Kootenay Lake Anglers: Two Weeks Left to Get Your Heads in the Game!

There are just two weeks left of the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program. Get your rainbow or bull trout head out of your freezer and to your local depot before the program closes on May 31 for a chance to win the $50,000 Grand Prize or $1,000 in local gift certificates!

The final Grand Prize draw is planned for early June.

Last month’s lucky winner of the monthly draw was Ed Gudjonson of Creston, B.C. Ed collected the April prize of $1,000 in gift certificates at local businesses. Ed fishes with his uncle, Allan Mather, who won in March. Together their 4-person crew have entered 200 fish over the course of the program.

In catching and retaining Kootenay Lake trout, fishers like Ed and his family are supporting conservation and giving the juvenile kokanee a chance to grow. The kokanee are the primary food source of rainbow and bull trout. The abundance of these species in the lake is suppressing the kokanee.

“Since its launch in June 2020, the program has been a great success. It encourages anglers to participate in a fisheries program that has the goal of reestablishing the predator-prey balance in the main body of Kootenay Lake by reducing the predators – rainbow and bull trout. Also, with kokanee closure it is hoped the prey species will recover to historic levels while supporting resident anglers and local business,” says Gordie Grunerud, President West Arm Outdoors Club.

There have also been important economic benefits for local businesses, and more people have been inspired to enjoy the outdoors and participate in a favourite B.C. pastime.

As Randy Zilonka, owner of Gill & Gifts Depot, one of four local businesses that established a depot for receiving submissions, said: “We are seeing a new interest in Kootenay Lake fishing and…after 7 years of declining tackle sales, we are seeing an increase this year. We can attribute a lot of this to the Angler Incentive Program, which in my estimation, has been a huge success, even exceeding West Arm Outdoors Club’s forecast.”

The 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 (FLNORD), Jones Boys Boats of Woodbury Creek and several local merchants from around Kootenay Lake.

You also have an opportunity to claim a $100 reward if you catch a rainbow or bull trout with an orange “$100 REWARD” tag on its fin. To claim the $100 reward, clip off the numbered orange tag, record the date and location of capture, and submit this information and the tag. More submission details are posted around the lake. This project is part of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s research.

More information on the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program.

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