The Whiteswan Lake Fisheries Management Plan attempts to protect native species such as westslope cutthroat trout.

The Whiteswan Lake Fisheries Management Plan attempts to protect native species such as westslope cutthroat trout.

Whiteswan management plan protecting cutthroats

Native East Kootenay fish species, the westslope cutthroat trout in particular, are in need of protection.

 

Native East Kootenay fish species, the westslope cutthroat trout in particular, are in need of protection, a situation that has prompted the Whiteswan Lake Fisheries Management Plan, fish biologist Heather Lamson told members of the Lake Windermere Rod and Gun club at the club’s most recent meeting.

“The problem is hybridization between westslope cutthroat trout and introduced rainbow trout,” said Ms. Lamson, a biologist with the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations, at the February 20th meeting. “This is the reason for the plan.”

Rainbow trout are one of the most introduced fish species on the planet, she said, and are present in many places across the East Kootenay. The rainbow breed with the cutthroat, creating reproductively viable hybrid offspring. These hybrid offspring are helping reduce the range of westslope cutthroat across the continent to the point that westslope cutthroat are considered a “listed” (threatened but not yet technically endangered) species and are now found in only eight to 20 per cent of their traditional range (Alberta, Montana, Oregon, Idaho and B.C.). The highest elevation reaches of rivers in the East Kootenay are one of the few spots in which they haven’t suffered such drastic range reduction.

“The East Kootenay really is their stomping ground, one of their last strongholds and that’s why we need to do something,” said Ms. Lamson.

A management plan is needed specifically for Whiteswan Lake since the lake is one of three major rainbow trout hotspots in the East Kootenay (along with Lake Koocanusa and Summit Lake), and it is connected to the White River drainage through Outlet Creek, she said. The upper reaches of the White River are particularly rich westslope cutthroat habitat.

“Whiteswan is not the only problem,” she said. “Koocanusa is also a big problem, but Whiteswan is a concern because it is higher up in elevation gradient, higher up in the watershed, making it closer to the one of the few areas the cutthroat is still hanging on to, and because the White River (as westslope cutthroat trout habitat) is really worth protecting,” said Ms. Lamson. “At Whiteswan we still have a chance to do something before the problem moves up the White River.”

Several attempts at stopping out-migrating rainbow trout and rainbow-cutthroat hybrid from heading out of Whiteswan Lake and up the White River have already been made, including a fish fence put up in 2007 (which washed out in during spring runoff) and fry traps installed in Outleek Creek in 2009 and 2010, but more needs to be done, Ms. Lamson told the club.

“We need to put up a barrier of some kind,” she said.

A Habitat Conservation Trust Fund proposal for the area for 2014 and 2015 involves genetic sampling in lower Outlet Creek, manual removal of Rainbow trout is key areas and hiring an engineer to draw up plans for constructing a fish barrier on the lower Outlet Creek.

“We still want a viable fishery in Whiteswan Lake but we want to prevent rainbow trout from getting up the White River,” said Ms. Lamson.

The Natural Resource Operations ministry often stocks lakes in the East Kootenay with triploid rainbow trout (a reproductively unviable type of rainbow trout) as a way to help conserve wild stock while at the same time offering fishers some great lakes and rivers in which to cast their rods, she said.

“There are people who don’t like triploids for whatever reason, but we have to do what we can to protect wild species,” said Ms. Lamson.

Those wanting more information on the plan can contact Ms. Lamson at heather.lamson@gov.bc.ca .

 

 

Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read