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Creston Valley Rod & Gun Club to steward restocking of Kootenay Lake

By Contributor
June 30th, 2023

Thanks to a generous grant of $399,000 from the Province of British Columbia under the Destination Development Fund, the Creston Valley Rod & Gun Club is undertaking a two-year project to replenish depleted stocks of Kokanee salmon in Kootenay Lake.

Once Kokanee are again abundant in the lake, large-bodied Gerrard Rainbow Trout are expected to follow.

In its heyday, the Gerrard fishery made Kootenay Lake a tourism destination for anglers around the world who came in search of the Giants of Gerrard – coveted for their unusual size – and generating approximately $6M annually in direct angler expenditures.

The Return of the Kokanee Salmon restocking project entails the collection of surplus Kokanee salmon eggs at three sites over a 30-day period in September, followed by incubation of the eggs at a Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC hatchery for six to eight weeks in October and November.

The eggs will be transported to selected release sites in November.

Additionally, at two locations on the lake, interpretive signage will be installed describing the historical significance of Kokanee Salmon to the Lower Kootenay Band who consider the Kokanee to be “Chief of the Waters.”

“Our government is proud to support the tourism sector, the people who work in it, and its sustained recovery,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.

“By supporting the Return of the Kokanee Salmon project, we are supporting sustainable tourism practices, strengthening a year-round visitor economy, ensuring the Giants of Gerrard return to Kootenay Lake.”

The Creston Valley Rod & Gun Club is responsible for managing the project, partnering with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for technical expertise, and relying on the Lower Kootenay Band for supplying invaluable knowledge of the lake’s fish stocks and health.

Band Council Member, Robin Louie says he looks forward to the opportunity to incorporate Yaqan Nukiy knowledge in helping to restore Kootenay Lake’s fishery.

The club is grateful the Return of the Kokanee Salmon project has strong support not only from the Lower Kootenay Band, but the tourism and hospitality businesses in the region, as well as the Nelson and Creston Valley tourism associations, and our Kootenay-Columbia MP, Rob Morrison.

The reason for support can be summed up by Kerry Reed, Nelson owner/operator of Reel Adventures Sport Fishing Charters.

“The recovery of Kokanee salmon stock is an essential contributor to fishing tourism in our area. Many livelihoods depend on it.”

Creston Valley Rod & Gun Club

Established in 1919, the Creston Valley Rod & Gun Club is an active sporting association with over 500 members based in the Creston Valley. We are committed, now, and for future generations, to the proper management, nurturing, and responsible use of the fish and wildlife resources in our beautiful valley.

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