Catching a Memory

Story by Craig Brown – Information Officer at the Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Information Centre

Family Day long weekend has always been one of my favorites. It’s prime time to get out and see what Alberta’s winter landscape has to offer. My family has a tradition of coming together and doing something we wouldn’t normally do. Last year the usual ideas were thrown around. Skiing? Tobogganing? Skating? Then, someone suggested fishing.

Fishing in February seemed like an adventure but created even more questions. What did we need to know? What regulations would need to be followed? Would we need a licence?

The first thing I discovered was that since Family Day long weekend coincides with Alberta’s Family Fishing Weekend – no licence is required!


Having never been ice fishing before I needed to find some quick instruction, preferably with some visuals – YouTube.  With one quick search I came across a great video from Bow Habitat Station in Calgary.  I learned a lot of important stuff watching this video including:

  • Colour of strong ice;
  • Safe thickness of ice for walking (10 cm) and driving (38 cm);
  • How to augur out the hole; and
  • How to properly release a fish.

Fishing is a fun way to spend time with your family but it can be expensive if you don’t have the right equipment. This is what makes Family Fishing Weekend so wonderful! Many associations that hold events during the weekend provide equipment and give people an opportunity to try the sport for free.

Ice fishing shack posting Feb 19, 2010 006

One thing that is important is responsibility while fishing. This is why there are regulations in place. Information includes what you need to know about licencing, size and catch limits and dates where certain bodies of water are closed to fishing.

There are events happening in many areas of the province that provide opportunities to learn about the sport and see if it’s something you would want to pursue. The Alberta Conservation Association is a great place to contact regarding events in your area.

While my family didn’t catch any fish on our Family Day long weekend adventure, we caught laughter, fun, togetherness – we were able to catch a memory that will last a lifetime. So why not go out and catch a memory of your own? If you would like to share those memories with us, please post some photos on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #FFW2015

Whether you ice fish, attend one of the many events around the province or do something unique to your family, I hope everyone has a safe and fun Family Day weekend.

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