For the past week my fishing time has been spent at the Fishing Forever Program and the Family Fishing Weekend that took place on the pond and grounds of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association (CDFGPA). It was an inspirational affair for all the volunteers who worked so hard to make the celebrations a success.
The book of life starts with our birth and closes when we die. In between we experience a multitude of chapters that add to the variety, exuberance, quality and excitement of living a positive life. For millions of Canadians the fishing chapters of our lives are generally filled with real life happenings that are often highly emotional occurrences that revolve around multitudes of real life recreational fishing events – as our life evolves they become fish stories.
The little girl in the photo at left has just experienced a life-altering moment. At the Family Fishing Weekend, she landed her first fish assisted by her mother, her father and a member of the CDFGPA. She was excited and happy with her achievement. If she lives in a fishing family she will have
many more of these types of happening but there is only one “first fish” chapter in her book of life.
The second picture is of two sisters, Nora Farmere and Elsie Hames from the Comox Valley Seniors Village and Casa Loma with their escorts Pete Savin and Norm Swan from the CDFGPA. The escorts were two of the many volunteers under the Fishing Forever Program who helped them in catching their pond limits of two fish each. The eldest of the two sisters, Elsie Hames is 97 years along in living her book of life.
After all the participants from Casa Loma had their two fish they retired to the club campground where they had a traditional shore lunch fish fry. Thus another chapter was recorded in the lives of the seniors who took part in the fishing adventure.
The fishing events at the CDFGPA pond do not take place in isolation. They happen because many members of the community give their services, funds and time to make them a success. I was surprised by the number of people I talked to on the weekend from Campbell River to the north and as far as Nanaimo on the south who had no similar program in their own cities.
Over the past month the Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia stocked approximately 1,500 catchable trout into the pond. In appreciation the CDFGPA donated $1,500 to the society. During the two days of the Family Fishing Weekend, Thrifty Foods Courtenay downtown store cooked and served free of charge 100 dozen hotdogs plus hundreds of cans of pop and bottled water. Do the arithmetic – that is 1,200 hotdogs, most of them served on Sunday – Father’s day. Note – the Thrifty staff members volunteer their time for this event.
Two of the most unpleasant jobs of this weekend are gutting, icing, labelling and caring for hundreds of trout for lucky anglers until they go home plus the endless job of
untangling fishing lines, rods and reels. To the dedicated members of the CDFG PA who spent many hours over the past eight days doing these unpleasant tasks a special thank you.
Recreational fishing is an inter-generational activity that gets families and especially children into the outdoors and away from the sedentary addiction of TV, computers games etc.
The Valley has a wonderful resource in Maple Lake with great potential – wouldn’t it be wonderful to see it developed for these types of adventures?
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.