Every year streams in the Kootenay region (region four) close to fishing for the annual spawning period. From April 1 to June 14, there is no fishing allowed in any stream in the region, which spans north to Valemont, east to Alberta, south to the US Border, and west past Revelstoke, Nakusp and Castlegar.
The Ministry of Forests Lands, Natural Resourse Operations and Rural Development (FLNRO) says that the closure is important to ensure successful reproduction. The closure also ensures that anglers will not disturb or walk on any developing eggs in the gravel.
Although streams are closed, lake fishing is still permitted (with some exceptions).
With the province of BC having closed all provincial parks and recreation sites due to COVID-19, many lakes are not accessible to anglers at this time. Camping and motorized recreation (including the use of off-road vehicles) is now restricted in the Koocanusa Recreation Strategy Area as well.
A spokesperson for FLNRO explained in an email to the Townsman that boat launches within recreation sites that contain campsites are not accessible to the public. However, boat launches in recreation sites that don’t have campsites can still be used.
People are also still permitted to use B.C. Crown Land for recreational activities subject to any specific closures, or local or regulatory restrictions or rules that are normally in place, says FLNRO. Accessing the backcountry through a provincial park is not allowed, since all provincial parks are closed.
The Ministry’s website outlines specific guidelines for angling and hunting activities with regards to following the orders and guidance set out by the provincial health officer surrounding COVID-19.
FLNRO asks that those who are hunting or fishing only do so with members of their family or members of their household. If you come across anyone else while you are hunting or fishing, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.
The Ministry also says not to share vehicles with individuals outside of your family or others you are living with, and to fish and hunt locally. Local lakes are still being stocked with fish by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.
A 2020/2021 fishing license is required to fish in any lake, stream, or tributary in region four. Licenses are now available for purchase online. Be sure to check and know the provincial, regional and additional special regulations for your intended waterbody.