VOHRINGER: Tourism Merritt promotes ice fishing

By on January 12, 2017
Fishing in style. (Herald files)


(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that the Tourism Merritt website had mistakenly listed Jan. 1 as the date of the ice fishing derby. That detail has since been removed. As stated on the Tourism Merritt website, the ice fishing derby will be held on Jan. 15.)

Tourism Merritt and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC have teamed up to promote ice fishing in the Nicola Valley region. In December 2016, the society donated ice fishing rods that can be loaned for the day at the Baillie House. The aim with this program is to introduce more people, especially families, to fishing as wholesome recreational outdoor activities that can be enjoyed as a family.

For people that are new to fishing, or thinking of taking up fishing, there is no better time to try it than in winter when the lakes are frozen over with a thick layer of ice. This makes access very easy with minimal equipment. All you really need is a fishing rod, bait and a tool to make a hole in the ice. No boat is required and no worries about small children falling into water. Just walk out on the ice, drill a hole in the ice and start fishing.

Of course it is not quite that easy to catch a fish under the ice. The angler who knows where the fish are in the lake at different times of a given day and what bait the fish prefer over others has a clear advantage over the angler that lacks that knowledge. However don’t let that stop you from giving it a try. There are always experienced anglers on the ice who are willing to assist you with tips and advice.

On that note, on Jan. 15 the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club (NVFGC) will hold their annual ice fishing derby at Mamette Lake. The derby starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. Entry fees are $15 per person and youth 16-years-old and younger are free. There are many cash and good prizes to be won for the best three trout caught, plus many door prizes.

This is the fifteenth year the club will host the ice fishing derby and it has become a popular mainstay winter event attended by anglers from far and wide. If you want to try out ice fishing with your family, take advantage of the ice fishing rod loan program at the Baillie House and then plan to attend the NVFGC ice fishing derby – it is that easy to try out ice fishing.

You do not have to spend money on fishing equipment and you will be surrounded by experienced anglers willing to help you with advice on how to catch your first fish. But we warned, once you start fishing you’re hooked for life, but that is a good thing. Anything you can enjoy as a family is good, and if it is outdoors it’s even better.

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