On September long weekend 2017, the Riverwalk along Winnipeg’s main tourist attraction was lined with hundreds of anglers, invited down to take part in an activity that is normally out of reach for many of them.
The Urban Fishing Derby, which brought about 350 people down to The Forks in September, was put on by Generation Next Angler (GNA) and the Urban Angling Partnership (UAP), both of which were recipients of grants from the MLOA’s Hunter and Angler Preservation Fund in 2017.
The event saw families invited to come fish for free, using equipment provided if they have none, to get families fishing together. “It’s kind of neat to see these urban families who can’t afford boats still get to come and enjoy some fishing,” said MLOA member Todd Longley, who helped put on the event on behalf of GNA with the help of the UAP and the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. “The fishing is always good. We caught some monster channel cats this year.”
GNA’s efforts also include raising money for Marymound and the Never Alone Foundation, as well as organizing a springtime event called Keeping it Reel, which sees volunteer angling guides take out kids with disabilities and their families for a day of fishing fun. “These kids just touch your heart. It’s unbelievable,” Longley said. “As long as people continue to come out to these events, I’m going to continue putting them on.”
GNA was the recipient of a $2,000 HAPF grant in spring 2017, while the UAP received $1,500 during the same round of project grants. Longley said the funding was primarily used for food and participant equipment at the events, as well as take-home prizes for the young anglers. The MLOA board is pleased to support the efforts of these organizations through our HAPF, and thanks the volunteers from those groups for their contribution to the community.