Part of my role as the Conservation Director for the Ottawa Valley South Bass Masters club is to find ways to pass on knowledge to others on fishing sustainably. What better way to accomplish this than to bring 38 Girl Guides ranging in age from 5 to 17 shore fishing after school.
Management at the Dows Lake Pavilion generously offered up a sizeable discount on the parking next to their facility located on the shores of a small inner city lake, which was formed as a result of the creation of the Rideau Canal system. Sail outdoors offered up the worms, and a dozen OVSBM club members volunteered their time, expertise and a half dozen or so fishing rods each. Species being targeted were panfish, and the technique was float fishing.
Fishing was fast and furious. Each and every girl caught at least one fish, with most catching five or more. 100 night crawlers divided into quarters lasted just long enough – we just had enough.
Mid-way through the event we took a short break from the fishing so we could cover off the instructional component of the evening. I provided a short presentation on the type of fish we were catching and where they fit into the ecosystem. Tips on fish handling were given, and then I turned it over to Julie Charen, a competitive well sponsored member of our club. Julie entertained and informed the girls with stories and explanations of the various types of fishing gear and techniques she uses to catch fish, and provided demonstrations and samples to make the presentation that much more engaging.
The evening fish was the last event of the year for the Girl Guides, and when the parents showed up around 8: p.m. to take them home, it was interesting to hear just how many girls were able to astonish their parents with their impressive catch reports. I have no doubt a number of those parents will be picking up fishing supplies this summer to satisfy their daughter’s requests to go fishing.
A big thanks to Sandra Kuchta and the rest of the Girl Guide leaders for facilitating things at their end. The girls were just a pleasure to fish with. Their enthusiasm for the sport was truly impressive.