The West Kootenay arm of the BC Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has launched a citizen science project to collect information on West Kootenay alpine lake fisheries. Photo: Jim Bailey

The West Kootenay arm of the BC Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has launched a citizen science project to collect information on West Kootenay alpine lake fisheries. Photo: Jim Bailey

Call for West Kootenay anglers to help with research project

Anglers can be rewarded by voracious trout that will strike at anything resembling a food source

The West Kootenay chapter of the BC Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has launched a citizen science project to collect information on West Kootenay alpine lake fisheries.

Over the past decades, many of the alpine and sub-alpine lakes were stocked with trout, sometimes by helicopter. Due to the increasing cost of the stocking program and evidence of low angler visitation to the lakes, the stocking and monitoring has stopped and there is a gap in recent information on the fish populations, many of which are self-sustaining. Stocked species include rainbow trout and cutthroat trout, which are well adapted to alpine lakes.

A beautiful brook trout caught in a West Kootenay alpine lake. Photo: Jim Bailey

A beautiful brook trout caught in a West Kootenay alpine lake. Photo: Jim Bailey

Many lakes are accessible by well worn trails, while others may require a backcountry adventure. Be sure to be prepared for the backcountry including bear spray and appropriate gear for rugged terrain. Anglers can be rewarded by voracious trout that will strike at anything resembling a food source as the ice-off season (June-October) is short in these high elevation lakes.

The West Kootenay boasts many hidden gems up in the mountains, including Arkansas, Barrett, Bayonne, Beatrice, Cahill, Curtis, Evans, Fletcher, Haiseldean, Marble, Monk, Noakes, Nun, Panther, Plaid, Rockslide, Ross, Shannon, Siwash, Waldie, Wee Sandy, Plaid, and Whitelady.

How can you help?

After visiting an alpine lake, fill out a simple questionnaire here and be entered to win a BHA prize pack at the end of the angling season. Information collected will be shared with local fisheries biologists to fill the gaps in lake surveys.

Any questions can be directed to bcbhawestkootenay@gmail.com.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a North American-wide conservation group which seeks to ensure North America’s outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife.

Visit www.backcountryhunters.org for more information.

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