SOUTH GLENGARRY, Ontario – Families filled the banks surrounding Gray’s Creek as the Raisin River Conservation Authority (RRCA) hosted the 18th Annual Family Fishing Day on July 5.
Family Fishing Day provided a range of activities for families, including a fishing tournament, face painting and a barbecue. “It’s really a great day to get your family out and enjoy the warm weather and be a part of a community,” said Lisa Van De Ligt, a communications specialist with the RRCA.
The event takes place on the Friday of License Free Fishing Week and provided fishing equipment to participants, including rods and tackle.
“We make a point of hosting it when during this week so that anyone can fish,” said Van De Ligt. “You don’t need a license this week, you don’t need your own gear here, you just have to want to come out and fish.”
With around 150 to 200 participants expected the fishing tournament had a variety of prizes for anglers 16 and under, including the largest fish caught, the smallest fish caught, the most fish caught, and the most invasive species caught. Teaching about invasive species is an important topic of the day, according to Van De Ligt.
“It’s to teach about sustainable fishing practices: how to properly catch and release the fish, Which fish to avoid, and what to do when you catch an invasive fish,” said Van De Ligt.
Teaching young anglers what to do when they catch an invasive species, such as a gobies, is “important to keep the sport sustainable,” said Lissa Deslandes, a community liaison with the RRCA.
“With so many invasive species being caught, informing the next generation on how to handle it is incredibly important, so they can enjoy fishing for a long time,” said Deslandes.
The RRCA is also hosting Take Action: Become a River Keeper, where participants can learn to identify invasive species, threatened and endangered species, and will also learn to kayak on July 17, according to Deslandes.