Angling suspended in many local creeks

Angling has been suspended in many local creeks until further notice due to hot, dry weather Fernie has been experiencing this summer.

Due to extremely high temperatures and very little rainfall causing low water levels, the B.C. government is suspending angling for the southern Kootenays.

Effective Saturday, Aug. 15 until further notice, angling in most streams and rivers in the area is suspended, including the following: Michel Creek, Morrissey Creek, Coal Creek, Lizard Creek, Sand Creek and Kikkomun Creek and their tributaries. These streams are in Wildlife Management Units 4-02, 4-22 and 4-23. Other streams in these wildlife management units are unaffected.

Sgt. Cam Schley with Conservation Officer Services East Kootenay zone said closures like this aren’t common, and that it’s the dry, hot weather causing the closures.

“The mid-season closures of the streams is unusual,” he said. “That often doesn’t happen.”

Schley said a lot of his time right now is focused on fishing enforcements on the river.

The Elk River, for example, is classified so it requires fishermen to have special licensing to fish the river, and they are only permitted to use single barbless hooks.

“Some of the common violations we come across include not having proper licensing and not fishing with the proper gear.”

The reason for the single barbless hooks, he said, is because they are easier on the fish.

“Because the limits are fairly conservative, say for example on the Elk or Wigwam (rivers), so a lot of the fish you end up having to release, so it’s much easier on the fish. There’s a higher survival rate with the single barbless hook as compared to even the barbed hook where the mortality rate goes right up.”

The conservation officer said all rivers in the Elk Valley are quite heavily restricted rivers as far as regulations go.

“So people are best to consult the fishing regulations before they go fish one of those regular rivers,” he said, adding they can find that information online at www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/regulations.