Kokanee restocking efforts show promise: province
Following reports of a high survival rate for kokanee eggs planted into the Kootenay Lake spawning channel at Meadow Creek and additional fry releases, the province has launched a comprehensive action plan to guide the ongoing recovery of local kokanee stocks, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson announced today.
As part of ongoing recovery efforts, provincial biologists released more than half a million kokanee fry this spring and more than 90% of the half a million eggs planted into the Meadow Creek spawning channel in the fall have now emerged as fry and entered Kootenay Lake, a Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations press release noted.
Meanwhile, the province released the Kootenay Lake Action Plan, which calls for enhanced monitoring, aggressive restocking, ongoing angling closures and an expansion of the nutrient restoration program.
The plan – which will be presented at a public meeting in Balfour on Thursday (June 16) – was developed under the direction of an expert advisory panel, and with the support of local First Nations, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and the BC Wildlife Federation.
Last fall, provincial biologists counted 18,000 spawning kokanee in main body of Kootenay Lake and its tributaries, the lowest number since the annual count started in the 1964. In response, the province initiated an aggressive restocking program, extended the nutrient restoration program and changed fishing regulations to decrease Kokanee harvest and increase Gerrard trout harvest.
Kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon and are second only to rainbow trout as the most popular game fish in B.C.