Dave Thompson Trail Times columnist.

Fishing the Columbia, the only game in town

Sports ‘n’ Things

A River Runs Through Us.

The massive Columbia River and its watershed are literally and figuratively at the heart of this wider community.

That water is the reason all the communities in most of the Kootenays exist, and why they are viable. There has always been lots of it, to use and recreate with, too.

That water is still there, and one tiny subset of, “sports,” people around here still has almost complete access to their favourite pastime, bank fishing.

Everybody else’s play plans are cancelled or forbidden, but fisher folks, being socially careful, of course, still have almost unfettered access to their chosen sporting sites. River and lake banks provide ample spacing for the responsible – many hundreds could be adequately spaced along the banks of the Columbia between the border and Castlegar, for instance.

Boats are an option, too, of course, but a boat is not a place where two meter social distancing is even likely. Solitary boating, though, is a fully viable option.

A bonus is the fact that success fishing can obviate any need for protein shopping. Like hunting, fishing rewards are a long way from free – but they are only available to the fishers themselves, unless they are among the very few who like the catching but are, “meh,” about the eating of those rewards. Those folks have fortunate friends, if they can safely handle the passover of those rewards.

The river has brought us lots, our lives and histories are integrated tightly with its running. Some of that lots has been tragic or damaging, of course. Some of us remember the big floods preceding the damming – 48 and 61 the biggest in my lifetime (we really cannot hold the creeks flooding against the river, after all) but there were many other serious deluges along the way, too.

Things always settled down, and fishermen always have regained the opportunity to exercise their bodies, receive the aesthetic input from the mountain grandeur around the, and, of course, succeed or fail in their chose sport.

Right now, they are among a very few sporting types that still, because of the Columbia, have those opportunities. Lucky them.

* Not sure if everybody saw it, but before the bug hit the fan, the NHL acted on one of the most frustrating rules interpretations in recent times – the definition of offside.

It will still be a judgement call, but should no longer be an excruciating, time-wasting decision to make. No longer must the skate blade in question be touching the ice exactly in sync for the player to be onside (and the goal to count). As in touchdowns, “breaking the plane,” will suffice.

Even the hidebound NHL sometimes gets things right.

City of TrailColumnist

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