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It's National Fishing Week! How Can Families Make the Most of It?

With license-free fishing and plenty of resources on offer, fishing is a great way for families to bond and spend time in the Great Outdoors.

During the Ontario’s annual Free Family Fishing Week (June 30 – July 8, 2018), anglers of all skill levels and experience are encouraged to share the benefits of fishing with a son, daughter, niece, nephew, significant other, or family friend, license-free in Northeastern Ontario. By enjoying a few priceless moments on the water with family and friends, we help foster and promote an interest in Ontario sport fishing—exactly what Family Fishing Week is all about!

Fact: According to the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (2010), 2.2 million+ people in Canada participated in recreational fishing, with Ontario boasting the highest number of active anglers at nearly 925,000 strong!

License-Free fishing

From June 30 until July 8, residents of Ontario are encouraged to plan a day of fishing on the nearest stream, pond, river, or lake with family and friends. As a way of reminding folks the recreational value of our freshwater fishery, the Province of Ontario waves the fishing license requirement for this period each summer (as well as Family Day Weekend in February).

Note: Anglers must still abide by the limits set out by the Conservation permit fishing license and any other regulations. This includes size limits and protected sanctuaries. Click here to visit the 2018 Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary.

Building skills & Character

Then and now: Author Jeff Morrison has been a lifelong angler.

In my experience, fishing as a family is a character-building experience. Growing-up in an angling family and in a community where fishing was a way of life, it was normal to call up a friend and head off to the lake for the day.

I learned many life lessons in those early days and though I did not realize it at the time, I was being taught skills such as responsibility, navigation, and building relationships. Fishing can build character and foster personal growth through the care and nurturing of wild creatures, and the understanding principles of conservation. Tasks as simple as baiting a hook or releasing a fish are important skills. Personally, fishing has taught me more about life than any other activity I can think of.

Stress Relief

The author's father fishes off the bow on an unknown lake.

In our busy day-to-day lives, an unexpected trip to the lake or river has the benefit of being the ultimate stress reliever. Fishing provides a relaxing yet technically challenging activity that gives the participant an opportunity to forget the outside world for a few moments, and enjoy time with a family member in a fantastic outdoor landscape.

Most weekends in the summer my wife, daughters, and I spend time at our trailer in the Upper Ottawa Valley. We cast and troll for pike and bass and spend long peaceful hours of fishing on our lake. It’s the most relaxing activity I can think of.

Teaching Conservation

Bigger isn't always better—every bite can be a thrill for a new angler.

Perhaps the most important benefit of fishing is the preservation of our natural heritage and traditions. Fishing has been a mainstay of our natural heritage since the beginning, and to keep this activity alive is of great benefit to every Ontario resident. Our history and heritage has always been heavily based on our renewable natural resources, and it is of benefit to us and to our children to ensure conservation and fishing has a solid, sustainable future.

Resource: New to fishing? Use this resource to learn how to properly hold and handle fish!

Supporting Strong Local Economies

Angling can be a solo activity, done in families, or with groups of friends. However you choose to fish, it's always time well spent.

Sport fishing has a huge impact on the economy as well, with over 1.25 million licensed anglers in Ontario who spend over $2 billion dollars combined each year. Fishing equipment and supplies, guiding and outfitting services, bait and tackle sales, professional and recreational angling clubs, to name a few, all contribute to thriving local economies across Northeastern Ontario.

Funds generated from fishing license sales, for example, are directed to managing the fish and fish habitat we enjoy so much. Though it may not be a motivating factor for us to take-up the sport, economic impact is an important by-product of a strong angling industry.

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Have we convinced you yet? Read here for more information on Family Fishing Week activities. We hope to see you and your family on the water this summer!

About Jeff Morrison

Jeff Morrison is an award-winning outdoor writer, book author, and nationally-syndicated newspaper and magazine columnist.

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