By Klaudia Van EmmerikAnchor/Reporter Global News
KELOWNA – It’s a popular river for anglers but they won’t be able to wet a line for about a month during the summer.
The Kettle River, east of Kelowna, flows through the towns of Midway, Rock Creek and Grand Forks before entering the United States.
Starting April 1, a catch-and-release restriction will go into effect to try to protect dwindling trout stocks. Also, for the first time ever, the provincial government is closing the river to all fishing for part of the summer. Travis Lowe is the founder of the Okanagan chapter of the conservation group Trout Unlimited. Having watched the trout populations dwindle, Lowe has been calling for changes for some time.
“There were massive die-offs,” he says.
Lowe says a big problem is the river’s low flow. With ranchers drawing water from the river, the levels are reduced and with the Okanagan’s hot weather, what little water is left heats up putting the fish in danger. Lowe says with less deep water for refuge, the fish become sluggish, easier to target and harder to revive.
While the catch-and-release regulations go into effect on April 1, the Kettle River will be fully closed to fishing from July 25 to August 25. The West Kettle, a tributary of the Kettle, will be closed to anglers for the entire month of August.
The Kettle River has made B.C.’s most endangered rivers list for the past seven years. It’s been at the top of the list two of those years.
Water withdrawals, seasonal low flows and high water temperatures all contributed to the dubious distinction.