With all of the distracting issues of the day we sometimes forget to pause and look at the good things that are happening in our Valley. Last Sunday I joined two friends in a fishing trip with the simple goals of targeting lingcod and chinook salmon.
We chose a poor day as far as wind was concerned, but the saints that look after old anglers must have been pleased with us because we caught one modest chinook, a modest lingcod plus three nice flounders and a small rock cod. None of the fish were spectacular in any respect, but they provided three families with some fresh seafood treats all under the pursuit of our pleasure.
Over the past two weeks I have had reports of limit catches of chinook and the odd halibut off the hump at Kitty Coleman. Those fortunate anglers did not have to travel far for their bounty and this column soberly suggests we should be thankful for our sea’s generous gifts.
On the freshwater side, lakes have been equally generous to those who forsake the company of whales and seals for the exotic company of eagles, ospreys, and loons. Lakes are frequently small enough that you can form an emotional bond with these living jewels that are homes to our local trout. Lake fishing in the company of friends or the loneliness of your personal solitude can be a deep emotional experience for happy anglers addicted to it, plus creating a lifelong passion.
For those who are devotees of the moving magic of rivers and streams with their ever-changing pulses of life, they must pause during the high-water before they can join the wild creatures on quieter waters.
On all fronts, the Valley is rich in places to enjoy many levels of angling skills and adventures. We are still blessed with abundant angling opportunities in spite of the challenges of a modem society that at times seems bent on reducing the productivity of our waters for short-term gain.
The Fishing Forever program under the chairmanship of Ron Watanabe of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association (CDFGA) will wind up today after five adventurous days of trout fishing in the club pond. Participants are residents of senior care facilities plus other handicapped folks and they are frequently helped on a one-to-one basis.
Members of the CDFGA spent the last five days in volunteering their support at the club pond. Can you imagine the pleasure of being able to catch a nice trout, then later have if barbecued for your lunch before you return to the security of your care facility? To Ron Watanabe and his committee of volunteers it is a classic case of service above self – from the Valley we thank you.
Family Fishing Weekend (Father’s Day weekend) is celebrated throughout the province on June 15, 16 and 17. It means you can fish trout in local waters without a license. It also means you can gather clams, oysters and other shellfish without a saltwater license. All that is required is that you be a resident of Canada and that you follow the normal regulations that apply to recreational fishing. If you choose to go salmon fishing and want to retain one, you must purchase a conservation stamp – but the license is free for this weekend.
To celebrate Family Fishing Weekend the CDFGA sponsors a special Family Fishing Weekend at the club pond on Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The pond is well-stocked with catchable trout supplied by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia.
Thrifty Foods generously supplies free treats, and local businesses have supplied a limited number of loaner rods. There will be free bait and hooks where needed. Words to the wise – dig some worms, use you own rods if possible, and come early if you need a loaner rod. This is a popular event involving hundreds of happy anglers of all ages.
Bryan Allen, chairman of the committee, can use some help from club members. His phone number is 250-338-0091. I repeat – thank you to all involved.
For those waiting to go prawning, the commercial season closes today (Friday, June 15) at 5 p.m.
Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.