Family fishing events are planned this weekend near Castlegar, Trail, and Nelson. Photo submitted

Fish free on Family Fishing Weekend

Family Fishing Weekend events take place June 14 to 16 with organized events in the Kootenays.

An initiative launched two decades ago to offer families a fun, affordable Father’s Day activity has become a staple Father’s Day tradition in communities throughout the province.

Growing from a handful of events, there are now nearly 50 events throughout the province, joining a larger Father’s Day trend of creating experiences and making memories with Dad to celebrate Father’s Day while kicking off the fishing season.

Family Fishing Weekend events take place June 14 to 16 with organized events in the Kootenays. The events combine fishing, learning and socializing for an estimated 40,000 participants who range from avid anglers to those trying the sport for the first time.

Family Fishing Weekend events are free, with hands-on instruction available to interested participants. Loaner rods, reels and tackle are provided for those who do not have their own gear. The events also offer opportunities to learn about fishing gear, share freshwater and saltwater fishing tips and learn about environmental stewardship and the tradition of recreational fishing.

Fishing licence requirements are waived for the weekend, meaning Canadian residents can fish licence-free over the three days, although some requirements remain in effect. Details are posted on the BC Family Fishing website and the Fisheries and Oceans website.

“We are excited to see the growth of these events and how they have evolved into a fundamental family tradition in many communities,” says Cam Aronetz, Family Fishing Society president. “We would love to see fishing with Dad on Father’s Day become the equivalent of Mother’s Day brunch with Mom.”

Family Fishing Weekend events to be held in the Kootenays include Champion Lakes Provincial Park from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 15 and on Pass Creek campground outside Castlegar from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Cottonwood Lake outside Nelson from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., both on June 16.

Events are supported by the Family Fishing Society and organized by fish and game clubs, the Conservation Officer Service, municipalities, community groups, and local businesses. A complete list of participating communities, locations, and event descriptions, along with step-by-step fishing instructions, can be found at bcfamilyfishing.com. Freshwater and tidal fishing regulations, including daily catch quotas, always apply; details are posted at pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca or fishing.gov.bc.ca.

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