The next time Carl Johnson’s grandchildren come to town, there will be plenty of new gear to take fishing after the Argenta retiree reeled in $1,000 in prizes from the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program.
With a little help from his grandchildren, Carl has caught “50 or 60 trout” this season.
“Whenever they come up from Vancouver, they always say let’s go fishing and it’s still a thrill for them to come home and eat what they caught,” said Johnson, a former government employee. “It gives us some entertainment away from the computer, too.”
Johnson goes out two to three times a week when the weather allows for fly fishing from his 12-foot aluminum boat. His grandchildren usually troll.
“I’m teaching them flyfishing, but they are still learning so we just make sure to reel the fish in carefully because they can be bigger fish with pretty light tackle,” he said. “The bigger fish do have kokanee inside them, so I like to think the program is doing some good.”
The Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program is a citizen-driven initiative intended to reduce the over-abundance of rainbow and bull trout in the lake and promote the recovery of their main prey, the endangered kokanee salmon. Anglers harvest rainbow and bull trout in the main body of Kootenay Lake and then drop off the heads at local depots to enter a monthly draw for a prize worth $1,000.
“The prize is just a nice bonus, like, welcome to the New Year,” he added. “Eventually I’d like to get back to catching kokanee, but for now we have to let them all go.”
Johnson will redeem his two $500 certificates at Gill & Gift in Balfour and Main Jet Motorsports in Nelson.
“I’ll get some new fishing supplies at Gill & Gift to support them, since that’s where I’ve taken all my heads to enter,” said Johnson.
In addition to the monthly prizes, this year’s grand prizes include a 2022 Ford F-150, with the off-road Tremor package, from Nelson Ford and the recently awarded 2022 Polaris side-by-side.
HOW TO ENTER: Anglers must bring an intact fish head (or full fish for Woodbury tissue sample) to one of four return depos: Balfour Gill & Gift Gas Station, Woodbury Resort, Crawford Bay Market, or Wynndel Foods & Outdoor Gear.
Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program is managed by the local West Arm Outdoors Club with support from B.C. Wildlife Federation, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and several local merchants from around Kootenay Lake.
The Ministry urges anglers to continue to participate in this program and harvest all of their catch within daily quota limits to support the recovery of Kootenay Lake’s kokanee salmon.
More information on the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program: https://bcwf.bc.ca/kootenay-lake-angler-incentive-program/