The Kootenay Trout Hatchery has a new leader at the helm, however, it is a familiar face to existing staff and the community.
Owen Schoenberger, who has been at the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. facility out in Bull River since 2004, was recently hired to take over managerial and operational duties.
The Kootenay Trout Hatchery is responsible for stocking 150 lakes in the East and West Kootenay regions with species such as Rainbow Trout, Westslope Cutthroat trout, Eastern Brook Trout, Kokanee Salmon and White Sturgeon.
As far as he’s concerned, it’ll be business as usual.
“I don’t see the operations changing a whole lot here,” he said. “I don’t see me having a huge influence in the change of operations. Our basic day-to-day stuff will continue on being the same.”
There are a few facility changes as fish runways in the ‘pond building’, as well as troughs in another area, have been replaced with 5-foot circular tanks.
“We have a new construction project freshly completed, so it’s going to be getting the entire staff comfortable with using that and looking forward using all that new equipment,” Schoenberger added.
The facility and staff out at KTH accommodates adult holding, spawning and juvenile rearing of various fish species, which are also shipped off to other FFSBC sites in Clearwater and Summerland for distribution up in the northern regions and other parts of the B.C. Interior.
Though it is still winter, there is a Visitor Centre with an extensive interpretive area, including aquariums, educational models and displays. Outside, there is a courtyard with an area for Western Painted Turtles, as well as a children’s Learn to Fish pond, which is open for fishing for children 15 and under.
The Learn to Fish pond, which is catch-and-release, is open in early spring with trout stocked from the facility. Bringing your own equipment is encouraged, however, there is equipment available for loan via a donation depending on the availability of tour guides.
There are a variety of programs available in the summer, including guided interpretive tours, Learn to Fish program and school field trips.
For more information on the Kootenay Trout Hatchery, visit www.gofishbc.com or call 250-429-3214.