Aksel Palshoj may not have been the youngest angler, but the 16 year old definitely travelled the furthest to be at Saturday’s ice fishing extravaganza, 7,504 kilometres to be exact.
A resident of Copenhagen, Denmark, Palshoj is actually here as a Rotary Club exchange student.
“I’m out here ice fishing on Yellow Lake and this is really a lot of fun,” said Palshoj, sitting on a small chair with other young people, parents and grandchildren sitting around the many holes cut in the ice. “I’ve never heard of anyone at home doing this, it’s not too cold as compared to here.
Local angling clubs once again joined with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., the B.C. Wildlife Federation, as well as the Provincial Fish and Game Branch, to teach the art of ice fishing no charge.
Tanya Laird of the society greeted those arriving at the lake with fishing rods, bait and plenty of good advice for catching what proved to be very elusive catch of the day.
“Ice fishing is a great sport to introduce kids and families to,” said Laird. “You don’t need a lot of gear you don’t need a boat, you’ve got full access to the lake so it’s easy to catch fish with just the basic setup.
“The kids love it, you know if they’re not catching fish and they’re looking for something to do they can build a snowman and then come back to fishing, it’s a pretty exciting sport.”
But apart from just being fun, the society has an ulterior motive for wanting to get young people out on the ice.
“We want to connect kids with nature,” she said. “The most important thing is creating these future stewards of the resources. We want people to grow up with the love of nature so that one day in the future if something is at risk, it’s these kids who fish the lake maybe when they were little, they’re going to be the ones to fight for that resource and really be advocates of it.”
Joshua Whitlock was another of the estimated 150 young people who came out to try their hand at fishing.
“Well my dad mentioned this place so me and my brothers thought we may as well come out here and try it, so here we are ice fishing,” he said. “Never been ice fishing before, but I have been lake fishing and even if you don’t catch any fish it’s fun to try.”
Longtime zone chair Rick Simpson of the B.C. Wildlife Federation was on hand for his fourth ice fishing introduction.
“Have a look around, all the little people,” he said motioning with his arms. “We hear overwhelming positives: ‘it’s the first time I’ve ever been,’ and it’s not a hardship, you have food, you have hot chocolate and you have all these huts so if they want to get out of the elements they can do that.
“It’s grass roots community effort. The ratio (children to adults) is usually about two thirds and that’s what we’re after, to get those young people fired up.”
As in the past years the Cawston Keremeos Sportsmen Association played a big role in making the day possible.