I had been nervous all day.
This was to be the first “Hooked on Yukon Fishing” event of many this summer. Susan and I had planned a public event at Hidden Lakes where we were going to release 20,000 Rainbow Trout fry.
Usually Susan, the Fisheries Management biologist for Department of Environment, and members of the Yukon Fish and Game Association haul the 20 or so large jugs of fry over the hill by themselves. This time, we wanted to invite as many residents as possible to assist with this special task.
My nervousness stemmed from not knowing if anyone would show up. I felt so honoured to be part of this community fishing program that I wanted it to be an incredible success.
Within a half hour of showing up at our rendezvous point, the Whitehorse Fish Ladder was full of cars and people. It was an incredible turnout with a diverse crowd of keen people.
In a large, dusty procession we snaked our way along Chadburn Road to the Hidden Lakes parking lot.
After some instruction from Susan, we were on our way hiking along a small trail to the lake. It was fitting to be surrounded by trees, in the prime of nature, connected and walking our fish to their new home.
People slowly spread out along the lake shore, all looking for that perfect spot to release their fry. I took note of the care exhibited by some of the smaller children as they opened the large jugs, filled them with lake water and gently poured the fry into the lake.
Thanks to these caring individuals, there is a new generation of fish in Hidden Lakes for us to enjoy.
After the event, my two boys made it perfectly clear they were not ready to go home and wanted to fish. We returned to the lake shore where the thousands of fry started to spread out. We made sure to not disturb these new residents and marched farther down the lake.
From there, the boys and I set up our rod with a floating Powerbait and split-shot and cast it as far as we could. After a short period of trial and error, we had a feisty Rainbow Trout tugging at the end of our line.
The boys were dancing and hollering as I brought the fish in. My older son is always so enchanted by fish when they come out of the water. With fascination only a child could possess, he stares at it and touches every part of them.
After the examination, he held the fish up high and in a sincere voice said, “This fish is beautiful”. My son doesn’t talk much at the best of times and he chooses his words carefully.
Pride swelled up inside me because I knew he meant it and he “got it”.
We had spent the evening first releasing these beautiful little fry and then closing the loop by catching and keeping one. This is what fishing with kids is all about.
If you would like to share your fishing story, or hear more about this one, visit Dennis Zimmermann’s Yukon fishing blog at www.fishonyukon.com.
PHOTO: DENNIS ZIMMERMANN