Merritt competes as Ultimate Fishing Town
Pull out the rod and drag a hook through a lake — Merritt is in the running as Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town.
The World Fishing Network (WFN) is once again taking submissions for the destination fishing location in the nation, with a $25,000 cheque for the winner.
Local fishing guru Mharie Sinclaire suggested Merritt as the Ultimate Fishing Town to the WFN.
“There is so much variety of fishing here,” she said. “You get low lakes, high lakes, small lakes, big lakes, you can use float tubes, you can use speed boats, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got everything... Plus, we have a big variety of fish, ya know.”
Sinclaire has been fishing the Nicola Valley for the past 25 years or so.
She said Merritt could use the $25,000 prize to develop a lake to make it more accessible to seniors.
“I would make it only accessible for seniors and kids,” she said, noting the lake would be wheelchair accessible and the roads would be relatively flat.
Merritt Mayor Susan Roline credited Sinclaire as being among the top women flyfishers.
“I think having her in Merritt bodes well for our reputation as a great place for fishing,” she said. “She actually relocated here just for that reason.”
The prize amount could go to fishing classes, which Sinclaire already offers, Roline added.
“I think to encourage young people to get involved in the sport would be a good thing.”
According to Sandy Curnow, manager at the Merritt Baillie House Information Booth, many people visit the Valley to try their angling luck.
“Fishing and camping is one of the more popular things people ask about when they come here,” she said, noting she often hands out information related to Nicola Valley lakes. “We’re close to Vancouver, so this is the first place people hit when they leave the coast.”
But it will take a lot of voting to beat the 48,000 vote lead first-placed Hastings, Ont., has over Merritt’s 250 votes, and 37th placement as of press time.
Spences Bridge is the top B.C. community, ranked 5th with nearly 8,000 votes.
The World Fishing Network website describes Merritt as the “home to prized rainbow and steelhead trout.”
The site credits Nicola Lake as having more than 20 fish species.
“The famous Douglas Lake Ranch has trophy rainbow lakes, and those of Stump Lake are not far.”
Along with the cash prize, the winning community will be featured on WFN. Second place wins $5,000, while third nets $2,500.
To vote for Merritt, visit http://www.worldfishingnetwork.com/uft/town/merritt-bc.
Voting ends May 31.