Amendments to the Wildlife Act announced Friday should give fishing families additional opportunity to pass down their knowledge to the next generation, according to Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.
In support of mentoring young anglers, the province has amended the regulations for age-restricted waters by making them available to anglers of all ages, provided they accompany a youth under the age of 16 or a disabled angler who is actively angling.
“Fishing is a wonderful and relaxing pastime that people of all ages can enjoy,” Thomson said in a press release. “These changes create new opportunities for families to get out and enjoy the great outdoors together.”
Many of the waters that are subject to this new regulation — now referred to as “youth accompanied waters” — are stocked with catchable rainbow trout, providing an above-average angling opportunity for newcomers to the wonderful world of freshwater fishing.
There are a total of 19 locations designated as youth-accompanied waters in the province.
These are: Bainbridge and Mayo Lakes on Vancouver Island; Lonzo Creek and Sardis Park Pond in the Lower Mainland; Isobel, Hamilton, Rose, and Tulip Lakes and Paul Creek in the Thompson Region; Idlewild, Dorothy and Fisher Maiden Lakes and Norbury and Coal Creek (below the M. F. & M Railway Bridge) in the Kootenays; Beaver Creek below Pinnacle Provincial Park in the Cariboo Region; Beaverly, McMillan, and Mugaha Creeks in the Omineca Region; Hall Road Pond and a portion of Shannon Lake in the Okanagan Region.
Previously, age-restricted waters allowed only youths aged 16 or less, those 65 and older, and disabled anglers access.
This reduced interest for families looking for locations where everyone could fish. Under the new youth accompanied waters regulation up to two adults (including those over 65) can fish in age-restricted waters, provided they are accompanied by an eligible youth or disabled angler. The list of age-restricted waters has also been updated.
Disabled anglers are still permitted to angle unaccompanied on “youth accompanied waters”, however now they can be accompanied by up to two anglers that were not previously permitted to fish on these waters.
Fishing is a great family activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and expert anglers are a great teaching resource for those just becoming interested. Passing on angling knowledge is important in maintaining the social, economic, and environmental benefits associated with a recreational fishing culture in B.C.