Darin McKain’s lucky catch helped pay for his family vacation, with enough left over to pay for some maintenance on his boat. The native of Lacome, Alberta, landed four trout on a trip to B.C. last month and one of them netted him a $1000 prize from the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program.
“We were out enjoying the lake, the weather was great, it was nice and calm,” McKain recalled. “We took the kids out knee-boarding, did some kayaking and went fishing.”
The kids, Nathan, 14, and Mya, 11, are both budding anglers themselves, especially Mya, who won a WHATWHAT in the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program Kids’ Derby.
McKain caught a few fish from the shore and then, he and his wife Tracy spent the evening on the boat and caught another.
“We weren’t getting anything on top, so we used the downriggers and I was trolling down low and that’s when I caught the bull trout,” he said. “I have a picture of that one.”
The McKain family has been taking holidays at the Woodberry Resort & Marina since 2017, where they also keep their boat. Staff at the marina make sure that anglers know about the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program, McKain noted.
For his prize, McKain selected $500 gift certificates for Woodberry and Jones Boys Boats.
“It will come pretty close to paying for the holiday and some boat repairs, too,” he said. “We are coming back to try again in August.”
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. 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.
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.
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.