There are some big changes coming this year for local angers with the new Freshwater Fishing Regulations coming out including a move to catch and release for rainbow trout on major local rivers.
The 2015-17 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis is available now online, and will soon be available in hard copy at Service BC centres and local angling licence vendors throughout the area.
The Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis is published every two years, and contains all non-salmon sport fishing regulations in effect in freshwater in B.C.
The new regulations come into effect on April 1 and include several changes governing fishing in the Grand Forks area.
“The regulation changes for 2015 will include movement to catch and release of rainbow trout on the West Kettle, Kettle and Granby Rivers,” said Tara White, senior fisheries biologist, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Thompson-Okanagan region. “The other change will be an implementation of an in-season closure during late summer around the August period.”
White said the in-season closure will allow for protection of wild stocks during the low flow, high temperature periods, and to maintain the quality of the fishery.
The fishing ban (see sidebar below) will be: Kettle River July 25 – Aug. 25 and West Kettle River Aug. 1 – 31.
White said the goal of the regulations is to maintain a quality fishery and optimize fishing opportunities while protecting stocks so they’re available for future generations.
“From a stock conservation perspective—the Kettle River is managed as a quality fishery. It’s the only flyfishing system in region 8 (Okanagan to Christina Lake). It provides one of the few river-fishing opportunities in the Okanagan region.”
White said the quality of the river fishery has deteriorated over the past few decades as a result of low abundance and small sizes of trout.
“Issues such as water/land practices, available habitat, overfishing and environmental conditions have basically limited the trout numbers,” she added.
White said that adding to the problem is a significant lack of compliance with existing fishing regulations and infrequent enforcement practice.
“We want to help try to reinforce the regulations and maintain the quality of the fishery,” she said. “By changing the regulations it provides consistency. There are a lot of people that come in from out of town to fish there. The way the regulations were before it was by specific landmarks, which made it very difficult for people to understand where the boundaries are. This provides consistency by moving the entire river to catch and release (for rainbow trout). It simplifies the regulations.”
White said the new rules actually came into being partly due to pressure from user groups/stakeholders such as fishing associations.
“We’ve had a lot of pressure from them to move towards this type of regulation,” she said. “We’ve spend the last three to five years doing consultation with fishing and hunting clubs, the public, local stakeholders in the area and they’re very supportive of this.”
The new regulations allow for the harvest of non-native species such as brook trout, as well as brown trout and white fish.
White said the ministry is hoping to be able to hire a university student for a river guardian position where they would help enforce the regulations as well as monitor the results.
“We’ll have presence on the river to conduct surveys and collect information including fish size, catch information, angler satisfaction with the new regulations, effort, those kinds of things so we can get some direct angler feedback on the quality of the fishery,” said White.
The new edition of the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis is available at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/regulations/
The current edition of the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis is available at:
KETTLE RIVER (Management Unit (MU) 14 and 15)
- Rainbow trout release year round
- No Fishing July 25-Aug 25
- Exempt from Spring Closure
- Bait ban Apr 1-Oct 31
WEST KETTLE RIVER (MU 8-12)
· Rainbow trout release year round
· No Fishing Aug 1-Aug 31
· Exempt from Spring Closure
· Bait ban Apr 1-Oct 31
GRANBY RIVER (MU 8-15)
- Upstream of the confluence with Burrell Creek: Trout/char daily quota = 1 and exempt from Spring Closure
- Downstream of the confluence with Burrell Creek: Rainbow trout release year round
Bait ban Apr 1-Oct 31