so there would be a willingness to learn about the fish that are being caught. Although it is not a derby, we tried to ensure that those who caught a fish would receive a small prize. Fish ID cards were also given out for future references.
Beside fishing, we usually invite several related groups to be with us because the event provides a good opportunity to advertise their projects or programs that they offer.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been a strong supporter of this event since the first year. The communication branch has provided reading material for anglers to take home. Since last year, the enforcement unit in Steveston has also been involved. By having an outreach program, it creates a better understanding of the agency and encourages people to work with the enforcement unit when reporting violators. The patrol boat cruise during the event is always an eye opener for everyone.
Based in North Vancouver, the Seymour Salmonid Society has also been with Fish for the Future for many years. Beside raising salmonids, the hatchery offers an educational program called “Gently down the Seymour”, which offers a better understanding of the Seymour River and its inhabitants. The hatchery staff once again brought along a few juvenile coho salmon and aquatic insects for visitors who have never had the opportunity to see them.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has been offering Learn to Fish program since 2006. This successful initiative has increased freshwater angling interest among youth across the province. Although the society’s work is not entirely related to the type of fishery being offered in Steveston, it always sends out a group to our event to cover the educational component. Fish anatomy, species ID and fishing lessons were given throughout the day.
Based in Delta, Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society rescues and raises injured birds of prey back to their health. Thanks to the feathery stars, its exhibition always generates a big crowd at this event. We feel that it is important to be involved with O.W.L. because injured birds are often the result of improper disposal of fishing line and plastic bags in their habitat. The society is always looking for volunteers and donations. Donations can either be money or food (ie. fish and rodents).
New to this year’s event were the Fraser River Estuarium Project and the Greater Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. We hope to have them back next year. The Fraser River Estarium Project is a proposed permanent educational centre in Steveston, which aims to inform the public about the importance of the Fraser River estuary and delta ecosystem. The Greater Canadian Shoreline Cleanup happens each September. Organized by the Vancouver Aquarium, there are over 1,500 cleanups happening in communities across Canada.
As usual, we had a flycasting area setup for those who are interested in learning or improving their casts. Many thanks to Jeff for providing private lessons under the hot sun throughout the event. Many new flyfishermen were born today.
The flytying booth was also quite popular. Kids were able to create their own flies with the help from Floon, Carlo, Wayne and Tony.
Thanks to Daniel at DNE Fishing for running the river fishing information booth. The display of drift fishing rigs must be helpful for those who want to get into river fishing in the Lower Mainland.
Thanks to Randy and Bill at Ultimate Sportfishing for exhibiting the Fraser River white sturgeon tagging program. It is a less-known species that always needs more awareness from the public.
Thanks to George, Rene, Tim, Brian, Luke, Sean and Mary for running the fishing portion of the event. With several hundred people who were eager to try out fishing, somehow they managed to keep everything under control.
Thanks to Sandy, Natalie, Jennifer and Cathy for writing up juvenile angling licenses. It was a non-stop task. 197 licenses were written during the event.
Thanks to Mark for running the aquarium station. The bucket run was a good exercise for him.
Thanks to those who had taken our advice and chosen to ride their bikes down to the event! It was good to see dozens of bikes parked on the pier while they fished.
Based on the number of juvenile angling licenses issued etc, we estimated between 500 and 600 people participated in this year’s festival. We look forward to see you all once again next year! Next year’s event will most likely be on July 4th. We hope to continue expanding by inviting more groups to be with us in the future so this will become one gathering where people can collect all the information they need regarding fishing, conservation and better living.
The rest of the photos can be seen on this page. If you have a comment or feedback regarding this event, please go to this page.