A large truck plastered with pictures of fish – those who can tell the difference would know they are trout – backed down the boat launch at Glen Lake, causing a flock of children in red vests to excitedly run over from the nearby playground.
Lindsay Kemble, a preschool instructor with West Shore Parks and Recreation’s Nature Preschool Program, brought her young charges to the lake to help Tristan Robbins of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. restock the lake with one-year-old, catchable-size rainbow trout.
The preschool program, for children age three to five, recently went up to Goldstream Park to learn about salmon spawning. This trip was a continuation of their exploration surrounding fish.
“We’re teaching these kids to respect the environment, to be interested in the environment and want to spend time out in the environment,” Kemble says. “So helping fish get to their natural habitat seems to be pretty perfect for the program.”
She says it’s even more important these days, with all the electronic entertainment engaging families, that kids develop an early love for the outside, natural world.
“These kids care,” she says, looking around at their keen faces. “They’re really interested in what’s going on around them outside. That’s even what they want to be doing in their time off – spending time outside. We definitely need more kids to be doing that. Less screen time and more activity outside is definitely needed
The fish released Tuesday, grown at the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery in Duncan, and the children’s engagement with them will hopefully encourage more future anglers to take up a rod and reel, Robbins says.
“We’re just trying to get more kids out fishing,” he says. With fewer kids taking up outdoor recreation these days, he says, these types of activities and events are really important for getting younger generations engaged.
The Fisheries Society restocks Glen Lake with 1,000 fish each spring and fall, as well as restocking Thetis, Langford, Prospect, Colwood, Ida Anne, Durrance, Lookout and Elk lakes.
Robbins says their programming is funded by freshwater fishing license sales, and they’ve finally begun receiving a bigger piece of that pie to support
As of April 1, the Freshwater Fisheries Society receives 100 per cent of the revenue generated from the license sales, compared to 70 per cent previously.
“So now, people can be guaranteed that 100 per cent of the money they put into their freshwater license goes to improving fisheries all over the province,” Robbins says.
The society also puts on “Learn to Fish” programs throughout the year, where anyone – usually kids between the ages of five and 15 – can come out and do just what the title says, learn to fish. Participants are provided with all the necessary gear and are given lessons on environmental ethics and fish handling.
Kemble says she’s hoping to get the kids from the preschool program back out to take part in Learn to Fish this summer, to close the circle of their fish knowledge, as it were.
Check out gofishbc.com for details on that program, including upcoming dates, or to learn more about any other program run by the Freshwater Fisheries Society.