Dozens of preschool students are buzzing around Glen Lake.
Forming a line alongside a pump truck, buckets in hand, students wait patiently to collect a fish from Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery manager Tristan Robbins. After getting a rainbow trout, the students of the West Shore Parks and Recreation nature preschool amble over to the lake to release it. The children are all smiles.
“We are just trying to get more youth out and about and enjoying the environment,” Robbins said. “A lot of kids spend more time inside than out – and (we’re) trying to expose them to what is available to them (outdoors) and hopefully ignite a fire.”
Robbins spends much of his spring and summer pumping trout into local lakes – on this day 500 Fraser Valley rainbow trout are earmarked for Glen Lake.
Several other West Shore lakes are stocked twice a year, including Ida Anne Lake, which receives 350 in the spring, Langford Lake (5,000), Thetis Lake (2,000), Lookout Lake (1,000) and Prior Lake (500). Many of these freshwater bodies will get another equal infusion in the fall.
“It just ensures there are fish in the lakes for anglers … It’s a great pastime,” he said. “We are encouraging people to get out and enjoy our beautiful province.”
Fish are already a catchable size when they are brought into the lakes via the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., a non-profit society funded by freshwater fishing license revenues. One hundred per cent of the license fees go towards the stocking programs, research, conservation and improving access to fishing areas.
The hatchery stocks between 50 and 60 lakes on Vancouver Island.
“(This) creates an instantaneous fishery for anglers so you don’t have to wait … These fish are ready to be caught as soon as they are released; it’s what anglers want,” Robbins said. “(And) it’s a native species.”
Each year, the hatcheries of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., of which the Vancouver Island facility is one, release more than eight million fish. More than half of the lake fishing in B.C. is stocked by the six hatcheries across the province.
Stocking reports and more information about the program can be found on their website at gofishbc.com.