Drought forces province to close recreational fishing in many Okanagan streams | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Drought forces province to close recreational fishing in many Okanagan streams

The province has closed the recreational fishery in the Okanagan until Sept. 15 due to the drought conditions.
August 11, 2021 - 5:05 PM

Bad news for anglers in the Okanagan – recreational fishing in some streams has immediately gone on hiatus until Sept. 15 due to the drought.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development announced the closures today, Aug. 11, as low water levels and higher-than-normal water temperatures are creating challenges for fish habitats in the valley.

“Particularly those released after being caught, such as bull trout,” according to the ministry press release.

The decision to close recreational fishing for more than a month in many Okanagan streams comes as the Southern Interior continues to experience drier-than-normal conditions in 2021, which has resulted in early snowmelt and low flow rates. Several streams have already reached Drought Levels 3 and 4 and B.C.’s River Forecast Centre is expecting dry conditions to continue in the short term.

“This applies to all streams in Management Units 8-1 through 8-15 and Management Units 8-21 through 8-23, which are located in the regions around Christina Lake, Grand Forks, Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton, Keremeos, Princeton, Summerland, Peachland, Kelowna, Vernon, and Cherryville.”

“Water temperature is highly correlated to ambient air temperature; many water bodies are currently recording water temperatures of 25 to 30 Celsius. Temperatures in this range are stressful for fish and any released after being caught will have difficulty recovering.”

Even when there are no restrictions in place, anglers should always avoid bodies of water with surface water temperatures above 20 degrees, as recommended by the Thompson-Okanagan Fish and Wildlife Branch.

Anglers who notice any off-side activities are encouraged to report their suspicions to their local Fish and Wildlife office or RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

— This story was updated at 9:16 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021 to clarify the closures applies to streams.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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