Large mouth bass (Image: Wikipedia)

Large mouth bass (Image: Wikipedia)

Invasive bass confirmed in Kettle River

The province has advised Grand Forks locals that illegal bass has been introduced into waterways

Wildlife groups are asking for help after non-native bass species have been introduced into the Kettle River over the last month.

The Ministry of Environment as well as the BC Wildlife Federation have advised residents and local wildlife groups that illegal bass have been introduced into the waterway.

The non-native large-mouth bass was detected in the Kettle River this August. One of the most popular stretched of the 290-kilometre river runs from Westbrige to Grand Forks.

“The introduction of bass, a voracious predator has made management of the river more challenging,” said a release from the BC Wildlife Federation.

Currently the Kettle River is home to native rainbow trout as well as speckled dace, an endangered species listed in 2009. the worry is that bass will impact those species, especially trout.

A statement released by senior wildlife biologist Tara White last week confirms the presence of large mouth bass in the Kettle River. Anglers are being asked to provide any information related to the presence of bass and confirm species (large versus small mouth) as well as location.

“Please record the location caught (GPS coordinates/closest road name); photograph the fish and drop the fish in a ziplock bag and throw it in your freezer. The Region 8 Fisheries Section will pick it up for identification,” the statement notes.

So far, bass have been found downstream of Grand Forks in the Gilpin area.

Reports of small mouth bass have been received but not confirmed, and White notes they may have been incorrectly identified.

The addition of non-native species into the waterways is illegal in Canada, carrying a potential $100,000 fine on first offense and a 12-month prison term on the second offense. Anyone with information leading to the prosecution of an individual responsible for illegal transfer of fish in BC can receive a $20,000 award from the wildlife federation in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment.

Anyone who has caught a bass is asked to notify Tara White at tara.white@gov.bc.ca or call 250-490-2287.