Although the fish probably didn’t notice, Sunday’s chill wind and rain helped prevent the Yukon Fish and Game Association from attracting the numbers it had hoped for the Family Fishing Weekend.
“The weather hasn’t co-operated, which is too bad because I think there would have been a lot more people out,” said Gordon Zealand, executive director of the Yukon Fish and Game Association.
Kicking off the National Fishing Week, Yukon’s Family Fishing Weekend, which allows for people of all ages to fish without a licence , started Friday and ended Sunday.
Although in its first year, the idea of a licence-free fishing weekend is nothing new.
This past winter, the association allocated two days for Yukoners to fish without requiring a licence .
“The association had the two family fishing days in the wintertime and we wanted to do one during the summer, try to get out a different segment of the fishing population and just introduce people to the sport,” said Zealand. “Especially kids — make them aware and give them a chance to come out.”
Sunday morning’s activities at the fish ladder included a filleting demonstration, fly tying lessons and free lures for children. Fishing lessons and a free barbeque were held a few minutes away at Hidden Lakes, which are some of the territory’s 22 stocked lakes.
“Let’s say that someone is really not that experienced fishing, they can come in there and we’ll have people who can help them out with tying knots and how to set up their rigs and to give them some actual hands-on experience around the lake,” said Zealand.
“At the end of the day, we’d like to see a lot more kids, a lot more families involved in fishing.”
Regular fishing rules remained in effect during the weekend, including catch and possession limits.
A licence was still required for salmon fishing.
“This is a really fun, family orientated event. It’s a great way of getting Yukoners out and enjoying our environment,” said Environment Minister Elaine Taylor, who watched the fish-gutting and fillet demonstration at the Whitehorse fish ladder, her first official function since her appointment on Thursday.
“Having been born and raised in the Yukon, this is really important,” said Taylor.
“It’s important to Yukoners for lifestyles, quality of life, but also to our economic health. And it’s important to our visiting travellers as well, from a tourism perspective.”
If you missed the weekend’s activities, it is not too late to buy a $15 licence and enjoy the rest of National Fishing Week, as well as the rest of the season.
Children 16 and under do not require a licence .
“I haven’t had much time to go fishing over the last few years since being elected,” added Taylor. “But now with a three-year-old son — he’s becoming an avid fisher-person, so we’ll probably be taking to the outdoors a lot more than we have.”