It may have been drizzling, but nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of Telkwa elementary schoolchildren.
After waiting an extra hour for a truck delayed by traffic, the Telkwa school children finally had the opportunity to help the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. stock Tyhee Lake with 20,000 rainbow trout fry raised in the Clearwater, B.C. hatchery.
They lined up, in single file, barely able to contain themselves, as Dave Ek, fish culturist with FFSBC, filled small white buckets with water and a handful of rainbow trout fry.
The children took their white buckets to the dock at Tyhee Lake and poured the contents of their buckets over the side into the lake, some slowly and tentatively like first-time parents, enjoying the thrill of the moment.
Others poured their buckets with little ceremony, anxious to get back in line for a fill up.
No matter the technique, everyone was smiling and learning.
The smiles were exactly what their teacher Janna Delany wanted to see.
“We celebrate all we’ve learned,” Delany said.
For Delany, the opportunity to participate in the stocking of Tyhee Lake is a fun way to help students put into context what they learned in class.
Over the course of the year, Delany’s students participated in the salmonid enhancement program and raised coho salmon.
The project, Delany said, teaches the children about the life cycle of salmon and other fish, as well as the importance of their habitat, their food, and water conservation.
To top off the learning experience, Delany’s students took two field trips, first to release the salmon they raised and another to help release the rainbow trout.
Tyhee Lake is one of several hundred lakes across the province the FFSBC stocks as part of their mandate to promote fish conservation and management, research and, most importantly this morning, public education, Ek explained.
This year marked the 12th visit in as many years by the FFSBC to Tyhee Lake.
The FFSBC uses one-year-old rainbow trout of the blackwater strain, explained Ek, because they are better able to deal with predation pressure from pike and other fish in the lake.
Once the children had their fill of pouring trout into the lake, Ek connected a large hose to his truck to release the remaining thousands of trout fry.
The students gathered on one side of the dock, the dock sinking under their weight.
But wet feet or not, they stood and cheered
in amazement as trout
fry gushed by the thousands out of the end of the hose.
“It’s very exciting for them to see and it is something they always remember,” Delany said as the children laughed.
Over the course of the summer, FFSBC will stock more than 300 lakes across B.C. For more information visit www.gofishbc.com/home.