With enough support from local (and out-of-town) anglers, Merritt could earn a $25,000 community donation and the title of Canada's Ultimate Fishing Town from the World Fishing Network.
Merritt is one of the hundreds of communities in Canada and the United States nominated in the Ultimate Fishing Town contest.
The World Fishing Network, a specialty television channel, will choose one winner from each country based on which towns receive the most votes from the public on the contest website.
Each community in the running has its own page on the website where users can add stories, photos, and videos making the case for why it deserves to be known as the Ultimate Fishing Town.
Voting began on May 1 and ends on May 31.
Fred Watts, an avid fisherman and fishing columnist for the Merritt News, says he will promote the contest at his sporting goods store, Nicola Valley Outdoors, and on the store's Facebook page.
Lundbom, Marquardt, and Nicola are the closest lakes to the City of Merritt, but anglers in the area are hardly limited to those options, he says.
“There's a million lakes here. Just look at the map.”
Watts notes that sturgeon, steelhead, and trout are all available within an hour's drive.
“We're so spoiled and we don't know it. Whatever you want, it's all here.”
Asked if he knows who originally nominated Merritt for the contest, Watts says he does not but adds, “I was going to do it myself, but I haven't gotten around to it.”
As of Tuesday, Merritt had only received two votes, while the leading community, Hastings, Ont., had over 3,800.
Voters can enter their choice for Ultimate Fishing Town up to four times a day per town at worldfishingnetwork.com/uft.
Entering the address above takes users to a search bar that they can use to find their town's entry and vote.
In addition to public votes, communities can earn bonus votes by posting about the contest on Facebook and Twitter, adding local business listings to a community's page, and referring friends to vote by email.
According to the World Fishing Network's website, the channel will work with the winning community and a local representative to decide how to spend the money.
“Please keep in mind the money must be put towards an organization, foundation or cause benefiting local anglers that is in or reasonably close to the winning town.”
Watts suggests improving lakeside access to the shore or boats for handicapped anglers at more lakes in the area.
Another possibility is stocking lakes for use by seniors and youths, he adds.
Last year's Canadian Ultimate Fishing Town was Chapleau, Ont. in the northern part of that province.