GORE BAY – Students who were in Grade 4 last spring may have missed out on the annual Little Current Fish and Game Club (LCFGC) fishing conservation educational program due to COVID-19. However, the students didn’t miss out on getting a fishing rod and reel, as is normally provided to every student at elementary schools around the Island when the program is held.
Bill Strain, president of LCFGC told the Recorder, “we sent up fishing rods and reels to teacher April Patterson’s Grade 5 class at Charles C. McLean Public School (Gore Bay). Ms. Still, of Little Current, who is the secretary at the school, took all the items up to the school.”
“We have the Grade 4 students from the elementary schools around the Island visit our hatchery ponds every spring, but they couldn’t this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr. Strain. “We normally get between 80-90 students every year and thanks to sponsors we are able to provide each student with a fishing rod and reel at the end of their visit. And with the fishing rods and reels in place for the group of students that weren’t able to visit this past spring it was decided to send them to those students who missed out,” continued Mr. Strain.
“And we have sent DVDs made years ago by the late Bobby Tuomi of the education day to each school so the students can see how the program normally takes place,” said Mr. Strain. “We set up eight or nine education stations and Manitoulin Streams, which participates and has a big hand in the annual program, along with (Rainbow District School Board) trustee Margaret Stringer, who also attends.” He pointed out that in communities like Gore Bay sponsors help out, noting that there are two big sponsors of the program in the town.
“Our student education program has been operating since 2005,” said Mr. Strain. “The purpose of the program is to give the kids an outdoor education, and if we can get kids hooked on fishing it may prevent them from other things, like playing video games all the time or using drugs. Someone once said ‘if you introduce a young person to nature they will get involved in outdoor activities all their life’.”
“It is the hope that by providing a rod and reel, kids will get hooked on fishing,” Mr. Strain added.
Faith, a student at C.C. McLean who received a fishing rod and reel, told the Recorder in an email, “my thoughts about getting the rod and reel are that the (LCGFC) thinks that kids should get outside in the real world and spend less time on screens. I was so happy that I got my own rod and reel. I also like that there were three different colours to pick from. I also like how the fish and game club thought to give us Grade 5s a rod and reel because we missed out on working with the club last year. Thank you Little Current Fish and Game Club.”
“I really appreciate that they gave us fishing rods and now I can use it all day long. I’m so happy,” wrote Alina.
Ronan wrote, “I was surprised when I got the fishing rod because the recess of the day was completely normal. I was so happy because I’ve never had my own fishing rod.”
“It was a very nice thing to do. It will bring lots of happy memories to me. Now I can fish with my dad,” wrote Jack C.
Mr. Strain said the educational program, “fits into the Ontario school curriculum and the Rainbow Board supports it. And the kids are always great and always have a lot of questions.” He added that along with the students at C.C. McLean, Assiginack Public School, Little Current Public School, Central Manitoulin Public School in Mindemoya and Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng First Nation have received fishing rods and reels, and so will Pontiac School in Wiikwemkoong this week.