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If reports are accurate, this invasive fish species suspected in the Kettle River 'will take over'

Provincial biologists are trying to confirm if reports of bass being caught in the Kettle River are true since the fishing season reopened on the river at the end of August.
Image Credit: WIkimedia commons
September 16, 2017 - 1:00 PM

PENTICTON - Concerns are being raised after a new - and unwanted - species of fish might have found itself a home in the Kettle River.

Fish and Wildlife Branch Senior Fisheries Biologist Tara White says her office has received a handful of reports of bass caught in the Kettle River since the fishery reopened at the end of August.

“To date we have confirmed the presence of largemouth in the Kettle River, downstream of Grand Forks near Gilpin. We have received a couple of reports of small mouth bass, however, they are unconfirmed and may have been incorrectly identified,” White said in an email today, Sept. 15.

White says the ministry is trying to confirm the species being caught are, indeed, bass. Once that is done, they will be in a better position to determine what, if anything, can be done to mitigate the issue.

White says if the species turns out to be largemouth bass, it won’t be as significant a concern as if they are smallmouth bass.

“Largemouth bass do not overwinter well in river environments. Smallmouth bass, however, can survive the winter and will thrive in a warm water system such as the Kettle River, which reaches 25 degrees Celsius in summer. The concern is that bass are considered an invasive species and will take over the habitat, negatively impacting the rainbow trout fishery. They eat almost everything and anything, including rainbow trout, eggs and fry,” White said.

Anglers fishing the Kettle River who think they’ve caught a bass are asked to record the location, with GPS coordinates and the closest road name if possible, photograph the fish, place it in a ziplock bag and freeze it. Contact the Region 8 Fish and Wildlife Branch in Penticton and fisheries staff will pick it up for identification, White says.

How the species ended up in the Kettle is not yet known. White says the matter is under investigation, with nothing confirmed at this point.

The fish is not native to the Kettle River.

Introducting fish into public water bodies is illegal in Canada without government authorization, with penalties of up to $100,000 for first time offenders and a prison term of up to 12 months for a second offence.

Smallmouth bass have been reported in the Kettle River but officials aren't sure the reports are accurate. They have specific instructions for what to do if you think you caught one.
Smallmouth bass have been reported in the Kettle River but officials aren't sure the reports are accurate. They have specific instructions for what to do if you think you caught one.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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