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Another blow to Kootenay Lake Fishing as Province calls for early closure due to low kokanee numbers

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
April 26th, 2016

As if businesses that rely on Kootenay Lake fishing needed any more bad news.

The Province said in a media release effective May 1, 2016, the kokanee sport fishery on the upper west arm of Kootenay Lake will be catch and release only for the remainder of the fishing season.

“Sport fishing will remain open, but anglers will have to release any kokanee they catch,” the media release said.

“This spring, anglers landed fewer kokanee than usual in this part of the lake, which could be an indication that the overall numbers are down. The closure is a precaution aimed to support long-term kokanee conservation efforts.”

The announcement comes as concern continues by everyone involved in the industry, including the Province, with the kokanee numbers throughout Kootenay Lake.

Last fall, biologists counted 18,000 spawning kokanee in the main body of the lake and its tributaries, the lowest number since the annual count started in 1979. Scientists estimate that the fish laid 4.26 million eggs, down from a high of 265 million eggs in 1981.

The kokanee fishery in the main lake remains closed.

The Province has put together a team of experts to fast-track the creation of a five-year action plan to guide the recovery of Kootenay Lake Kokanee stocks. The plan is currently being finalized and will be released shortly.

B.C. worked with First Nations, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and the BC Wildlife Federation to put together the advisory team and develop the plan.

During a public meeting in June of 2015, it was said by a local biologist the economic loss to the local economy could be listed in $10 Million range.

Quick Facts:

  • Kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon and are second only to rainbow trout as the most popular game fish in B.C.

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