With sunlight sparkling dozens of small cascades of water, a class of Saanich school children helped release thousands of rainbow trout into the waters of Elk Lake Thursday.
The curious kids were each given a small bucket containing two fish and shown how to gently pour the trout into the shallow waters. For some of the students, there were mixed emotions as the small fish cautiously darted along the shore before escaping into the darker waters of the lake.
“I don’t know if she’ll want to eat fish now,” said Noemi Abejuela, mother of seven-year-old May Galayugo, who named her two trout “Pinky” and “Sally.”
The two were joined by May’s grandmother, Norma Abejuela, who said she had never experienced anything like this in her 73-years.
The students were from Lakeview Christian School, located across the Pat Bay Highway from Elk Lake.
About 2,000 fish were released in what was the first drop of the season on March 8. A total of 7,000 of the catchable fish, each weighing at least 2.25-grams, will be set free into Elk Lake between now and June. Last year, one of the fish caught in the lake had grown to nine pounds.
While the strain is known as Fraser Valley rainbow trout, the fish are from the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery in Duncan.
“The weather is warming up and … we’re busy getting Capital Regional District lakes ready for another great fishing season,” said hatchery manager Brian Martin.
Parents who want help teaching their kids about fishing can sign up for the Learn to Fish program. The first class at Elk Lake is planned for March 18 at the fishing pier. Pre-registration is required but all equipment is provided and participation is by donation. The program is funded, in part, by fees paid for angling licences.
For more information, call 250-361-0732.