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Angling club asks town to support large bass fishing tournament on Osoyoos Lake this fall
An established angling club from British Columbia is hoping to host a large bass fishing tournament on Osoyoos Lake later this fall.
The B.C. Angler Fishing Club has formally applied to the Town of Osoyoos to host the tournament and asked town council to show support to enable a bass fishing tournament to take place on Osoyoos Lake in September or October.
Senior administration has recommended sending a letter to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and ask that an exception be given to allow live wells be used in the tournament.
“There has been discussion about the need to increase the notoriety of Osoyoos Lake as a bass fishing lake to promote economic development,” said chief administrative officer Barry Romanko. “It would appear that this tournament would assist in that goal and the use of live wells is a key factor in maintaining the sustainability of the fishery.”
Club member Matt Benson said it’s important town council support the tournament as British Columbia is the only province in Canada that doesn’t allow live wells.
“There is one issue and the reason why we approached the city and businesses of Osoyoos … because we need the city and local government to approach ocean and fisheries,’ wrote Benson in a letter to town council asking for support.
“We want them to let you know you want to hold this event. The reason why is they don’t allow live wells to be used in events. Live wells allow for live fish to be weighed in at the end of the day. You have to have this set up to draw people from all over the province, Alberta and Washington State. There is a special permit they can give out and it has been done for the City of Penticton.”
There is a group of more than a dozen club members who are working together to try and organize a bass fishing tournament in Osoyoos, said Benson.
“I can also guarantee that you will get 25-plus boats for at least three days. It will draw at least 60-plus for the weekend. It will be great for restaurants and hotels.”
The “biggest thing” the town can do is approach the Department of Oceans and Fisheries to request a special permit, said Benson.
A similar event was held on Skaha Lake in Penticton and it was a great success, said Benson.
“We had 19 teams for the event and two days pumped $25,000 back into the economy. We also have all our teams fill out expense reports as best as possible, so we have concrete evidence to show the city at the end of the event,” he said. “These expenses include things such as travel, lodging, tackle, food and fuel. We had teams from Alberta, Washington and B.C.”
Several high-profile sponsors are interested in the Osoyoos event, he said.
Once fish are weighed, they are put back in the water and only four of 120 bass caught during the tournament in Penticton were lost, he said.
“We also have to pay a team of local biologists … to weight and measure every fish that is caught,” he said. “They are also responsible for releasing the fish. All boaters are required to have insurance and we, as event organizers, also have a $2 million liability insurance policy. We have a very specific set of rules in place for all of the participants to follow.”
There are only so many places in this province where a “true bass tournament” can be held and Osoyoos would be a great host as many anglers come here already to try and fish for bass, said Benson.
“The demand is going to increase and now is a great time to take advantage of this and let people know about the fisheries we have,” he said. “One other thing to think about is that we have Alberta right next door and they are starving for bass fishing. They have the most disposable income of any province in Canada. Let’s go and bring them to Osoyoos.”
Coun. Michael Ryan said the tournament sounds like a great idea and he would also support inviting ministry officials to town to provide information about the dangers of invasive mussels coming to B.C. waterways as part of the tournament.
Mayor Stu Wells agreed saying this would be the perfect opportunity to showcase the town as a great fishing destination, while enforcing the idea that it’s critical to keep invasive mussels out of Osoyoos Lake and all B.C. waterways.