For 60 years members of the Otter Valley Fish and Game Club have worked together to preserve nature, and enhance hunting and fishing opportunities in the area around Tulameen.
As the club gets ready to celebrate its anniversary with a community barbecue next month, its leadership is looking for more volunteers to carry on with tradition.
“We aren’t getting any younger and we need some younger blood in there to keep this thing going,” said president Bill Sheppard.
It was William Manion – Sheppard’s grandfather – who started the club in 1959, with his wife Irene.
“They worked diligently over the years in the protection of flora, fauna, water, land and wildlife.”
The club has worked in a variety of areas, helping to develop parks around Otter Lake, organizing shore clean ups, and it even holds a children’s Easter egg hunt each year.
Recently members built docks on two Pike Mountain lakes, and they have plans to install a third one in 2019.
“Primarily that’s for people who don’t have a boat and maybe they have kids and they want to fish. They can go out there and take a lawn chair and fish.”
The focus of the group never strays far from promoting and improving outdoor sport.
“Hunting is not as good as it was 20 years ago,” said Sheppard. “There’s too much poaching and no game warden here now.”
Otter Valley Fish and Game has been lobbying the provincial government to modify hunting regulations, suggesting that a four-point buck season be introduced until herds increase.
As well, said Sheppard, fishing in Otter Lake has deteriorated.
The lake has been overtaken by Pike Minnows, there are fewer trout, and Kokanee have disappeared.
Two weeks ago BC Fisheries introduced 10,000 black trout yearlings into Otter Lake, which ought to reduce the number of Pike Minnows and provide additional game fish in a couple of years.
Sheppard said they are also working on a plan to rebuild the Kokanee spawning beds.
The Otter Valley Fish and Game Club will hold its anniversary party June 30, at the clubhouse, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.