There is nothing better than spending a sunny Sunday afternoon helping an enthusiastic 5 year old (H) catch his first "dinosaurs". And its a great way to arouse the curiosity of the adolescent boy to tell him he will be fishing for a prehistoric fish.
Having a 10 year old girl (K) and an 18 month old boy (W) along certainly made for an interesting day. The fishing was great, the catching - only so so. But these two little beauties sure made H's day and ours to watch him.
One of the aspects about sturgeon fishing on the Fraser that intrigues most people is the tagging process. The Fraser Valley White Sturgeon Conservation Society has a program that provides a good number of Lower Mainland guides with a scanner, PIT tags and information sheets to record, measure and gain information on our sturgeon population. They are currently building an incredible database on these amazing creatures, and this is going a long way to help ensure we have a healthy population of fish. And, as there is a strict catch and release regulation in effective, this looks to be a sustainable sport fishery for the future.
K helped on Sunday with the tagging process by recording the data on the sheet - tag #, length, girth, condition, and river mile. The first fish we caught was a "virgin" and thus received the gentle (well, you can't be too gentle - they have really tough skin) poke of a needle to insert the tag and give him an official number. Upon scanning fish #2 a number popped up on screen - its amazing that a good number of these small fish have already been caught and tagged. To date, there have been around 40 000 fish tagged, and close to 80 000 scanned. The numbers are mind boggling. And the guides that participate in this program are volunteers, doing it to help a fishery they love. I've heard talk that eventually the database will be available online, so you can take the tag # of the fish you caught, and see when and where it was caught before and how big it was at that time.
Although we had a good number of other hits (including a great one on the fly rod), those were the only two fish to the boat. I haven't been out fishing with many kids before, and it certainly puts a fresh perspective on things. They possess an excitement, enthusiasm and curiosty that many of us start to lose after being involved in fishing for a long time. Sunday was a reminder for me to keep that side of the sport alive.