Summer is officially here, and with approximately 250,000 lakes, more than 100,000 kilometres of rivers, and nine days of licence-free fishing, there is no better time to be introduced – or re-introduced – to fishing.
Ontario Family Fishing Events (OFFE) is a provincial program that coincides with National Fishing Week (July 4 – 12). Both initiatives are designed to encourage people to get outdoors and experience a pastime that is enjoyed and shared by countless Canadians.
Through Ontario Family Fishing Events, dozens of organized kids’ derbies, family fishing days, and workshops will be held during this licence-free period. Each event offers an opportunity for children and families to share a day on the water, learn to fish, and perhaps even enjoy a little friendly competition.
Although Canadian residents from 18 years to 64 years old are not required to have a licence to participate during OFFE, they do need to follow the regulations of the zone where they are fishing and abide by the catch limits as determined by a conservation licence. Canadian youth under 18 years and residents 65 years and over can fish licence-free all year long.
Fishing can certainly demand patience, but sharing a fishing experience also helps strengthen relationships with family and friends. It can offer a little serenity from the everyday grind, a chance to “unplug” from the bustle of our ever-busy lives, and it can help restore an appreciation for the beauty this country has to offer through something as simple but magnificent as a morning sunrise.
According to Active Healthy Kids Canada, children in this country spend six to seven hours every weekday watching TV, chatting online, or engaging in virtual games, and 75% of children have some form of electronic device in their bedrooms. By introducing kids to fishing, we are fostering awareness and encouraging a sense of responsibility in the future stewards of our natural resources. We are also getting them to spend more time outside.
Leslie-Anne Dungog, who has been taking her son fishing with her for the past three years, says getting outdoors is a way for them to unwind from life in the city.
A student-turned-instructor with the Fishing 101 for Women program, Dungog’s increased confidence in her abilities as an angler has led her to share her passion for fishing with other women as well as her son. The Fishing 101 for Women program provides learning opportunities for women interested in recreational fishing and encourages participants to involve their children, too.
“Part of the fun is the adventure, even before we reach our destination,” she says.
“That could mean stopping for ice cream or finding a baby painted turtle on the bank and following it around. These are just reminders for me that being outdoors is always time well spent and catching a fish is a bonus.”