Category Archives: Programs

Homegrown Worms: An Angler’s Guide

Bait, it’s one of those things where you can never be too picky. I am not a big bait fisherman; however, I do understand that some days bait is the only way to go. I used to buy worms by the dozen from my local tackle shop. They would work, but it almost seemed like the fish were used to the scent and look of the worms. After looking into alternative bait options, I decided I would start my own small-scale worm farm.

I should mention that I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my fiancé. Imagine trying to convince your fiancé, significant other, or roommate to be okay with having tenants of this sort in such a small space! It took a bit of convincing, but I got her onboard in the end. After doing some research on containers, habitat, food, climate and harvest, I felt comfortable enough to get my ‘farm’ up and running.

The most common question I get is, how do you reduce the smell? What most people don’t realise is a healthy worm farm should not stink, it should have a very neutral smell. If it stinks, you are doing something wrong.

How to build your own worm farm:

IMG-0846I went to Canadian Tire to buy two Rubbermaid containers. I drilled hundreds of 1.5mm holes all over the bottom of 1 rubber maid and placed it into the other container. This allows the liquid to drain from the top bin into the bottom bin, which prevents the worms from drowning. I drilled more holes into the lid and the top third of the container to allow air flow. This reduces temperature, smell and increases the oxygen levels.

Once this was done, I put a 5-inch-thick base layer of shredded moist newspaper in the worm farm. I went to PetSmart and bought a couple dozen worms. They quickly reproduced, enjoying a diet of plant based green waste and a few egg cartons every now and then.

Feeding your worms:

IMG-0845During the colder, winter months the worms go a bit dormant, but you still need to supply them with food. Typically, I will feed them once a week during the winter. As the temperature increases and the worms become a bit more active you should start feeding them twice a week or when the food is all eaten-up. Worms can go a couple of weeks without food, but like most living things they will eventually starve if they don’t get any sustenance.

It is important to supplement their diets with finely crushed egg shells and corn meal from time to time to increase their size and fatten them up for fishing. It is imperative to not overfeed them. Worms can eat about half their body mass in one day. You will quickly know if you have over fed them if you see food rot and smell foul odours.

Tip: If you freeze your food waste before feeding it to the worms, it will reduce the chance of getting fruit flies.  

IMG-0844I have had great success with my home grown red-wiggler worms. As soon as you string them on the hook you can smell a stronger and more aromatic scent compared to the regular store-bought worms. The strong, hearty smell, plus the bright red color of these worms, make them an irresistible bait for many fish.

I highly recommend you try this at home!

Our next Reel Fishing workshops are April 27 – 28, May 25 – 26 and June 22 – 23. Register for this hands-on angler education course today –> Click Here

~Tobias Roehr

Ice Fishing the Fishing Highway

5 am, alarm goes off. I think to myself, “should I hit snooze, or sleep in?” at the same time I remember that feeling when a fish takes my bait and I pull it up through the ice, so I get out of bed. My friends and I have three short days in Clearwater, BC to explore the ‘Fishing Highway’.

IMG-0835I begin the process of gearing up for a day on the ice. Starting off by going over my packing list:

  • Long johns, base layer, wool sweater, snow pants and snow jacket
  • Gloves, toque, heat pockets, snow boots and sunglasses
  • Ice auger, ice scoop, depth sounder
  • Fishing rod and reel
  • Flasher, flutter spoon, UV rattle spoon, UV jigs and split shots.
  • Bait: shrimp, and homegrown live worms
  • Camp chair, BBQ, hotdogs, water and a thermos of hot coffee

Feeling ready, I grab some breakfast, start warming up the car and we make the drive to our fishing spot for the day. Arriving at the lake we load up the sled and trek through the snow on to 14 inches of ice. A tingly feeling jolts through me as the excitement of ice fishing builds. There is something about boating on a lake one season and walking on it the next that exhibits a true Canadian experience for me.

