FLNRORD proposes changes to B.C.’s fishing regulations

The public is invited to comment on the changes until Jan. 11, 2019.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development are proposing changes to B.C.’s fishing regulations.

The proposals include changes to fishing methods, gear, bait, quotas, boundaries and fishery opening and closing dates. The public is invited to comment on the proposed changes.

READ MORE: B.C. anglers furious over American VIP fishing trip

A press release from FLNRORD says the changes are based on regional requirements and conditions, and aim to meet management objectives for native and invasive fish species, while maintaining sustainable angling opportunities for recreational fishers.

In Region 4 – Kootenay there are several proposed changes to season and quota regulations.

The first is a quota regulation change for Kokanee on Upper and Lower Arrow Lake. The current regulation states that on both Upper and Lower Arrow Lake the daily quota for Kokanee is 5. The proposed change would see the daily quota jump to 15.

The rationale, according to a report on FLNRORD’s website, says an increase to daily quota has been proposed by local clubs participating on the regional angling regulations advisory group annually for many years.

“Regardless of the strength of future adult escapement, a recent analysis of Kokanee harvest rate data also suggests that harvest in recent years has been modest (less than 10,000),” said the report. “Combining harvest rates and estimates for adult spawner abundance allows calculation of exploitation rate, and since 1998, these rates never rise above 10 per cent, even at low abundance.”

The second change in Region 4 proposes a quota change for trout and char on Salmo River.

The current regulations state that from Sheep Creek to South Salmo River, anglers must release all trout/char (including bull trout). For the remainder of the mainstem, the trout/char daily quota is one (none under 30cm), June 15 to Oct 31, and release all bull trout year round.

The proposed regulations suggest implementing a quota for brook, brown, and lake trout harvested in this reach of the Salmo River. From Sheep Creek to South Salmo River, anglers must release all rainbow trout and brook trout, and for the remainder of the mainstem the quota for rainbow trout is one per day (none under 30 cm) from June 15 to Oct 31, and release all bull trout year round.

“The objective is to repair and update original management intentions to protect native rainbow trout and bull trout,” says the report. “Current regulations also protect brook trout, lake trout, brown trout, none of which are native sport fish and all of which compete with or may consume rainbow and bull trout. Lake trout and brook trout may hybridize will bull trout hence wasting reproductive effort of a very small bull trout population which faces numerous threats.”

The third proposed change in Region 4 is for season and quota regulations for rainbow trout on Whiteswan River.

The current regulations state that anglers are not to fish Whiteswan between Dec 1 and Dec 26, with a trout daily quota of two (single hook, no towing).

The proposed regulations suggest replacing the water specific daily trout quota of two with the regional quota of five (but not more than one over 50cm).

The report says that a large number of rainbow trout spawners have been counted at Whiteswan Lake in 2017 and 2018, with condition factors of fish being fairly low, indicating that the population is overly abundant.

“Historical harvest data indicates that the percentage of fish harvested has decreased over time from 100 per cent harvest to around 10 per cent harvest,” says the report. “Current regulations were implemented when harvest rates were high and population numbers were lower.

“Fish body size and condition is inversely correlated with population density; when overpopulated, fish are small and skinny.”

The fourth proposed change in Region 4 is to re-open the Revelstoke reach of the Columbia River for angling.

The current regulations for Columbia River state that no fishing is allowed from Revelstoke Dam downstream to the power line crossing approximately 300m upstream of the Illecillewaet River confluence.

The current regulations for Upper Arrow Lake state: “The drawdown area”, that water known as either Upper Arrow Lake or Columbia River (depending on the reservoir’s level), located between the power line crossing approximately 300 m upstream of the Illecillewaet River confluence and the power line crossing at Akolkolex Narrows (approximately 1.5 km downstream of the Akolkolex River confluence): trout/char daily quota = 2 (no bull trout under 60 cm and only 1 bull trout over 60 cm). Single barbless hook.

READ MORE: Streams in Region 4 now closed for spawning period

The proposed changes to Columbia River include no fishing from Revelstoke Dam downstream to Hwy #1 bridge in Revelstoke.

The change to Upper Arrow Lake suggests “The drawdown area”, that water known as either Upper Arrow Lake or Columbia River (depending on the reservoir’s level), located between the Hwy #1 Bridge in Revelstoke and the power line crossing at Akolkolex Narrows (approximately 1.5 km downstream of the Akolkolex River confluence): trout/char daily quota = 2 (no bull trout under 60 cm and only 1 bull trout over 60 cm). Single barbless hook.

The rationale states that the anecdotal concerns of excessive effort and harvest, which led to the original closure, are unlikely.

“The reason for this change is to accommodate Revelstoke stakeholders to provide a modest local fishing opportunity accessible from town to walking/bicycles/wheelchairs, especially for, but not limited to, youth and disabled anglers, with low conservation risk,” says the report.

For a complete list of all the regulation changes across the province, visit https://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/pub/ahte.

Comments are being considered by FLNRORD and must be received by Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.

After final decisions are made, the new Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis will be posted online in mid-March. The approved changes will be in effect on April 1, 2019.

For general information about fishing regulations in B.C., visit http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/.



corey.bullock@kimberleybulletin.com

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