The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC says, unlike many outdoor recreational sports, fishing is on the rise this year.
While many sports are taking a hiatus over the summer or making a limited restart, the sport of freshwater fishing in British Columbia is experiencing a surge in participation. "Overwhelmingly, young adults are taking up the sport this summer and heading out to enjoy both urban and rural fishing experiences," says Andrew Wilson, President, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.
Wilson says resident angler sales are 16 per cent higher than last year and total fishing licence sales are 3 per cent above 2019 sales. Wilson says those numbers more than offset the loss of licences typically purchased by non-resident Canadian, American and international anglers in April and May.
“As a sport that naturally allows for social distancing while still offering individuals and families an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, freshwater fishing is the perfect summer activity. We are excited to see more BC residents enjoying the world class fishing in their own backyard,” Wilson says. “We hope people will take their fishing enjoyment on their travels and explore rivers and lakes throughout the province. They will discover why BC is a world class fishing destination!”
Youth age 16 – 24 have most enthusiastically taken up the sport with a 55 per cent increase in licence purchases compared to 2019 while there has been a 15 per cent increase in purchases by those in the 25 – 34-year-old age group.
As a result of implementing enhanced protocols, hatchery staff were able to safely continue working through the spring. The Freshwater Fisheries Society managed to continue working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic which means they were able to meet stocking targets throughout the province.
“We were able to continue our fish stocking through the spring, releasing as many yearling and catchable-size fish as in previous years,” says Tim Yesaki, Vice President of Operations.
July and August are the most popular months for non-resident Canadians to make fishing trips to B.C. and July-September are the months most international anglers usually visit B.C. Fishing guides and lodges, most of which are located in rural BC, are hoping the jump in resident licence sales will lead to more BC anglers booking fishing trips and holidays this year.