Lardeau River kokanee. Photo: Jim Bailey

Lardeau River kokanee. Photo: Jim Bailey

Kokanee concerns addressed at public meeting

Join fisheries staff in Balfour for a presentation, Q&A on Kootenay Lake kokanee fishery recovery

Attention anglers! The Ministry of Forests announced that it will provide an update on the Kootenay Lake Fishery Recovery efforts.

Fisheries staff will host a presentation and Q&A at the Balfour Community Hall on Feb. 21, and according to the ministry, the “public meeting will be focused on what steps have been taken to assist the recovery of kokanee in the region, including an update on the angler incentive program.”

In an effort to bring back the kokanee population, the ministry has worked with various organizations to increase retention of predator fish and motivate anglers, through the incentive program, to keep their catch.

“Bull trout and Gerrard rainbow trout are the primary predators of kokanee, and have been a primary source of kokanee decline,” said the Ministry.

“Actions to control the predator fish populations, such as gill netting, have proven effective but additional work is required for sustainable kokanee recovery.”

While anglers enjoy a robust kokanee harvest on Arrow Lake, the kokanee fishery has been effectively closed on the main section of Kootenay Lake for several years.

In the 2022 Kootenay Lake recovery online presentation, a fisheries spokesperson explained they are hoping to find the ‘tipping point’ where the number of kokanee exceeds what predators can eat and kokanee will then recover rapidly.

Fisheries managers and their partners have increased stocking efforts releasing more than 24 million eggs and over a million fry from 2015-22. They have also reduced the number of predators at their spawning sites and through gill netting, enhanced lake fertilization efforts to increase kokanee food supply, enact fishing regulation changes, and continue the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program.

“An adaptive management approach allows us to experiment with the most effective approaches, then progressively scale up the aggressiveness of those most effective actions until we hit the tipping point,” said a ministry spokesperson.

The meeting goes Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 7-9 p.m. at the Balfour Community Hall at 534 Charles Rd. in Balfour.

Read: Kootenay Lake kokanee spawning numbers a growing concern

City of TrailFisheries and Oceans CanadafishingNelsonRossland

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