A group of West Shore youth had a wet and wild introduction to the life of a hatchery trout this week in Langford.
West Shore Parks and Recreation nature preschool students were on hand to help the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. release 500 catchable-sized rainbow trout into Glen Lake, one of many stops for the crew on the overcast Tuesday.
The four year olds laughed and squealed in delight as they each carried buckets of water with one or two fish in them down to the shore and tipped them into the muddy lake. The fish, often stunned from the journey, took a second or two to adjust before darting into open water, enjoying their newfound freedom.
“Any new learning experience for the children is awesome,” said early childhood educator Suzanne Miner. “Just being able to actually see the fish and release the fish.”
Last fall these same students went to Goldstream Park to see the spawning salmon and witness all the dead salmon after the process. Miner said this field trip will round out the view these students have of the cycle.
“I think it’ll all tie in quite nicely with the circle of life part of it.”
The fish are raised at the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery in Duncan, then trucked down to Greater Victoria. Fish are also being released into Lookout Lake, Langford Lake, Durrance Lake, Prospect Lake and Elk Lake.
“We’re trying to get as many fish out as we can so we can get people out fishing,” said Tristan Robbins, assistant hatchery manager.
Another 500 fish are scheduled to be released into Glen Lake in about a month’s time. Another 1,000 will be released in the fall.
Robbins said having the children involved helps make the job that much more rewarding. “It gets them out and about and realizing there’s more to life than just sitting in front of a TV. It’s a great time, it’s good fun.”