By Claire Piech
B.C.’s annual Family Fishing Weekend kicked off in Whistler this week with the successful opening ceremony of Alta Lake’s new dock.
The Wednesday event celebrated the completion of the Fairhurst Fishing Dock with group fishing, speeches, and a cutthroat trout release.
Minister of Environment Barry Penner joined Mayor Ken Melamed and Grade 2 and 3 students from Alta Lake School to partake in a two-hour ceremony.
“I think it is fantastic that the Ministry of Environment is showing such an interest in Whistler. It brings good attention to our fishing, outdoor recreation in our valley, and our parks as well,” said Heather Beresford, environmental stewardship manager for the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
Penner was presented with an honorary fly fishing pole at the ceremony and cast the first rod. He spent the rest of the day fishing with the students before riding symbolically away across the lake into the sunset.
The Fairhurst Fishing Dock cost a total of $20,000 to build and is the result of a partnership between the Ministry of Environment, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., RMOW, and the Whistler Angling Club.
The dock was named in honor of Dick Fairhurst, whose family was involved in Whistler’s recreational fishing community in the ’60s and ’70s,
Cutthroat trout were also released during the ceremony, as part of the B.C. government’s efforts to stock lakes in the province and meet the demand of recreational fishing.
According to Beresford, cutthroats have traditionally been used in Alta Lake to stabilize burgeoning stickleback populations. Their large size, however, will also contribute to the excitement of fishing.
“Because cutthroat fish are sterilized, they don’t spend energy mating and spawning, and therefore grown quite large. Which really makes fishing fun,” said Beresford.
Other lakes in the Sea to Sky corridor being stocked with fish include Alice Lake, Alpha Lake, Brohm Lake, Browning Lake, Edith Lake, Loggers Lake, Lost Lake, and Nita Lake.
The annual B.C. Family Fishing Weekend coincides with Whistler Angling Club’s Fathers Day Event and will include a free three-day fishing license for participants, from June 15 to 17, complements of the B.C. government.
Free instruction will also be available over the weekend in basic fish biology, fishing techniques and etiquette, and fish conservation to children, teens and accompanying adults.