Study provides chance to reel in cash

As a kid I squandered a lot of hours casting a line to the trout just below the first fall in Chase Creek.

As a kid I squandered a lot of hours casting a line to the trout just below the first fall in Chase Creek. Those were idyllic days without much care or worry.

Since then I have managed to reel in pretty well every species of fresh water fish this province has to offer. I cannot, however, say that I have a favourite species of fish, or even a favourite fishing spot. It’s more about just getting away from everything than the actual catching of fish.

This summer though, according to a recent notice issued by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, anglers throughout the province will have the opportunity to reel in more than just their favourite species of fish. Coinciding with its 10th anniversary, the FFSBC is launching a new, province-wide research project that requires the help of anglers, in return for rewards totalling more than $15,000.

Beginning this month, and continuing through to the fall of this year, the FFSBC is marking approximately 300 of its catchable size, hatchery-raised rainbow trout with individually numbered neon-pink tags bearing a toll-free number. The trout will be released into some 40 lakes around the province and anglers who catch one of these tagged fish are being asked to remove the tag and call the toll-free number. Provided they have a current BC fishing licence and any required stamps, the FFSBC will send the first 150 “tag reporters” a $100 reward. (Subsequent tag reporters will receive gift certificates of various values for fishing supplies.)

The specific locations of the tagged fish releases are not being revealed, but the FFSBC confirms that fish will be released into multiple stocked lakes in each of the province’s eight fishing regions, including the Shuswap.

“We need the help of BC anglers to conduct this research, and it’s only fair to reward them for their efforts,” says FFSBC vice president Adrian Clarke. “The data gathered will help us continue to improve the province’s small lakes fisheries.”

Data gathered from the tagging project will provide stock assessment information and assist in the management of the provincial stocking program. The project will also add essential information to an ongoing, multi-year, large-scale research study funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and FFSBC. The study uses the rainbow trout fishery of British Columbia as an experimental system. With its mix of about 800 hatchery-stocked lakes and more than 3,000 wild stock lakes, fishing quality can be easily manipulated without raising conservation concerns.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC was created in 2003 as a private, not-for-profit organization, funded largely through freshwater fishing licence revenues. The Society works in partnership with provincial fisheries managers to deliver fish stocking programs that support 50 per cent of all sport fishing lakes in the province, delivering between six and eight million fish annually. It also operates conservation fish culture services for sturgeon recovery programs, and various other initiatives to enhance participation and access, such as Learn to Fish and Fishing in the City programs.

Whether or not you are one of the lucky anglers who reels in a specially tagged fish, you can still enjoy the benefits of all the work that the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has been doing over the years.