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Family fishing day at Green Timbers

Published on Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Last Saturday the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and City of Surrey co-organized a family fishing day at Green Timbers Lake. The weather co-operated for once and many family showed up to try out fishing for the first time. The fishing was good for some as the hatchery just released 500 or so fish last Wednesday into the lake. Here are some photographs from the event.

A great day for the 20th Salmon Send Off

Published on Saturday, May 8th, 2010

When the invitation to be part of this year’s Great Salmon Send Off arrived in my inbox last month, I accepted it without much hesitation. Like the Fingerling Festival, this is another community based event that has generated plenty of interest among residents of Burnaby.

When this tradition started twenty years ago by local resident Jennifer Atchison, Stoney Creek, a tiny tributary of the Brunette River, was void of salmon. Today, spawning salmon can be seen returning each fall, thanks to countless hours of hard work by volunteers of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee.

Stoney Creek is just one of many streams in the Lower Mainland that are overshadowed by both residential and industrial developments. Each day, it faces threats from dewatering to accidental dumping. Unnoticed, its survival depends on programs such as the Great Salmon Send Off. The goal is not just to revive the salmon runs that once exist, but to make sure visitors become part of the solution at the end of the event.

At 11:00am, the release began when Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s community advisor Maurice Coulter-Boisvert opened up the holding tank. Several thousand juvenile coho salmon circled as they emerged from the dark, eager to start their long journey. Hundreds of parents and kids lined up patiently to receive their bag of fish. Once given, they were carried down to the edge of Stoney Creek where they were set free.

Our participation today included setting up a flytying workshop where each kid had a chance to tie a fly with the assistance of my friends Shane and Carlo. We were pretty overwhelmed by the amount of enthusiasm and interest! If you did not have a chance to tie a fly or pick up our fish identification cards, don’t worry because we will be at several more events in June and July.

More photographs from today’s event can be viewed on this page.

Thousands released fingerlings

Published on Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Excitement built as we approached Noons Creek this morning, which one would always expect if we were going fishing. This was just as good, we were spending the day to enrich new stewards of our salmon. It was the annual Fingerling Festival, one of many community salmonid related events that take place every May.

Several months ago, organizer Dave Bennie phoned me up as usual, asking if I would like to be part of this year’s festival. Without hesitation, I said yes. Fishing trips lead to my absent in the last several years, the last time I participated was back in 2006, so I was quite eager to see what changes have taken place.

Among all community events in the Lower Mainland, the Fingerling Festival by far has the largest line-up of exhibitors. Over 50 nature groups, community hatcheries, streamkeepers and government agencies gathered under one roof today. It was as grand as a trade show, except the sales were awareness of ecosystems that are becoming increasingly vulnerable due to our everyday activities.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and my website teamed up again at this event. Mike Gass, who is responsible for community outreach at the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery, brought an aquarium that was filled with rainbow trout, kokanee and brook char. I brought along a flatscreen TV that broadcasted video of work done to improve recreational fisheries in British Columbia. Throwing in a dozen different fish species identification cards and a table full of colouring papers, we were open for business.

At 11:00am, hundreds of parents with kids and strollers in hand began streaming into the arena. For four hours, we were surrounded by kids who were mesmerized by the aquarium and parents who were surprised by the vast availability of freshwater fishing in the Lower Mainland.

Outside the arena, there was a long line-up outside Noons Creek Hatchery where little white buckets were handed out. Each bucket, where anxious chum fry circled, was carried down to the edge of the creek by both little hands. With one tilt, these fingerlings were pour into the creek, marking the start of a long journey. This process repeated thousands of times throughout the day. Everytime a bucket was poured, a new steward was born. The Fingerling Festival is not just a fish playing game. Under all the fun, there is an important message that every participant takes home – Small creeks among residential areas are not storm drains, but important habitat for salmon and other aquatic living beings.

At the end of the festival, I asked Dave how the turnout was. He estimated it to be around 4,000. This event has grown incredibly since I last participated. What impressed me was this community’s volunteerism. Individuals at different ages, from all cultural backgrounds, came together for the day so this tiny creek will live on.

You can see more photographs from today’s Fingerling Festival on this page. If you missed today’s event, you have another chance! Next Saturday is the Great Salmon Send-off in Burnaby where you have the opportunity to release salmon fry into Stoney Creek, where salmon were absent until twenty years ago.

Youth flyfishing competition

Published on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Randy Morgan of Hatch Match’r Fly and Tackle in Maple Ridge has a passion in introducing flyfishing to high school students. Each year, he hosts an year-end competition for several high school flyfishing clubs in Southern British Columbia. On April 25th 2010, we followed eighteen students, their parents and teachers as they took part in this year’s event. The competition includes catching the most and largest rainbow trout, flycasting contest and a team relay. In the team relay, each participant has a specific task in his or her team, such as assembling the fly gear, tying knots, catching a fish with the assembled outfit or netting a fish. The team that catches and nets the first fish with the assembled flyfishing outfit wins the race. We produced this video to inspire other parents and teachers around the world. You also can set up a local youth flyfishing club so your flyfishing skills and fish knowledge could be passed onto the next generation.

Photographs from the event can now be seen on this page.

Fish for the Future 2009

Published on Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Once again attendance did not disappoint us at the 7th annual Fish for the Future. One couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun was shining, the light southerly breeze kept everyone cool, it was a very enjoyable day.

123 juvenile saltwater fishing licences were issued during this year’s event. Some kids also came with a fishing licence already, so we probably had around 150 kids. Last year we wrote up exactly 200 licences. Attendance was down slightly, but traffic was still very steady at a relaxing pace, except the first two hours, which was almost a controlled chaos.

102 fish were caught and released.

  • 62 coastrange sculpins
  • 21 pacific staghorn sculpins
  • 10 northern pikeminnows
  • 5 peamouth chubs
  • 4 starry flounders

Every kid who caught a fish was given a prize. The prizes available included T shirts, hats, fishing rods, lures, etc.

Photographs from the event can be found on this page.

Thanks go out to all the volunteers and exhibitors as well as parents who brought their kids out to the event. Next year’s event will be on July 10th. See you then!

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