Taking the bait: Painted turtles at McGuire Lake were being caught instead of stocked trout.

Turtles mistakenly hooked

McGuire Lake: Ministry plans to extend fishing dock.

Some anglers got more than they bargained for in the first season of family fishing on McGuire Lake.

Alerted by a letter from Salmon Arm resident Leanne McIvor, officials at the Fish and Wildlife Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations learned the lake’s resident painted turtles were also being hooked.

McIvor stated her concerns in a letter to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation earlier this month:

“One day a kid I talked to caught over 20 turtles. His hook was not barbed so he was able to save some, but over half of them swallowed the hook,” she writes.

McIvor ends her letter with an appeal for removal of the dock and an end to the program that  released 600 sterile trout into the lake last spring to enable families to spend time fishing.

“Do not let this pond be stocked again, and hopefully the population of the turtles may recover from this assault manmade,” she writes. “And the death of these turtles is on the hands of city council, government and your foundation, and by the way, a gross waste of taxpayers’ valuable dollars.”

That’s not the way ministry senior fish biologist Steve Maricle sees the program that is designed to encourage family fishing.

He says the program in which his department partnered with the City of Salmon Arm and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) was successful, but notes concern for the turtles and plans to try to rectify the problem next spring.

“This is very unique, we had never see it before. We had no idea they’d bite bait, but they do,” he says of the many other lakes and ponds that have been stocked in the family fishing program. “We looked into the biology of turtles and realized that, for the most part, they are really shore based.”

Maricle says the dock will be pushed farther out into the lake next year, which should put anglers away from the turtles.

“My understanding is kids need to be supervised by parents, something that provides another filter of conscience,” he says. “Even if the kids want to catch turtles, their parents will stop them.”

As well, Maricle says he wants to have someone at the lake recording activity when the turtles are active.

“We are also considering the addition of an enhanced ‘basking’ area on the opposite side of McGuire Lake,” Maricle writes in his Oct. 20 reply to McIvor. “This physical enhancement may assist in attracting the turtles away from the docks and further reduce the angler/turtle encounter rates.”

And officials have not forgotten other concerns expressed last year by opponents to the fishing program for McGuire Lake.

 

“If it’s a hotter year next year, we may have to re-look at it,” he says. “If on this pond, for whatever reason we can’t get away from catching turtles, we’ll consider other options.”

 

 

Just Posted

Year-round training envisioned for Salmon Arm’s Rapattack base

Mayor hopes council’s support of Rapattack will pay off in longevity for base

Column: Potentially valuable WorkSafeBC review let down by bias

Notes from the Legislature by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo

Boil water notice rescinded for Yard Creek Campground

Interior Health water testing shows acceptable levels of bacteria

Man jailed for fraud involving North Shuswap credit card thefts

Salmon Arm area man pleads guilty to six counts of fraud under $5,000.

One sent to hospital following Balmoral Road/Highway 1 collision

Violation ticket issued in second crash at Balmoral intersection in two weeks

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

In photo: Mount Ida Painters Guild’s works on display

Eleven artists featured in show at Senior Citizens Drop-in Centre, Aug. 23 and 24

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

Civil claim filed over motocross track west of Summerland

Track was constructed on agricultural land around 2016

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Most Read