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

Two mudslides close Seymour Arm road in North Shuswap, no one injured

Slides hit Seymour Arm Main Forest Service Road halfway between St. Ives and Seymour Arm

Lower lake levels could create bumper crop of invasive milfoil

The CSRD board received an update on efforts to suppress the invasive aquatic plant

Vernon and Sicamous cannabis stores get provincial nod

Spiritleaf in Vernon will be the Okanagan’s first cannabis store.

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Unsettled skies dominate the week’s forecast

A chance of thunderstorms is in the forecast for much of the Okanagan-Shuswap.

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

“Our community has had its heart broken”: South Okanagan celebrates life of David Kampe

Community and families members who knew Kampe give tearful addresses

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Penticton Vees alumni Massimo Rizzo gets picked up by Carolina Hurricanes

Rizzo captained the Penticton Vees during the 2018-19 season, was drafted 216th overall

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

Most Read