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Fish lessons Fifty pairs of eyes peer into the clear depths of Crabapple Creek. "There, over there," a little finger stabs the air pointing to a shady spot under the water. Sure enough, seven dark shadows about a foot long hover in the cold water. A number of the shadows have orange pieces of plastic trailing their dorsal fins "Those orange things are tags," says Gordon Tomalty of the Whistler Rotary Club as he points out the fish to Grade 3 students from Myrtle Philip Community School. It's the last day of school before the summer break and today the classroom has moved streamside. After a presentation first thing in the morning by local naturalist and Rotarian Don MacLaurin, the 50 students move to the fish fence where the Rotarians, in conjunction with the municipality, community volunteers, the Whistler Angling Club and the Ministry of Environment are conducting Whistler's first fish monitoring and tagging program. The purpose of the program, now well into its first month, is to trace the spawning patterns of the local trout, Kokanee and Dolly Varden population. The rainbow trout spawn is drawing to a close and the valuable data is revealing the potential to restore the Whistler Valley to its former prominence as a fishing resort. Today, says MacLaurin, the key is education. As he and Tomalty don hip waders and slip into Crabapple Creek to measure the 13 rainbow trout in the downstream trap and 17 in the upstream. One fish is large enough to be tagged and the number is recorded. "This projects is giving us some much valuable data, it's just wonderful," MacLaurin says. "But every child that gets a chance to be exposed to the project is one more piece of the educational component of what we are trying to do." Pique Newsmagazine, in conjunction with the RMOW is publishing the fish count numbers to keep Whistler in touch with the innovative project. If you catch a fish with a spaghetti tag in the dorsal fin, record the colour of the tag and the number on it and call it into the RMOW at 932-2423. As well, we would like to hear your fish stories. If you have a tale, no matter how tall, write it down — 250 words or less — and fax it to Pique at 938-0201 or e-mail to pique@whistler.net.

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