Community Futures-Greater Trail is looking to put the Columbia River at the top of the world’s sport-fishing bucket list.
The non-profit organization launched WeSportFish.com this week, a website promoting the excellent sport-fishing on the Columbia River and the communities of Trail and Castlegar.
“The project goal is to create a new tourism draw and resource that brings money into our communities and creates opportunities for new business ventures,” explained Community Futures project lead Ron Perepolkin. “We see it as the first step to stimulate waterway recreation and as a resource everyone can use or recommend to visiting friends and relatives when they ask about fishing.”
An enticing aspect of the website is its dynamic content, which supports the site’s bold claim that the 56-km stretch of Columbia River is arguably the best tailwater rainbow trout fishery in North America. Guides and local anglers provide weekly updates and photos on how the river is fishing, who caught what and where, and the best flies/lures and techniques used in real time.
“‘Our Fishing News’ allows everyone access to the hotspots, the top guides, and what’s biting,” said WeSportFish editor Jim Bailey. “There’s really no secret behind it, the river is an amazing fishery, and we want anglers to experience it, and at the same time help out local economies.”
A Kootenay Sport-fishing Steering committee first met a year ago to kick off the initiative, with input from the respective Tourism and Chambers representatives, a selection of guides, tourism operators, and media reps. Since then a lot of work has gone into shaping the finished product.
The website, built by Wally Soukeroff of ProCreative Design in Trail, provides a user-friendly, colourful and informative site populated with stunning images of scenery and local anglers. Ona Stanton has spearheaded a social media campaign that includes updates and announcements on Instagram and Facebook.
“It’s fantastic to see WeSportFish.com finally launch,” said Perepolkin. “We had an amazing team that went above and beyond to bring this great resource to life. I know the team and myself worked many late nights and weekends to get to where we are today. I think I speak for us all in saying it was a great relief to finally launch.”
The site is extensive and includes information on how to fish for a variety of species including Gerrard rainbows, bull trout, Kokanee, walleye and rainbow trout.
WeSportFish also holds a special regard for fly fishers, with a breakdown of the seasonal opportunities and techniques to target the various species. The “Our River” tab also provides a section entitled ‘Entomology Primer’, which provides insight into local hatches of aquatic insects and terrestrials throughout the year.
For the uninitiated, the website’s ‘River Primer’, is an article that introduces beginners and novice fishers to the river and the various methods of tackling it.
Best of all, WeSportFish.com promotes local guides that live and work in the area, and have their out-of-town guests lodged and fed in Castlegar and Trail as well as provides a directory for a variety of hotels and amenities.
The use of the third-person plural in “WeSportFish.com” is a common theme throughout the website, it reflects a sense of pride and an invitation to others to come enjoy everything the Columbia River and its communities have to offer.
“The name We Sport Fish symbolizes the many organizations, businesses, and individuals that helped with this initiative and have a vested interest in the local sport-fishing community,” added Perepolkin. “Together we can celebrate and inform on the health and abundance of this amazing world-class fishery.”