Fishing families are getting additional opportunity to pass down their knowledge to the next generation, with the announcement of regulatory amendments to the Wildlife Act confirmed today by 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. 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.
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.
A Frequently Asked Questions document with more information follows.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
“Fishing is a wonderful and relaxing pastime that people of all ages can enjoy. These changes create new opportunities for families to get out and enjoy the great outdoors together.”
Don Peterson, president, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC -
“The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC supports regulation changes that establish fishing opportunities for children and families. Not only is fishing an ideal way to connect with family and nature, but it is important to introduce youth to fishing for they are the future stewards of the resource.”
- B.C. contains over 20,000 lakes and 750,000 kilometers of streams.
- There are approximately 300,000 anglers throughout the province.
To learn more about the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC visit: http://www.gofishbc.com/
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Youth-Accompanied Waters Regulation
Q1. What are the regulatory changes being made for age-restricted waters?
- Previously the Province designated specific fishing locations as “age-restricted” meaning only those under 16, over 65 or disabled may fish there.
- The regulatory changes now changed these locations to “youth accompanied” waters, and allow anglers of all ages to fish these same waters, provided they are accompanied by a youth under 16 or a disabled angler.
- Up to two adults may angle for every one disabled angler or eligible youth in their company.
- Anglers over 65 will no longer be allowed to fish these waters if they are not accompanied by an eligible youth or disabled angler.
Q2. What is the rationale for making the changes to the age-restricted regulations (now the youth accompanied waters regulations)?
- The original goal of the age-restricted waters regulation was to encourage young and disabled anglers to take up fishing.
- Many of the lakes on the list are even stocked with additional fish to create a more enjoyable experience.
- However, under previous regulation adults showed little interest in going to waters where their children could fish, but they could not.
- Conversely, retired anglers would attend on their own without youth, creating a fishery dominated by one group, creating a situation where youth were catching very few of the fish stocked with them in mind.
Q3. Why are those over 65 no longer eligible to fish age-restricted waters?
- The intent of the under-16/over-65 restriction was to encourage retired anglers to help youth take up fishing in lakes uniquely suited for a positive angling experience.
- When this did not result, the Province began to look for other ways to get a positive angling experience for youth, which has resulted in the new “youth accompanied waters” approach.
- This new approach has wide stakeholder support, and does not represent a significant hardship for anglers over-65 that fished under the previous version of the regulation.
Q4. How many ‘youth accompanied’ waters are there and where are they located?
- 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.
Q5. Are there changes to which waters are designated ‘youth accompanied’ and if so, what are they?
- Yes, there are a number of subtractions and additions based on four separate rationales, as follows:
- Bings, Chase, Millstone, Rogers and Willows Creeks on Vancouver Island have been removed from the age-restricted list. These areas do not provide a quality fishery and receive very little angling pressure.
- One-Mile Lake in the Lower Mainland will be removed from the age-restricted list because it is not attracting use and is home to an invasive species; the brown bullhead. This will allow local anglers to remove or reduce this species through fishing; something they have been requesting.
- Hamilton, Rose and Tulip Lakes in the Thompson Region will be added to the age-restricted list. These lakes are all easily accessible, receive very light angling pressure and are prone to reduced fish population during winter (winter kill). The ministry intends to stock these lakes with catchable rainbow trout and open the lake to all anglers on October 1 to attempt to harvest stocked fish before winter.
- Hall Road Pond and the southern portion of Shannon Lake (netted off for the kids fishery) are added to the list to facilitate the Freshwater Fisheries Society’s Learn to Fish Program.
Q6. Will the potential increase to fishing pressure represent a conservation concern?
- No. All fisheries in the province are managed on a ‘conservation first’ principle. Fishing is only permitted to the degree this principle is established.
- The waters in question are specifically selected as being both accessible to youth, and able to withstand angling pressure. Many are specifically stocked with additional fish each year to enhance the angling experience.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations