Bob and Starla Ackney weren’t expecting much when they set out on for a mid-morning paddle Kootenay Lake last month.
“We took the kayaks out and decided to drop a line in the water and on my first cast I caught a nice rainbow trout,” Bob said. “Starla was having trouble with her rod, so I handed her mine and she cast out a few times and she caught one, too.”
Two shiny trout is a pretty successful morning, but it got so much better.
Bob had heard about the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program at Wynndel Food & Sports Gear and decided to turn in their trout heads to enter the prize draw.
The program encourages anglers to harvest rainbow and bull trout in the main body of Kootenay Lake and then turn in the heads to local depots to enter a monthly draw for a prize worth $1,000. This citizen-driven initiative is 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.
For their effort, Bob and Starla walked away with two $500 gift certificates, one from Wynndel Food & Sports Gear and the other from Jones Boys Boats. The win will go a long way toward subsidizing the Ackneys’ new hobby.
“I think we will rent a powerboat from Jones Boys and buy some more fishing gear at the Wynndel store,” Bob said. “Now that Starla has caught a fish, she said, ‘Oh, I like this!’”
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 a 2022 Polaris side-by-side from Main Jet Motorsports. Each main lake harvested rainbow trout or bull trout head returned to a depot is eligible for a draw ticket which will be entered in the monthly draw. All draw tickets will be entered into the grand prize draw in June 2023.
There is also a Kids Derby, giving those 15 and under the chance to win one of over special 30 prizes. The Kids Derby runs until July 31st.
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/