November 23, 2021

Freshwater Fisheries Projects Receive Funding

Since 2015, we’ve supported three joint provincial-Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC committees which fund priority projects that benefit recreational freshwater fisheries – both wild and stocked – around the province. Each spring, biologists and managers from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC prioritize projects identified by and submitted to members of the Small Lakes, Large Lakes, and Rivers committees.

Funding for these projects comes from freshwater angling licence fees. In 2015, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC began receiving 100% (up from 70%) of all freshwater angling licence fees. With this additional funding, the Society committed to broadening the scope of its activities to include joint initiatives with the Provincial Government.


Meziadin Lake Bull Trout Management Project

To be eligible for funding, projects must meet one or more of the following objectives:

1. Enhance the fishing experience
2. Attract and maintain public participation in recreational fishing
3. Maintain and improve the variety of fishing options available to the public
4. Maintain and restore healthy wild and enhanced fish stocks to support freshwater fisheries
5. Seek opportunities to support shared stewardship initiatives
6. Improve delivery of the freshwater fisheries program

2020 - 21 Funded Projects


Summaries of the projects completed in 2020-21 can be found here:

Projects Allocated Funding in 2021 - 22

 

2021-22 marks the seventh year of the program. The fisheries committees recommended 63 projects: 23 small-lakes projects (with a $347,043 budget), 20 large-lakes projects (with a $403,666 budget), and 20 rivers projects (with a $270,350 budget). 

The below includes examples of various types of fisheries projects underway this year:


Habitat Maintenance, Restoration & Enhancement Projects


West Coast Region Small Lake Fertilization Program (Region 1)

This project aims at increasing nutrient levels in select stocked small lakes on Vancouver Island to support trophy fisheries for rainbow and cutthroat trout.

Othello Falls Fish Passage Improvements (Region 2)
Funds contribute to ongoing improvements to fish passage for summer-run steelhead in the Coquihalla River. Read more on the blog.



Okanagan Stream Restoration Initiatives (Region 8)
Funds contribute to major mulit-year habitat restoration efforts on two key kokanee producing tributaries of Okanagan Lake, Mission Creek [Mission Creek Restoration Initiative - 2021 documentary film on Vimeo] and Penticton Creek


Stock Recovery & Enhancement Projects

Kootenay Lake Kokanee Recovery (Region 4)

Kokanee in Kootenay Lake have collapsed in the past six years. A multi-year recovery initiative is underway to rebuild this population. As part of the approach the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program was initiated. The program’s intent is to reduce predator populations in the short term by encouraging anglers to harvest rainbow and bull trout in the main body of Kootenay Lake.


Kokanee salmon.

Outreach & Engagement Projects

Gold River Steelhead Engagement (Region 1)
This project involves collaboration with the Mowachaht/Muchalat First Nations to promote stewardship regarding steelhead conservation, management of bycatch and habitat stewardship activities.

Aquatic Invasive Species Projects

Dragon Lake Goldfish Control and Assessment (Region 5)
This pilot program is assessing the effectiveness of removing invasive goldfish in Dragon Lake utilizing electrofishing techniques. Read more on the blog.


Goldfish caught at Dragon Lake. 

Angler Access Projects

Snow Removal - Cariboo Winter Access Improvement (Region 5)
Snow removal will ensure that popular winter fisheries on several small lakes for kokanee and rainbow trout in the Cariboo region remain accessible during snowy months.

Guardian Programs Projects

Kootenay River Guardian Program - non-classified waters (Region 4)
River Guardians will provide a fisheries presence for compliance monitoring, public relations and educational purposes on priority non-classified rivers in the Kootenay region.

Omineca Fisheries Ambassadors (Region 7A)
Fisheries ambassadors will conduct outreach activities and provide anglers with an opportunity to provide feedback on regional fisheries management in the Omineca region.


Stock Assessment Projects

Assessment of Cowichan Lake Cutthroat Trout (Region 1)
This multi-year initiative combines acoustic tags and high-reward tags to assess habitat use, movement, growth and mortality in large-bodied cutthroat trout of Cowichan Lake. Read more on the blog.


A Provincial biologist with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) angling for cutthroat trout on Cowichan Lake.

West Coast steelhead index stream monitoring (Region 1)
This project involves ongoing assessment of winter and summer steelhead stocks from representative west and east coast rivers on Vancouver Island to inform status and management decisions.

Horsefly River rainbow trout juvenile assessment (Region 5)
Juvenile assessment from this project will be combined with adult mark-recapture (being completed via partnership funding) to support management decisions for the Quesnel Lake and Horsefly River recreational fisheries.

Kloiya River Winter Steelhead Enumeration Project (Region 6)
This project will collect index population trend data for winter steelhead in the Kloiya River near Prince Rupert using a resistivity counter installed on the river.

Sugar Lake Bull Trout Creel Census (Region 8)
This project combines the use of stock assessment tools, high reward tags, habitat assessment, surveys of redds (where eggs are laid), angler interviews, genetic sampling and education/outreach to evaluate the status of bull trout in this large lake of the Upper Shuswap drainage and identify appropriate management tools to support fishery and conservation needs.

Omineca Burbot Fisheries Study (Region 7A)
This multi-year project involves the development of indices of burbot population structure and health, angler exploitation rates (in part through parallel Ambassador program), and evaluation of suitability of current angling regulations.

Angler Effort, Catch & Satisfaction Projects

Monitoring of angler effort using trail cameras and aerial surveys (Multiple regions)
Most administrative regions regularly evaluate angling effort on select small lakes using one or more tools including aerial boat counts, remote camera boats and creel surveys. Understanding the level of effort informs regulations and stocking decisions.

High-reward tag programs (West Coast, South Coast, Kootenays, Cariboo, Skeena, Omineca)
High-reward tagging programs underway across the province help generate much-needed biological information on selected trout populations. When anglers catch a fish with a high reward tag attached, they are more motivated to report the fish, providing much needed information (movement, growth, mortality rates) to help inform decisions around fisheries management including optimizing quality fisheries and meeting conservation needs. Read more on the blog.
 

Examples of past projects

Some examples of past projects include:

Please direct questions regarding the committees’ funded projects to fish@gofishbc.com

Author: Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC Staff
Photo Credit: Dan Krenz, Brennan Lund, Brad Marriott, Craig Orvis, Alisa Siemens, Diana Koller, Erin Rechisky, Dusty Waite.