Kootenay Trout Hatchery celebrating 50 years

Kootenay Trout Hatchery will be holding a public open house on Saturday, April 23, to mark 50th anniversary.

The Kootenay Trout Hatchery is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this weekend with an open house on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Kootenay Trout Hatchery is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this weekend with an open house on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

April 14, 2016: For 50 years the Kootenay Trout Hatchery has been raising fish, stocking lakes and introducing people to the pleasures of freshwater fishing.

Over the five decades the hatchery has expanded its mandate, taking on conservation initiatives and community outreach to encourage a love of fishing and an appreciation for our lakes and rivers.

To celebrate this milestone the hatchery is hosting a family fun day on April 23, showcasing the hatchery’s history and offering family-friendly fishing activities.

“While the Kootenay Trout Hatchery has always been first and foremost a fish hatchery, we are very proud of how it has evolved to become a focal point for conservation and freshwater fishing in the community,” says hatchery manager Owen Schoenberger. “We welcome more visitors to the hatchery every year and it is exciting to help develop a new generation of responsible anglers and to educate people about conservation initiatives, such as our work with white sturgeon.”

The Kootenay Trout Hatchery was opened in 1966 as a Provincial trout hatchery with a seven person staff consisting of a hatchery manager, assistant manager, three fish culturists, an office manager, and maintenance supervisor.

A state of the art facility at the time, fish were reared in open raceways that would freeze over in the winter. Water was sourced from nearby Norbury Creek.

In 1983, the water source was switched to two wells, ensuring a more consistent water supply. Because it was a groundwater source, fish were not exposed to disease or pathogens sometimes present in the river water.

In 1987 the raceways were covered and wells supplying water to the hatchery were increased to four. The raceways no longer froze over and winter working conditions became much more pleasant for staff.

In 1998, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho finalized an agreement with the Province to establish a sturgeon facility at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery and the following year the facility began raising Kootenai sturgeon.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society released their last Kootenai white sturgeon in 2015 as the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho are now administering this successful recovery program at their new hatchery in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho.

Ownership of the hatchery was transferred to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC in 2003, shortly after the Society was created. In the spring of that year the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon rearing program was transferred to the Kootenay Trout Hatchery where it is operated in conjunction with the Kootenay River Sturgeon Conservation Hatchery.

These programs have supported habitat research, restocking and re-introduction efforts from the USA border to the Kinbasket Reservoir.

In 2007, the hatchery opened their onsite fishing pond. The pond was built in a large part from community donations and it continues to be a focal point in the community.

In that first year just over 1,000 youth fished the pond in the Learn to Fish program. Last year more than 6,000 youth and their parents participated in a Learn to Fish program at the hatchery pond.

In 2015 a number of upgrades were undertaken to reduce energy usage and improve the hatchery’s operating efficiency. Circular ponds replaced the fish rearing raceways. Water usage is anticipated to drop from 2.5 billion litres to 0.5 billion litres per year, drawn from five groundwater wells.

The improved tank design constantly moves waste out of the system, reducing the time required to clean the tanks. With better access to feed throughout the tank, fish are better able to convert food to body mass, reducing variance in fish size. The result is more consistent, better conditioned, healthier fish released into rivers and lakes throughout the region.

The hatchery also expects to reduce electricity consumption by about 264,000 kilowatt hours per year, about 22% of overall usage, as a result of less water pumping and warming.

The Kootenay Hatchery annually raises 1.3 million kokanee, cutthroat trout, brook char and rainbow trout for the recreational fishery in addition to sturgeon.

The fish are stocked in 150 lakes in the East and West Kootenays. Some fish are provided to the Clearwater and Summerland Trout Hatcheries for stocking interior and northern regions of the province. The Kootenay and Clearwater Trout Hatcheries are the only facilities that stock kokanee salmon in BC.

The hatchery now employs an office manager, assistant manager, maintenance supervisor, hatchery manager, a sturgeon manager, three fish culturists, two seasonal fish culturists and six seasonal tour guides.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s Kootenay Trout Hatchery will be celebrating the hatchery’s 50th Anniversary with an Open House on April 23, 2016 from 10 am to 3 pm.

Everyone is invited to get to know the hatchery better with tours through the recently renovated hatchery, fish rearing and lake stocking discussions with a fish culturist and fish culture demonstrations.

Family activities include fishing, face painting and activities at the pond as well as birthday cake and goodie bags for the kids. The Bull River Rancher’s BBQ Association will have a food concession available.



Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook.
Graduation ceremony in the works for MBSS Class of 2021

The Mount Bake Secondary School Class of 2021 will have a graduation… Continue reading

After being forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Wasa Triathlon is being organized for August. Bulletin file photo.
Information released for Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon scheduled for August

In 2020 the COVID pandemic forced the Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon to… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read