The Association has a trout pond on its property where members, school groups and the general public (on special occasions) can cast or fly fish for stocked Rainbow trout. The Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. stocks the pond with fish from their Duncan trout hatchery a few times a year. The Victoria Fish & Game supports the efforts of Go fish B.C. in introducing angling to beginners by providing the pond for their use on several occasions throughout the year. The trout pond is heavily used during the Family Fishing Weekend held each year on the Father’s Day weekend in June. The pond is typically stocked with about a hundred trout on the Saturday. Children participate by bucketing fish from the hatchery truck and releasing them into the nearby pond. Fishing is usually by casting a bobber and worm or fishing power bait off the bottom. Our pond fishing policy is normally catch and release. The exception is cases where a fish gets injured when caught, and should be kept. Parents are to decide whether a fish should be kept or released. When fish are taken from the property, a fishing licence is required. Children 15 and under do not need licences – fresh or salt water – but must abide by all other regulations.
The Victoria Fish & Game conducts an annual fishing competition among its members for fish caught in various species categories. Trophies are awarded for the largest coho salmon, chinook salmon, halibut and trout. In addition, the junior angler with the best quality catch of any species is recognized as the ‘junior fisherman of the year’.
The competition runs from January 01 to December 31 each year and trophies are awarded at the Annual General Meeting in March of the following year. Eligible waters include the waters of, and surrounding, Vancouver Island only. Entries must be received by the committee chairman within a month of catch date. Entries must include species of fish, weight of fish (in pounds and ounces), date caught, area caught, anglers’ name, age of angler (if junior member), and membership number. Catch and release entries are accepted, both where catch and release is mandatory under either the freshwater (Provincial) or saltwater (Federal) regulations or where the angler chooses catch and release as his or her angling option.
Due to increasingly more restrictive regulations imposed by the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) for tidal waters angling and by the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations for non-tidal waters, the VFGPA Annual Fishing Competition has been cancelled for 2018. The number of entries previously received has been declining for a number of years due, in part, to the imposition of these regulations. Despite increasing Club membership, the percentage of both anglers and hunters has been declining as well.
Amalgamated Conservation Society
The Amalgamated Conservation Society represents the organized anglers of southern Vancouver Island. Membership currently consists of 10 associations as follows:
- Clover Point Anglers’ Association
- Esquimalt Anglers’ Association
- Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association
- Haig-Brown Flyfishing Association
- James Bay Anglers’ Association
- Royal Canadian Navy Anglers’ Association
- Sidney Anglers’ Association
- Victoria Fish & Game Protective Association
- Victoria Golden Rods & Reels
- Westcoast Flyfishers Association
Each member association is entitled to send three voting delegates to monthly meetings which are held September through June.
The ACS has operated continuously since 1954 when it was known as the Amalgamated Lower Islands Sportsmen’s Association. The name was officially changed in 1963 and the Amalgamated Conservation Society was largely responsible for the formation of the Sport Fishing Advisory Board in 1964. The Victoria Fish & Game has input to issues affecting sport fishing through the local Victoria Sport Fishing Advisory Committee which was formed in 1996 and which meets at least twice a year.
Victoria Fish & Game volunteers and others within ACS member associations pioneered small stream public involvement projects in aid of salmonid enhancement in the early 1970’s – years before the advent of the Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) in 1976. Direction from the early years until 1990 came from enhancement pioneer, and VFGPA member, Howard English. To replace the dedicated enhancement efforts of Howard English who passed away in 1991, the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association was formed. The GVSEA operates the Howard English Goldstream Hatchery under the umbrella of the ACS. Victoria Fish & Game members have volunteered, and continue to do so, at the hatchery.
Members of the Victoria Fish & Game were instrumental in rehabilitating an old fish counting fence on Colquitz River in 2001. Working in partnership with Saanich Parks and the Coastal Enterprise Resource Cooperative Association (CERCA), the VFGPA sought and received funding to rebuild the fish counting fence. The fence was originally built in 1973 under provincial funding as a searun cutthroat trout monitoring facility. Around 1984 the fence was no longer being monitored or maintained and fell into disrepair. The VFGPA received a grant of $22,850 from the provincial Urban Salmon Habitat Program (USHP). The counting fence was unveiled to the public at the official project opening on November 24, 2001. Frank Leonard, Mayor of Saanich, attended on behalf of the municipality.was unveiled to the public at the official project opening on November 24, 2001. Frank Leonard, Mayor of Saanich, attended on behalf of the municipality.
The current site of the Colquitz fish counting fence is less than ideal due to the tidal influence which exists there and the fact that on several days each fall the fence and surrounding area are under water due to flooding caused by heavy rainfall. Under these conditions, fish in the trap box cannot be accessed. Stress on the spawning salmon and associated mortality are concerns that have been identified by the former DFO Community Advisor for southern Vancouver Island. In addition, recent years have seen seals at the downstream side of the fence. Unnecessary predation and harassment of salmon at the fence are additional concerns which need addressing.
Effective March 2018, the Esquimalt Anglers’ Association have taken over operation, maintenance and title for the Colquitz River fish counting fence. The EAA have also operated the Craigflower Creek fish counting fence since the early 1990’s. Please contact the Esquimalt Anglers’ if you wish to assist with the operation of either facility.