Finding our spot, we begin to unload and use our hand auger to drill the first hole. Using a hand auger to drill through 14 inches of ice is exhausting and never fun, but with the excitement of fishing in mind we make it through quickly. All set and baited up the first IMG-0836line drops, BOOM! Instantly my friend yells “FISH ON!”. In disbelief I watch her pull up a beautiful 12-inch rainbow trout. Excited by the prospect of more to come she releases this one. We check the fish finder to see that fish are being read at 5ft., 10ft., 14ft. all the way down to 30ft. Soon after, a double header for my friend and I. After that the hits continued to come fast and furious. By the time lunch rolled around we had nearly reached our possession limit of fifteen, five trout each. After a quick bite to eat we got back to it and reached our limit for the day. We packed up the sled hauled back to the truck to make the drive back into town.

Reflecting on the day I was happy how well the gear I brought worked. The UV flasher with a UV jig underneath it proved its success yet again. Even though there is a large amount of sunlight penetrating the ice I prefer using UV flashers and jigs. ‘Shiny’ flashers do not give off a great sparkle under the ice. UV reflecting flashers on the other hand are designed to ‘glow’ in conditions with low direct sunlight where ultraviolet light can still reach. These flashers or jigs have a specially formulated pigment that reflects ultraviolet light giving them a ‘glow’. This will attract fish from a further distance as well as induce a strike. When bait fishing for trout I like using natural baits when possible, always check regulations. In my experience the scent and visual effect natural bait gives off proves to be superior over most plastic baits.

Now, off to the smoker to smoke some fresh trout to enjoy during the weeks to come.

I like to use this recipe, per 1 lbs of trout. The cayenne pepper gives the sweet tasting fish a bit of a spicy kick.

  • 3 cups of brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Want to enhance your fishing skills? Sign up today for Reel Fishing, click here!

~Tobias Roehr

 

Great Canadian Giving Challenge

DSCN6368Summer is such a wonderful time in Canada – great weather and longer days mean more fun outdoor activities, weekends away, BBQs and much more. It’s easy for Canadians to forget to support their favourite charities and causes. To help save charities coast-to-coast from the summer-giving drought, CanadaHelps and The GIV3 Foundation have launched the fourth annual Great Canadian Giving Challenge. 

It is a national public contest to benefit any registered Canadian charity. Every $1 donated to a registered charity in Junevia CanadaHelps.org or GivingChallenge.ca, automatically enters the charity to win an additional $10,000 donation. The grand prize draw is on Canada Day and one lucky charity will receive the grand prize of $10,000.

If the BCWF was to win the $10,000 prize from the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, the funds would go towards the two youth summer programs we offer. The prize would allow us to expand these excellent programs to additional locations across BC, to a greater number of kids who would benefit from the experience while keeping the cost of our camps low to make the experience affordable.

In the last two decades, increases in technology and indoor entertainment have impacted the way children play and learn with many activities moving indoor.  Many outdoor childhood activities are not as accessible like they were in the past, and kids are missing out on vital outdoor activities that are essential to healthy childhood development.

The BCWF’s two youth summer programs, Wild Kidz Camps and Go Wild! Youth for Conservation, are designed to get kids outside to learn about the environment around them. Education is the critical difference that make our camps such a success that we have a 80% return rate. We believe that if we teach kids to care about the natural habitat around them, they grow up to teach their children to do the same.

WILD KIDZ PHOTOThe future of British Columbia’s natural habitat relies on educating the public – especially today’s youth – about sustainable management of our natural resources including fish, wildlife, and habitat. With more and more of BC’s natural resources at risk, it is imperative that we inspire future generations to care enough to speak up for fish and wildlife or to even choose occupations that help make a difference.

By providing hands-on educational experiences, the BCWF gives our youth opportunities to interact with the outdoors in new ways, providing them with lasting impressions on their important role in conservation efforts. BCWF Youth Camps are not only a fun experience, they help educate and inspire the conservationists and biologists of tomorrow.

