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Local MP Blaine Calkins launches annual fishing contest

Local MP Blaine Calkins. (File photo)

Along with several colleagues, Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins recently launched the Conservative Hunting and Angling Caucus Fishing Contest which runs through to Sept. 2.

"I grew up fishing, and I also later worked for Alberta Fish and Wildlife," he said. 

"I worked as a fishing guide, and I also worked as a park warden and a park ranger. When I worked with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, I was also a fisheries technician," he said, adding that he focused on these and other related areas during his post-secondary studies as well.

"It's always been a passion of mine," he said.

"A few years ago, I thought why don't we have a fun little fishing contest? I chair the Conservative Hunting and Angling Caucus as well, so I talked to some of my colleagues and I knew we could get some custom lures made up.

"I'm lucky to be here in Central Alberta, as Len Thompson is right here, and they do custom lures. A lot of businesses also do them across the country, so we thought we'd get some lures made up with some MPs' names on them. People like to collect them and use them."

The contest, now into its fourth year, started to take shape and has been a hit with many folks ever since.

Participants are asked to take a picture of their fish with the lure still attached showing the MPs name, and e-mail the photo to with their name, province, age demographic, and a short story about the experience of catching the fish.

"So this summer when people are heading out, they get a lure from one of the participating MPs and then catch a fish with that lure."

A panel of judges will look over the photos when the contest wraps up, and again, it's all about capturing the experience as a whole, said Calkins.

First, second, and third-place winners will be announced on National Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing Heritage Day (Sept. 21). 

There is also a youth category.

"I think it comes down to the smiles, and to the joy of the folks who are catching those fish," he said.

"It's a lot of fun, and it's also a way for MPs to (connect) with constituents. It can trigger conversations about fishing and conservation, too."

He pointed out that more than eight million Canadians fish.

"That's almost one in four, so it's a huge part of our culture in Canada."

For more about the contest, head to any of Calkins' social media platforms, or his website.






















Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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