July 10, 2015 - 6:30 PM
PENTICTON – Fans of fishing across the province will be disappointed to learn that as of July 15 they will no longer be permitted to fish many rivers and streams in the South Okanagan this summer due to low flows and warming water temperatures.
For the rest of the summer all streams and rivers in the Similkameen drainage, the Kettle and West Kettle Rivers and all tributary streams will be closed to angling. That covers streams in Wildlife Management Units 8-2 through 8-7 as well as 8-12 through 8-14.
“The closure has been put in place to protect fish stocks at a time when they are vulnerable due to low flows and high water temperatures,” a release from the B.C. Government says. “Low water levels can impede the passage of salmon to spawning grounds, increase susceptibility to disease, or cause stranding or death due to low oxygen and high water temperatures.”
Lake fishing is not affected by the order but the geographic area covers most of the South Okanagan.
“B.C. government fisheries biologists are monitoring approximately 60 other key angling streams throughout the province, and if conditions warrant, additional closures are possible.”
The Government of B.C. has announced a Level 3 drought rating for the South Thompson, Nicola, Similkameen, Okanagan-Kettle and Skagit regions.
Level 3 drought conditions call for voluntary water use reductions of 20 per cent or more from all municipal, agricultural and industrial users. Staff with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations anticipate that these regions could experience significant water supply shortages in 2015.
Ministry staff are closely monitoring river levels and ecosystems and may upgrade the drought level if the weather continues to affect stream flows and water supply. Currently, there are low streamflow advisories in effect for Vancouver Island, the South Nicola and Western Similkameen Regions.
Water users are also encouraged to screen intakes to prevent fish from being pulled into water systems as water levels drop.
Should conditions reach Level 4, the highest rating possible, provincial water managers may temporarily suspend short-term water permits or industrial water licences in affected watersheds.
For more information on what you can do to conserve water, visit the Living Watersmart website.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015