Buckeyes Angling Club Report
By Tim Au
On Friday June 3rd, 24 students from the Miles Macdonell Angling Club braved high winds and a forecast of rain to take part in our 7th annual Buckeyes Fishing for a Cure derby.
The day started off with a slight drizzle and the fish were being cooperative right from the starting signal and first cast after 9am. The Miles Mac students caught, measured and released 32 fish during the derby. These were low numbers in comparison to past years due to the low water levels.
The students fished throughout the day, and through some heavy rain, but their spirits remained high.
A big thanks to the students as they cleaned the riverbank 1-2 times per week in May on the Red River in Lockport and packing garbage bags full of litter. It was a great educational piece for the students, to see how through their efforts cleaning, the riverbanks can look much different from when they first arrived.
It was also educational to see the impact of returning to their fishing spots to see more litter left behind.
Our program began with weekly classroom sessions held over the lunch hours which involved topics about the environment, water stewardship, conservation, Manitoba fisheries and species, as well as the economic and environmental impact and concerns that recreational fishing has on our province.
We interacted with guest speakers such as Mr. Graeme Smith, a Natural resource officer with Manitoba Conservation. Mr. Smith educated us on some of the new regulations in place this year as well as how our government was able to dedicate an area by Lockport as a special Pelican sanctuary.
We have learned as a group, about some of the dangers of used fishing line left on the shores and how it could harm or cause death to these majestic birds.
The students were excited to put forth all of our knowledge that we learnt in the classroom and spend two evenings a week from the beginning of fishing season until the first week of June fishing, building new relationships, and enjoying the great outdoors. We caught and released walleye, carp, bullhead, freshwater drum, goldeye, channel catfish as well as a unique catch from the Red River, a Lake Sturgeon.
When one of our students caught the Lake Sturgeon, a boat of Fish biologists from the University of Nebraska witnessed our catch and came by to inspect the fish. We were able to watch the biologists care for, tag, and insert a tracking device into the Sturgeon.
As we conversed with these grad students from down south, they shared with us briefly the channel catfish study that they are currently doing, tracking the movement patterns of the channel catfish. They shared that some catfish that they caught and tagged in Grand Forks, ND were recaptured in Lockport, MB.
In addition to catching fish, and cleaning the riverbanks, our club dedicates our derby to fundraise for a special cause. Together, we used our power as a group to fundraise and give back to charities in need. Our mandate in our club was for those who were able to, to seek pledges from friends and family for the amount of fish caught during our derby. This year, we raised over $1500 with our annual Buckeyes Fishing for a Cure derby. Our club will be donating a portion to the Kids Fishing for Cure foundation (Cancercare) as well as a few other charities that we will be deciding upon as a group.