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.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parents unhappy mould issue at Sicamous school not made public sooner

School District #83 says clean up of trouble areas will address air quality concerns

Fair pay? Revelstoke council seeks wage similar to Salmon Arm counterparts

Neighbouring mountain town pursues different path to increase remuneration

Proposed trail improvements would better connect Salmon Arm schools

Project would upgrade 350 metres of trail near middle, secondary schools

Shuswap mental health study: Grocery stores a destination for people in need of connection

Ongoing interviews provide useful insight to suicide prevention efforts

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

VIDEO: WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

‘Deeply sorry’: Former West Kelowna teacher offers emotional apology to student he sexually exploited

Judge will make decision on Bradley Furman’s sentencing in the coming weeks

Most Read