Provincial Rod and Reel Program
Since 1992 Angling Educator Don Lamont, in conjunction with various stakeholder groups, has been visiting communities and schools in Manitoba to talk fishing and the message of stewardship.
In 2002 the program was expanded to include the purchase of rods, reels and terminal tackle to be left in the communities that were visited. Were possible a hot lunch was also provided to the students of the various schools visited as well as staff. In many cases this donation proved to be a catalyst that brought families and communities together in a leisure time activity that could be enjoyed by all.
Garry Gurke, owner of Nueltin Lake Lodge, had heard of these school visits and decided to volunteer both time and money to expand the program to remote northern regions of Manitoba. Gurke first initiated the program by offering a trip to be auctioned at the 2002 Fish Futures banquet. He along with his son Shawn have offered a trip each year, with the money raised to be used to visit northern and central Manitoba communities. In February, 2012 Fish Futures signed an agreement with Manitoba Hydro to support the program and expand it into larger communities in the north. Other funding sources have contributed to the program since that time. These include Fish Futures, the Fisheries Enhancement Fund, Calm Air, Perimeter Airlines, Gardewine and Sysco Food Systems.
In 2012, the program, headed by Don Lamont, visited the communities of Cross Lake, Norway House and Grand Rapids. In total 800 rods and reels were delivered in total to these communities.
This past week Lamont along with Carmen Hebert from Manitoba Hydro visited
Chemawawin/Easterville Elementary and Junior High. Three different presentations were given to the Grade 4 to 8 classes. Close to 200 rods and reels were left with the students so they can fish all summer long.
This project is designed to interest and engage youth, not only with the sport of fishing but with the waters that flow through many of the northern communities. All have easy access to good fishing, often times right out their front door.
Next week, Lamont with support from staff at Manitoba Hydro, will be visiting the communities of Split Lake, York Factory, Gillam and Fox Lake.