KITCHENER — Contrary to what some people might think who while away hours watching The World Fishing Network, fishing is not primarily for professionals.

Fishing is for families. It’s something for moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles to share with their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Fishing is family fun.

If you are looking for a place and an event to dip your toes in the river of family fishing, you can do no better than the annual Grand River Bass Derby. Sponsored by Natural Sports, the event takes place this weekend (July 4 and 5), which happens to be in conjunction with the launch of National Fishing Week, running July 4 through 12.

The Bass Derby offers the chance of winning  cash and prizes, but it guarantees hours of fun for the whole family. Information is available online at

National Fishing Week is not only a great way for families to kick off the summer, it offers a wonderful opportunity for adults to teach children the lifelong pleasures of fishing, whether with natural bait, hard lures or, best of all, casting with fur and feather, otherwise known as fly angling.

No licence is required during Ontario Fishing Family Fishing Week. There’s trout and bass and a wide variety of other species to target from the shore, wading rivers or by boat, canoe and kayak. Grand River Conservation Authority has information about a variety of angling opportunities within the watershed.

Parents can get children started fishing by purchasing combos and outfits for as little as $20 — in other words, little more than the price of lunch at a fast food joint.

One of the greatest regrets in my life is not fishing more and not learning to fly fish (with barbless hooks supporting a catch-and-release philosophy) until after my 50th year. Had I been fortunate to enough to have an adult teach me the pleasures of fishing, my life would have been richer and fuller, not to mention more gratifying.

(NOTE: Recent rains have not been kind to the Grand River, which has been high, fast and muddy. Check with Natural Sports or the Grand River Conservation Authority before hitting the river)