Streams in region four to open this weekend

Rivers are open to fishing as of June 15 after being closed for the annual two-month spawning period.

Anglers across the Kootenays can rejoice, streams in region four are open as of June 15 after being closed for the annual two-month spawning period.

Every year streams in the Kootenay Region close to fishing in the spring to allow for spawning.

The closure takes place from April 1 to June 14 on all streams in region four, which spans north to Valemont, east to Alberta, south to the US Border, and west past Revelstoke, Nakusp and Castlegar.

Jeff Burrows, Senior Wildlife Biologist for the Ministry of Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), says that the closure is important to ensure successful reproduction.

“Undisturbed spawners will reproduce more successfully, providing for conservation and future fisheries,” said Burrows. “[Also], anglers will not inadvertently walk on and crush buried, developing eggs in the gravel.”

A Fishing License is required to fish in any lake, stream, or tributary in the region. Licenses are available for purchase online, at a local vendor, or at any Service BC Office. Many East Kootenay Rivers and their tributaries are Classified Waters and require a supplemental Classified Waters License.

When you purchase a fishing license in BC, all of the funds go directly back into fishing conservation, protection, and education.

A basic BC resident angling licence costs $36: $29 of that fee goes to Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, and the remaining $7 is a conservation surcharge directed to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Burrows says that whether fishing on still water or in fresh water, regulations can vary depending on the area you are fishing.

“Be sure to check and know the provincial, regional, and often additional special regulations for your intended waterbody, and in-season changes,” explained Burrows. “They are available online or can be printed at many tackle stores. Have a current basic fishing license and any additional licenses for your intended fishing.”

The regulations for region four state that a single barbless hook must be used in all streams across the region for the entirety of the year.

FLNRO reminds anglers that it is illegal to fish for bass, perch, pike, or walleye in the Kootenay region, with the exception of certain waters, especially after an incident last summer where two invasive fish species were illegally introduced to local lakes.

In July of 2018, New Lake and Fusse Lake closed to sport fishing due to the illegal introduction of large mouth bass and yellow perch.

These invasive species can severely impact other aquatic species and are considered a major threat to BC’s freshwater fisheries through effects of competition, predation, parasites and disease.

“Not only will they compete directly with the native fish populations, they also compete for food sources, and do a pretty good job. They are very good predators,” said Heather Lamson, a biologist with FLNRO.

For more information and to view the current regulations, visit www.env.gov.bc.ca or obtain a hard copy from a license vendor such as Kimberley Fly Fishing or St. Mary Angler in Cranbrook.

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