May 01, 2009
First $100 Fish Reeled In - Nineteen To Go
Joe Thorley shows off one of the tagged Gerrard rainbow trout in Kootenay Lake.
Having a Gerrard rainbow trout pulling on the end of your line in Kootenay Lake is a very thrilling experience. Hauling one out of the water and seeing a tag that will net you $100 makes the fishing experience even better. That’s what happened to Jake Zondervan recently.
In spring 2008, a total of 20 Gerrards (with a fork length greater than 50 cm) were fitted with bright orange "$100 Reward" tags. To claim the reward these tags are to be returned to the B.C. Ministry of Environment (MOE) office in Nelson, whether the fish is harvested or released.
The tagging project is spearheaded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) in cooperation with MOE. The reward money comes courtesy of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC), with additional project support from the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program.
"The goal of the project is to better understand the population dynamics of Kootenay Lake’s Gerrard rainbow trout" says Joe Thorley of Poisson Consulting Ltd, who is co-managing the project with Greg Andrusak of Redfish Consulting Ltd. "More specifically it will help us determine population levels as well as fishing and natural mortality rates."
In early April 2009 Zondervan of Nelson was fishing with local guide Kerry Reed in the South Arm of Kootenay Lake, and brought in a 63.4 cm, 6 lb 1oz tagged Gerrard rainbow trout.
"The success of the project relies on anglers returning the numbered, colour-coded, plastic tags,” says MOE's senior fisheries biologist, Jeff Burrows. "Whether or not the fish is released, anglers are asked to clip off the tags and return them to our office in the Nelson to claim the $100. We have also placed green $10 reward tags and blue standard tags on some fish that also need to be returned by anglers." This year the project will be tagging 30 large rainbow trout and 30 large bull trout with tag rewards totalling over $6,600.
Although it is still early days, the project is already providing some useful information. All the reward-tagged fish were also fitted with sonic transmitters, so when they swim past an array of buoys in the lake biologists can track their movements. The data show that over a four-day period in August of 2008, the very same fish that Zondervan caught swam from the bottom of the South Arm to the top of the top of North Arm – a distance of about 100km.
Anglers are reminded that they must have paid for a valid B.C. freshwater fishing licence plus the special conservation surcharge to fish for Kootenay Lake rainbow trout.
Anglers (as well as hunters, trappers and guides) provide direct financial support to the Kootenay Lake Large Rainbow Tagging Project and hundreds of other projects funded by the HCTF through the purchase of their licences and permits. For more information about the tagging project contact Jeff Burrows at MOE, (250) 354 6333.
Jeff Burrows, B.C. Ministry of Environment, 250-354-6333
Ministry of Environment (Fish and Wildlife),
401-333 Victoria St, Nelson BC, V1L 4K3.
Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program
103-333 Victoria St. Nelson, BC V1L 4K3 Canada
Tel (250) 352-6874 Fax (250) 352-6178