Lacombe Fish and Game held its annual Youth Fishing Day on this past Saturday. Families and anglers of all ages gathered at the Len Thompson Trout Pond to enjoy a day of fishing and to encourage youngsters to participate in the sport.
“It’s a very convenient way to at least spark some passion for fishing,” said Grant Creasey, programs chair for Lacombe Fish and Game and a member of the club for 25 years.
Children who participated were able to interact with fish not just by trying to catch them, but by helping stock the pond with 200 young trout as well.
“That is what they most look forward to,” said Bernie Street, fishing chair for Lacombe Fish and Game. “It’s stocking and getting to see the fish up close.”
Youth were also able to practice their skills in a casting competition, where anglers who could cast into an inner tube placed in the pond won a free Len Thompson hat. For the hungry angler, a free barbeque was also provided to those in attendance.
Youth Fishing Day is an event that has been held since the creation of the Len Thompson Trout Pond, said Creasey. Both the idea for creating a trout pond and holding a Youth Fishing Day came right after the pond, originally intended as only a storm water retention pond to service the development of English Estates centre, was created in 2003. Creasey said he and Lacombe Public Works Superintendent Dave Powell saw the pond as an opportunity for Lacombe Fish and Game to do something for the community.
As such, in 2004 Lacombe Fish and Game Association began stocking the pond with Rainbow Trout and today the Len Thompson Trout Pond functions both as a storm water retention pond and a popular fishing hole within Lacombe’s city limits. That same year began the Lacombe Fish and Game’s tradition of hosting a Youth Fishing Day and it has been held on the first Saturday of June ever since.
One of the mandates of the Alberta Fish and Game Association is to promote conservation of Alberta’s sustainable resources among youth. This was one of the reasons Lacombe Fish and Game decided to create the Len Thompson Trout Pond, said Creasey, to encourage young people to fish and initiate the connection between youth and the natural environment.
He added it is not usual to have a fishing pond within a city’s limits, so it is an interesting feature for Lacombe. He added that it is not uncommon to see children cycling to the pond to fish during the summer when the weather is nice.
Clearly, Lacombe Fish and Game has been successful in getting young people interested in fishing through the Len Thompson Trout Pond and Youth Fishing Day. This is an important accomplishment as Creasey and Street said that it is important to have young people to carry on the traditions of Lacombe Fish and Game.
“Traditionally anglers and hunters have been at the forefront of conservation,” said Creasey. “I don’t expect that to change.”
He added that the more people that get involved with fishing and hunting at younger ages, the more people there will be to continue traditions of conservation when they are older.
Street agreed. He said that introducing youth to fishing at a young age helps instill the enjoyment of that sport in children for the rest of their lives.