Make your donations go further with Canada Helps starting June 1st! If you care to donate, please follow the link to our donation page through Canada Helps: http://bit.ly/donatetobcwf

Teaching youth responsible fishing and hunting

Brian Atherton has been the president of the Smithers Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club for the past 4 years. The club is approaching 94 years and in the past has been active in activities such as stocking lakes and introducing Pheasants into the wild. They have worked with several outfits, including the BC Wildlife Federation, to promote conservation and safe, ethical, and responsible fishing and hunting.

For the past three years, Brian has spearheaded several programs to get the youth in the community involved in the Rod and Gun Club and to learn about safe gun use. As president, Brian wanted to make the Rod and Gun Club a fun and safe place to be. He wanted to create a safe learning environment that parents could bring their children to and know that they would be led by responsible people.

Here are a few initiatives Brian has worked on with several other volunteers at the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club in Smithers.

School involvement:

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Students learning to trap shoot.

In Brian’s second year as president of the club, he started reaching out to several local high schools to have the students try out trap and .22 rifle shooting. Hunting and fishing are the cultural norm in Smithers so these programs were well received by the school board, principal, outside educators, parents and students. The club has also hosted .22 rifle shooting programs with the Wet’suwet’en First Nations high school. On one occasion the club brought Pan-American games gold medal trap winner and ladies trap shooting event from Alberta to do work with the high school students in preparation for a trap shooting event.

Girl Guides:

In the summer of 2017 the Girl Guides of BC had their SOAR (Spirit of Outdoor Adventure Rondevu). This event brought over 2,000 Girl Guides to Smithers. The Rod and Gun Club was able to take 150 of the girls and showed them how to shoot .22 rifle and trap, they saw how a trapper skinned and mounted a marten on a board, and the girls helped with some projects around the club property. In April, the Rod and Gun club will be hosting a regional Girl Guide event.

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Girl Guides 2017 Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous at the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club.

.22 Rifle and Trap Shoot:

During the winter months the Club runs an indoor .22 rifle shoot for youth once a week. The club is able to host as many as 10 kids at a time. They put an emphasis on teaching the kids safe, responsible, and ethical use of firearms in the indoor environment. Currently the club is starting a youth trap shooting program. This comes after a generous donation from a club member of 7 brand new shotguns. The club is working on subsidizing the cost of shells in order to make this program affordable for youth. Brian hopes through this new program they can teach youth how to shoot trap and get them involved in competitions, while building an enjoyment for the sport.

Other Events:

Family Fishing day is always a big event. Volunteers take youth out to the local lake to show them how to bait a hook and cast a line. The club also hosts an annual Easter egg hunt. This years egg hunt is not cancelled, but will be delayed due to snow.

What the Future Holds:

Brian says he’s recently been contacted by a local elementary school with a request to bring in  grade 6 and 7 students to learn about .22 riflery. A program is in the works to educate the elementary students on proper gun safety. In addition, the club is looking into putting together a willow hinging project for moose habitat on crown land. This project will hopefully help the moose populations, which have drastically decreased.  Brian hopes down the road the club can do more programs in the way of conservation and restoration in order to echo the club’s motto: Protect to Enjoy.

Brian says their goal with these programs is to offer youth an opportunity to not be intimidated and to have a chance to get into a sport that members at the Rod and Gun Club find enjoyable.

“As I sit back as club president and reflect on, are we doing a good job in terms of what we’re offering our members and what we’re offering the community, I feel quite comfortable that we are offering something very solid in terms of introducing and enforcing safe, responsible, ethical use of firearms, whether it is in sport shooting or hunting.”

Brian says all of these initiatives aren’t without the support of the community. Local sporting goods store, Outdoor Essentials donates all the ammunition for the .22 rifle shooting programs and they also donated two firearms to the club. McBike and Sport of Smithers also assist the club’s activities. Parents and club members invest a lot of money to support the youth programs. Not to mention, the dedicated volunteers who give hundreds of hours of their time to make these programs possible.

“All volunteer organizations are built on the backs of the members and the enthusiasm, energy and dedication of the members, so the more of those we can get the more that we can do.”

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~By Cheyenne Bergenhenegouwen