Families are pictured fishing at Wasa Lake with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s free Learn to Fish Program (Corey Bullock/Kimberley Bulletin)

Families are pictured fishing at Wasa Lake with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s free Learn to Fish Program (Corey Bullock/Kimberley Bulletin)

Family fishing weekend to take place at Idlewild, Kootenay Trout Hatchery

Fish for free with the family on Father’s Day weekend

This Father’s Day weekend marks B.C.’s Family Fishing Weekend, taking place across the province June 17 to 19.

The Family Fishing Weekend is an annual event and celebration of fishing that takes place on Father’s Day weekend each year. Families can fish for free for the entire weekend – the provincial government waives the requirements for Canadian residents to buy or carry a non-tidal freshwater basic fishing licence.

Here in Cranbrook there will be two events over the weekend, one at Idlewild Park and one at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery in Fort Steele.

At Idlewild, Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services will be hosting their 43rd annual fishing clinic for families. Fishing will be free for anyone aged 15 and under.

“For more than forty years, the Cranbrook Firefighters Association has been holding a fishing clinic at Idlewild Lake to encourage family unity and outdoor recreation in the community,” said Chris Churchill, staff Firefighter with Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services. “Each year on Father’s Day we put on a fishing clinic for youth in Cranbrook at Idlewild. We hope to see a good turnout this year after having to take a hiatus because of the pandemic.”

Churchill adds that the Firefighters Association is made up of career fire department members, retired members and volunteer firefighters, who will be present at the clinic.

“These extremely dedicated members have worked hard over the years to organize this valuable community event so that our youth are provided the opportunity to enjoy the recreational opportunities that the East Kootenay region has to offer,” Churchill said.

The event takes place on Sunday, June 19 from 8 a.m. to 1p.m. at Idlewild Lake. There is no cost, but registration is required upon entrance of the park. There will be burgers, hot dogs and refreshments available for free as well and prizes to be won.

The grand prize, for largest fish caught, is a guided fishing trip for two people on the St. Mary River. There will also be prizes for most fish caught. All provincial regulations still apply, and fish must be caught at Idlewild.

“It’s a fun time to get out with your family and fish,” Churchill said.

In Fort Steele at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery, there will be two days of free fishing fun on June 18 and 19 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

There are some exceptions to the free fishing rules, including if you plan to fish for species that require a conservation surcharge or to fish in classified waters. If you are planning to do either of those, a licence is still required. Anglers also must still follow quotas and other fishing regulations, all of which can be found online.


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