The weather forecast called for everything—rain, wind, sun and clouds—over the weekend in Vernon. But that didn’t stop over 1,600 family members from making it out to the Polson Park pond for the annual Kids Fishing Weekend.
Put on by the Kalamalka Fly Fishers Society, the annual free event has been a staple in the community since 2001.
“We have about 70 members, and it is really rewarding for all of the them,” said Ken Kirkland of the KFFS. “It is great to see the kids coming out, whether they catch a fish or not, it is a great experience for them.”
According to Warren Burgess, another member of the KFFS, who had the official head count, there were over 350 kids checked in on Sunday, with a couple hours left to go. Saturday saw around 325, even with the rainy weather.
“We got an equal number of family members showing up as well” he explained. “For the weekend, we will be right at about 1,600 people.”
The KFFS provided rods, bait, a photo booth (to take a picture with your fish), fish cleaning station, and a concession selling hot dogs for just two dollars.
“Our society is a non-profit,” said Kirkland. “The fellow in charge (of the concession) insists on a really good hot dog. It’s not meant as a money maker, but for a lot of these kids, they do not have much of an opportunity to do anything like this and may come from underprivileged families. That’s why keeping the price down is so important and attractive for parents to get the kids out.”
Fresh Water Fisheries released 1,000 trout into the pond on Wednesday, April 3. Children were limited to two trout per day. If there were any leftover from the weekend, the trout would then be netted up and put down.
KFFS itself was able to reel in some more members, with several of the parents becoming aware of what they do, and interested in getting more active in the fishing community.
“We do a similar event up at Kingfisher Nature Centre, with around 300 trout being released,” Kirkland explained. “Then we also put on a fly fishing course, through Vernon Parks and Recreation. We also do various other fishing outings for our club members. It’s a good bunch of people, with a real variety of ages and experience that everyone is willing to share. “
For more information on the KFFS, visit Kalflyfishers.ca