Fishing at Ambleside Beach Pier - West Vancouver
notes from Dad
Activity:Nathan and I love to fish. The only problem: we have Mickey Mouse rods and know very little about fishing, except for baiting our hooks. We fished for about a year without catching anything, and then we discovered our secret bait. Now we catch something every time we fish. We've caught perch, crabs, starfish, bullheads, and even a baby salmon. We always throw the fish back after we show the girls our catch.
Typically we start the evening off with a pizza from DJJ's or Bella (on Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver) or some chicken from the Colonel (around Marine & 18th, West Vancouver), and cap it off with a cone at Sara's ice-cream on Marine Drive.
Age group:Nathan started fishing with me when he was four years old. At five years old he was patient enough to really fish.
Expense rating:The only costs you have are whatever you eat and your bait.
:In the summer, if you get to the pier before 6:00 PM, you can see the cruise ships go by. They're quite close, so you can make out a lot of details. Also, around 4:30 PM the Royal Hudson Steam Train chugs by. Kids love standing by the track and waving to the people on board.
If your kids get bored John Lawson Park (west of pier) and Ambleside Beach (east of pier) are minutes away. What I like most of all though is at dusk when the dock lamps go on. The soft lights glimmer on the water, the air is warm, and you're fishing--need I say more.
:Fishing is not everyone's cup of tea. My wife usually spends her time going to Bean Around the World or Starbucks for a coffee, shopping (Bellevue Avenue has a number of swanky shops), or walking along the seawall to Dundarave Beach.
Details:The pier is at 14th and Bellevue in West Vancouver. It's sandwiched between Ambleside Beach and John Lawson Park. There's plenty of parking and places to eat. And, by the way, if you don't have fresh bait, there's a seafood place close by on Marine or you can get bait at the Safeway at Marine and 17th. Fishing licenses: kids under 16 years of age need a fishing license, but the license is free and available from any sport shop.
Season:Late spring, summer, and early fall (if it's still warm)
Educational highlights:The Ferry Building, located in front of the dock, features local artists. You can give your children a lesson in transportation and natural resources by pointing out the huge off-shore freighters taking grain, lumber, and sulphur to far away countries. Also the B.C. Rail often goes by with long loads of lumber and paper products to provinces across Canada.
Fun for the adult?:Note from Mom: I've watched my husband do this for about three years now: fish with a rod that has a picture of Mickey Mouse on the side, cut up bait with a dull old steak knife, and keep his lure in a box no bigger than a pencil case. I say, "do you want me to buy you a Swiss army knife--or at least something you don't have to saw with?" He says, "No, we're just having fun. If we get too fancy, people might expect us to really catch something."
Cruise ship passing pier