From left: Kris Kirkelie from Gill & Gift; Terry Tagami, July winner; and Gordie Grunerud, West Arm Outdoors Club. (Submitted photo)

Kootenay Lake anglers incentive reels in plenty of interest

“We are seeing a new interest in Kootenay Lake fishing … ” said Randy Zelonka, owner of Gill & Gift.

Local anglers continue to be incredibly supportive of the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program, as evidenced by the high response rate of fish heads being deposited at the four depots.

Previous: Kootenay angler program off to a great start

Anglers who have not fished on the lake in recent years are taking advantage of the great weather and beautiful scenery with family and friends.

This has made a positive impact on local businesses, such as Gill & Gift Depot, one of the four local businesses that established a depot for receiving submissions.

“We are seeing a new interest in Kootenay Lake fishing; you can travel to Kaslo or Creston and actually see boats on the lake fishing,” said Randy Zelonka, owner of Gill & Gift.

“After seven years of declining tackle sales, we are seeing an increase this year. We can contribute a lot of this to the Angler Incentive program, which in my estimation, has been a huge success even exceeding the club’s forecast.”

Terry Tagami, a retired schoolteacher who lives in Nelson, was randomly selected as the July winner from 2,239 entries.

All monthly draw tickets will be entered into the grand prize draw of an 18’ Kingfisher boat equipped with a 115hp Yamaha engine.

The final draw will be held in June 2021.

“The goal is to help with the recovery of the main lake kokanee population that has been severely depressed for nearly a decade due to an overpopulation of rainbow and bull trout,” said Harvey Andrusak.

Andrusak is past president of the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF), a professional fisheries biologist and a West Arm Outdoors Club member who is assisting with data analysis and collaboration with local ministry fisheries biologists.

“The expected harvest during the year-long incentive program ranges between 12,000 and 20,000,” he said. “Research indicates that about 80,000 yearling Gerrard rainbow trout enter the lake from the Lardeau River each year.”

Andrasuk advises, “Anglers should be aware that it is illegal to remove the head from a trout or char before the angler returns to their place of residence. Many anglers are keeping the heads in their freezer and submitting them to a depot of their choice when convenient.”

BCWF would like to acknowledge the support of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and Jones Boys Boats at Woodbury Creek.

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation awarded the local club a grant of $50,000 to encourage anglers to fish again on the lake.

For program rules and updates, visit: BCWF.bc.ca and click the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program link.

The BC Wildlife Federation is the province’s leading conservation organization representing 43,000 members, ten regions and more than 100 clubs.



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