Organizers of an ice fishing community event held at Beaver Lake earlier this month were extremely happy with the turnout. The free introductory get-together attracted 125 participants, even after it was moved at the last minute from Vernon to Beaver Lake.
The conditions were very wet and slushy at Beaver Lake but that didn’t stop the ambitious young anglers from showing up and trying their luck on the ice.
Fishing was on the slow side but participants were able to get some first hand knowledge about ice fishing, thanks to multiple ice fishing tents equipped with underwater cameras for the kids to get a “fish eye view” of the underwater world. Ice fishing rods and reels were also provided for each participant and the kids took turns cycling through the tents and watching as fish by the camera.
The event was a huge success thanks to all the volunteers, organizing groups, sponsors and most thanks to the families that brought the youth out to the event,” said organizer Danny Coyne, fisheries director at the Oceola Fish and Game Club. “This is the third year in a row that the organizing groups of hosted ice fishing events like this within the Okanagan and they will continue doing so as long as the youth keep showing up to learn to fish.”
The Oceola Fish and Game Club provided a free warm BBQ and hot dog lunch along with hot chocolate to help refuel the young anglers.
“The Learn to Fish Program is an exciting initiative designed to introduce participants to recreational fishing,” said Coyne. “The fun, hands-on lessons make it a perfect fit for youth and their families as well as organized groups of all ages and abilities.”
Since its launch in 2006, the Learn to Fish program has been delivered to over 100,000 youth and their families across the province. In 2014, angling groups around the province organized multiple family ice fishing events throughout the B.C. Interior that introduced hundreds of families to the sport of fishing.
“We have quickly discovered that ice fishing provides an excellent opportunity to introduce angling to the community,” said Coyne. “The ease of access, the ability to take large groups fishing, as well as the exciting social aspect of ice fishing makes for successful angling events.”
The event was organized by BC Fishn Media, the BC Wildlife Federation Region 8, and the Oceola Fish and Game Club along with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (GOFishBC.com) and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, & Natural Resources.