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New regs see unlimited walleye fishery on Pend d’Oreille

B.C. fishing regulations released this week saw a few changes for anglers in Region 4
Anglers should review the new B.C. Fishing regulations released last week with new licences required after April 1. (Jim Bailey photo)

Walleye anglers in Region 4 of the Kootenays will welcome changes to the BC Freshwater Fishing regulations for 2021-23.

The new regulations come into effect on April 1, and are released by the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources.

The regulations apply to all bodies of fresh water across B.C., which is divided into eight regions.

For Region 4, the most notable change for Greater Trail anglers comes on the Pend d’Oreille Reservoir, where the number of walleye anglers can keep went from zero to unlimited.

Designated an invasive species, fisheries regulations have prohibited anglers from keeping species that have been introduced to local waters.

However, like the northern pike, the walleye are voracious predators and the limit now falls closer in line with those on the Columbia River where the limit is 16 walleye, and pike and bass are unlimited.

The kokanee fishery was also reopened on Kootenay Lake. For the Upper West Arm, anglers can fish for kokanee on April 1 to April 3 and July 1 to July 2, with a daily limit of five.

Also, in the main body of Kootenay Lake the bull trout daily quota is three and the rainbow trout quota is five, with only two over 50 centimetres.

Anglers require a conservation surcharge stamp for all rainbows retained over 50 cm up to a total of 10.

Another change to the regulations will see Christina Lake, Region 8-Okanagan, allow anglers to use barbed hooks.

Region-wide, there is an amendment to the regional daily quota regulation of “15 fish of any size” to “15 fish no more than five over 30 centimetres.”

The general regulations include no fishing in any stream in Region-4 from April 1 to June 14, when the rivers are closed for the annual spawning period.

However, the Columbia River and Pend d’Oreille Reservoir are exempt from this particular regulation and angling is permitted all year.

While streams are closed during this time, lake fishing is still permitted (with some exceptions).

Single, barbless hooks must be used in streams, however, barbed hooks are permitted in most lakes, but check regulations to be sure.

Region 4 spans north from Cranbrook to Valemont, east to Alberta, south to the U.S. border, and west past Revelstoke, Nakusp and Castlegar.

There are many other changes across B.C. that will be in effect from 2021 to 2023, so it is important that B.C. anglers check the regulations in general.

Fishing license renewals will be coming up as well and available from April 1.

Starting this year, there are new license purchase options for anglers ages 65 and up.

Go Fish BC explained online that in response to public requests to support freshwater fishing in B.C., resident anglers over the age of 65 are now able to choose between purchasing a license for the regular rate of $36 or for the discounted rate of $5.

“The option of paying for a regular rate licence gives senior freshwater fishers the opportunity to support stocking and conservation efforts in the province, while still offering a reduced cost to ensure licence fees are not a barrier to access for senior anglers,” said Go Fish BC.

“One hundred percent of the revenue generated from fishing licences is distributed to two non-profit organizations to directly benefit recreational fisheries. Approximately $29 of a BC Resident Annual Licence goes to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC to fund research, conservation, education, and the provincial recreational stocking program.”