Rules altered bid for more kids casting

To get more kids on the water, particularly at lakes that are stocked and where fishing is easy

By Cam Fortems, Kamloops This Week

The B.C. Liberal government is attempting to hook more kids on fishing by opening up specially designated lakes that will allow adults to cast a line in the water.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is changing rules at age-restricted lakes around B.C.

Under the old rules, specified lakes were restricted to those under 16 or over 65. Parents who accompanied their kids to Isobel Lake, for example, weren’t allowed to fish themselves.

Under the new rules, up to two adult companions will also be allowed to fish.  The change is an attempt by the province to get more kids on the water, particularly at lakes that are stocked and where fishing is easy.

The old rules “reduced interest for families looking for locations where everyone could fish,” said a statement from the ministry.  Accompanying new regulations is an expanded number of lakes that are now designated as “youth-accompanied waters”.

“The whole idea with the regulations to begin with, and the changes, are to encourage children to get out fishing,” Kamloops angling guru Brian Chan said.  “Now it allows a father and daughter or son to both angle. It fits the intent and whole idea of making these waters more user-friendly.”

Those lakes are stocked with good-sized trout from species that are easier to catch and won’t be hook-shy from earlier encounters with experienced anglers, he said.

Other local enthusiasts said the regulations should get more kids in a boat or at a wharf, along with their parents or grandparents.

Len Piggin, president of Kamloops Fly Fishers, said he often gets asked by young families at his part-time job at Wholesale Sports where to go with kids.

Now he’ll have an answer.

“If we can send them to Rose, Tulip and Isobel — they’ll catch fish,” he said.

Local fly-fishing expert Mo Bradley said the changes will encourage grandparents to bring kids along to the lake.

“It’s very valuable and there should be more of it.”

The change will bring an end, however, to those 65 and over having a specially designated fishery on some lakes — something Piggin and Bradley acknowledged won’t be popular among the most senior anglers.

But, Chan said, that group should recognize the greater benefit to the sport.

“I can see why those 65 and older get comfortable with a private fishery — that wasn’t the intent.”

Bradley said there should be more emphasis on making boat launches more user-friendly at the designated lakes, something that’s already in place at Isobel Lake.