More than 50 students from Shannon Lake Elementary watched excitedly as crews from the Summerland Trout Hatchery – Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. stocked a portion of Shannon Lake with 800 rainbow trout Wednesday.
It’s the seventh year in a row the netted off portion at the south end of the lake has been stocked as part of Go Fish: A program that gives young people a chance to fall in love with angling.
Each Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Sunday, June 16, kids 15 and under will be given equipment and guidance to fish for rainbow trout. They will also be allowed to keep one fish each day without a fishing licence.
Al Springer of the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association had the idea for Go Fish about eight-and-a-half years ago.
“Kids need to learn about the outdoors,” said Springer.
“This is one way of doing it.”
Earlier this week Springer helped put a 130-foot long net across a portion of the lake.
According to Darren Greiner, assistant manager of the Summerland Trout Hatchery, adding fish to the netted off area gives young anglers an increased chance of instant success.
“I grew up fishing with my father and my grandfather—now I fish with my son,” said Greiner.
‘I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see the smile on a young person’s face…I get really excited when I see kids catch fish. Hopefully they get hooked on it for life.”
Go Fish begins Saturday at the Hall Road pond in Mission Creek Regional Park and Sunday at the netted off fishing area in Shannon Lake Regional Park.
Regional parks staff and volunteers from participating organizations will provide a barbecue and refreshments for the young anglers.
Starting May 11, every Saturday volunteers from Kelowna and District Fish and Game Club and Lonely Loons Flyfishers Society will provide equipment and expert fishing guidance at the Hall Road pond while members of the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association will lend their fishing expertise and provide equipment at the south end of Shannon Lake in Shannon Lake Regional Park.
Regional Parks Services staff will provide equipment and will help children fish at the two locations each Sunday starting May 12.
“This program is one of the most successful and well supported programs that we run each year,” said Bruce Smith, regional district communications officer.
He noted thousands of youngsters have taken part in the event since its inception.