Pictured is the moat at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery, where fish were being stolen by a group of pesky otters in the summer of 2019. The otters have since been relocated out of the Kootenay watershed in an effort to save the fish. (Owen Schoenberger file)

Otters relocated after devastating fish populations at Kootenay hatchery

The otters were relocated out of the Kootenay watershed last year in an effort to save the fish.

The Kootenay Trout Hatchery is no longer dealing with problem otters after the animals were relocated to a location outside of the Kootenay watershed last year.

In June of 2019, the hatchery in the Fort Steele area was reporting devastated fish populations after a group of pesky otters was found persistently attacking the prized fish in the hatchery’s moat. Approximately 150 fish were devoured by the otters and many were also left wounded or scarred.

Hatchery Manager Owen Schoenberger explained that three otters were live trapped and relocated by Conservation Officers after every effort was made to stop them from attacking the trout.

Staff at the hatchery had blocked off some of the access to the moat and installed fish proof panels so the otters couldn’t drag the fish out.

“We first removed the fish from the moat to our rearing container, which got rid of the otters’ food source,” Schoenberger explained. “After every effort was made to stop them, Conservation Officers decided it would be best to relocate the otters. They live trapped a brother and sister, and several days later captured another male. They were taken to a location outside of the Kootenay watershed.”

READ MORE: Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

He adds that at first Conservation Officers were reluctant to relocate the otters, but ended up changing their minds.

Since the relocation, Schoenberger said that the otters haven’t been spotted back at the hatchery. No other otters have made an appearance either, he said.

“We kept the injured fish in the back pond, they had some wounds and some scars. We treated them with a special bath which was successful and we returned them to the moat,” Schoenberger said. “The fish are doing quite well now, and we’re well stocked especially after putting in extra yearlings.”

He says that at this time, there are approximately 30 to 40 15 pound rainbow trout, and several hundred one to two pound rainbows at the hatchery.

READ MORE: Staff relocating koi away from hungry otter at Vancouver Chinese garden

“It was good news to see the populations back up and the fish recovered,” said Schoenberger.

He adds that there are still lots of fish to feed at the hatchery, and the learn to fish pond is well stocked.

The Kootenay Trout Hatchery is run by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. The society owns and operates six major fish hatcheries in Duncan, Abbotsford, Summerland, Clearwater, Fort Steele and Vanderhoof.

According to their website, the hatcheries raise and release over six million trout, char, and kokanee salmon into 800 lakes across the province.

The stocking program in the Kootenays will begin once the ice has melted off the lakes, around the end of April, and will run until mid-June.

The local hatchery also hosts a variety of different programs including learn to fish programs, educational field trips, research and fish health.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Ktunaxa elder leaves legacy of courage, resilience and mentorship

Herman Alpine helped Ktunaxa move on from Residential School era, was key in revitalization of language

Milestone RCMP Cops For Kids fundraiser ride going virtual

You can join and help RCMP raise funds for families and possibly win 20th anniversary cycling shirt

RDEK lifts state of local emergency in Fairmont

Clean up continues from two debris flow events at the end of May

Cranbrook receives $4M in federal infrastructure funding

Cranbrook is receiving $4.1 million from the federal government through an infrastructure… Continue reading

Fort Steele reopening with reduced capacity, services

Heritage town reopening to visitors after closing doors due to COVID-19 concerns

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Victoria man dies after skydiving incident on Vancouver Island

34-year-old had made more than 1,000 jumps

Most Read