Cast that rod: B.C.'s free fishing weekend welcomes newcomers to the shore

·2 min read
During B.C.'s Family Fishing Weekend, anglers and families are invited to fish for free from June 17 to 19. Marleau Brown of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. said Sanctuary Pond in Hastings Pond is kept stocked with rainbow trout. (Lisa Christiansen/CBC - image credit)
During B.C.'s Family Fishing Weekend, anglers and families are invited to fish for free from June 17 to 19. Marleau Brown of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. said Sanctuary Pond in Hastings Pond is kept stocked with rainbow trout. (Lisa Christiansen/CBC - image credit)

Several organizations are hosting free family fishing events this weekend for British Columbians who have always wanted to try their hand at baiting a hook or reeling in a keeper.

The Family Fishing Weekend is an annual event that takes place on Father's Day weekend to allow people to fish for free without a basic freshwater licence.

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada will also offer saltwater fishing for free this weekend.

Starting Saturday morning, families are invited to the Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association's facility in Victoria to try out fishing. It's one of many free fishing events happening in dozens of locations across the province.

"We have a stocked pond in our facilities up at the top of the Malahat ... and we invite non-members, families and friends to come out to try fishing," said Doug Bancroft, the president of the association.

He said anyone interested in fishing after Father's Day can grab a free fishing rod and small tackle box to take home.

Bancroft, who grew up fishing in freshwater and saltwater, says freshwater fishing is more accessible for first-time fishers.

"You need a boat to get out and do saltwater [fishing] and that involves a lot more money than just wandering around the shoreline of streams and lakes," he said.

He said the association has been hosting the Father's Day fishing weekend for decades.

"Over the last two years, youth activity at our facility really exploded," Bancroft said. "That had to do with the lockdowns and the fact that it was something they could still do outdoors."

Lisa Christiansen/CBC
Lisa Christiansen/CBC

Metro Vancouver families will also be able to take part in the free fishing event in many locations across the region including Sanctuary Pond in Hastings Park near the PNE, Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam and the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery Centre in Abbotsford.

"It's an urban lake ... and we stock it with rainbow trout," Marleau Brown of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. said of Sanctuary Pond.

"You'll find some invasive species in here as well."

She said the lake is stocked year-round and fish are most active a couple days after stocking.

Brown, who mostly fishes with her dad, says the event can be fun for the whole family, and the association supplies the rods, bait and everything else you might need.

"It's an opportunity for urban families to come down and fish in what feels like nature and in the forest," she said.

Participants are encouraged to head over to one of the free events happening across the province, or check out the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. website to find out other fishing hot spots in the province.

There are some exceptions. The society says anglers who want to fish for species on the conservation list and in classified waters must still purchase the appropriate licence and stamps this weekend.

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