The deadline for feedback on the proposal is Jan. 11, 2019 (File)

To fish or not to fish: proposal to re-open Revelstoke Reach to angling

The proposal suggests to allow fishing along the banks of the Columbia River in Revelstoke

There’s a proposal to reopen the Revelstoke Reach of the Columbia River to angling.

Since 2015, the section of the river from Revelstoke Dam to the power line crossing approximately 300 metres upstream of the Illecillewaet River confluence has been closed to fishing. This area of the river is along the banks of the City of Revelstoke.

The change meant that fishing from the shoreline in Centennial Park or along the Big Eddy Greenbelt was prohibited.

Prior to 2015, this section was open to angling. The proposal says that the area was closed based on the Revelstoke Rod and Gun club concerns for excess bull trout harvesting, compliance and enforcement as there is no conservation officer in Revelstoke.

At the time of the closure, Gary Krestinsky president of the Rod and Gun Club said, “These new regulations are welcome but they only go partway to conservation.”

Krestinky said the club would have liked a larger area closed to fishing.

READ MORE: New fishing regulations in effect for Revelstoke area

Since the closure the B.C. government says they have received a large response from the public.

“The Ministry received a petition from the community (more than 200 signatories, on file) and other affected residents to rescind the closure due to impacts to youth and disabled anglers who lost most of their opportunity to fish,” says the proposal.

In 2017, the annual Arrow Lakes creel survey included harvest estimates for Revelstoke Reach. The survey determined roughly one per cent of bull trout caught in Upper Arrow Lakes is in the Revelstoke Reach.

“We think the bull trout population is in good shape,” says Matt Neufeld, fish biologist for Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Neufeld says bull trout populations fluctuate. In 2013 there was a full lake survey which determined there was 1,400 spawners in Upper Arrow Lake.

“Which is a good number,” says Neufeld.

The proposal notes that the recent survey determined that the concerns brought forward on excess fishing in 2015 were “biologically insignificant.”

It further stated that “anecdotal concerns of excess effort and harvest, which led to the original closure, are unlikely.”

The North Columbia Environmental Society wrote in an email response to the Review that one difficulty is that the reservoir is being managed like a lake rather than as a river.

“Unfortunately the Revelstoke Reach, although most of the time functioning as a river, is being managed as a lake with year round open seasons and harvest limits.”

They further write, “Many reports have been received of anglers catching large spawning rainbow trout in the spring and large spawning bull trout in the fall when the Revelstoke Reach is functioning as a river.”

The North Columbia Environmental Society writes that the fluctuation of the Reservoir can be problematic, such as when at low levels there is shallow water and few deeper holes for fish to wait until the dam releases more water.

“Anglers take advantage of this ‘fish in a barrel’ scenario that occurs most every evening and early morning and especially on week-ends when electricity demand is low.”

Current regulations for the Revelstoke Reach allow daily quotas of two trout/char that cannot be under 60 cm and only one bull trout over 60 cm. Anglers can only use single barbless hooks.

Neufeld says a number of people want an easy place to access for fishing, in particular for youth and people with disabilities.

He says the bank along the city, “can be easy to access. You don’t need a vehicle.”

However, the North Columbia Environmental Society noted, “the reversal is being toted as an opportunity for youth and disabled anglers, although all anglers will have the same opportunity. The best angling locations in this section of river have very steep, rocky shorelines and fast flowing cold water so safety issues should also be considered for all anglers.”

“When angling opportunity takes priority over conservation the outcome is not sustainable and the end results will impact anglers, fish, and the birds and mammals that rely upon healthy fish population.”

The public can view and provide feedback until Jan. 11, 2019 on this proposal at: https://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/ahte/content/re-open-revelstoke-reach-columbia-river-angling?fbclid=IwAR1pWPaHdilaDVJEPdazFtuPmgtMT4gb8uYDoQFiZekVPloAfNt96OCFIGY

Neufeld says the province will make a final decision sometime next year.

The Review did reach out to the Rod and Gun Club but did not get a response in time before publication. This story will be updated once the Club responds.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

Have your say on what it takes raising toddlers in Revelstoke

The study started collecting data last summer and is expected to continue until at least May

Avalanche control on Highway 1 near Revelstoke

Expect 20 minute delays at Three Valley Gap until 2 p.m.

Revelstoke RCMP investigating hit and run

A pedestrian was struck on Tuesday at Victoria Rd and First Street

Older Canadians highlighted in Kelowna film project to fight ageism

The project is part of a campaign to combat ageism

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Princeton – a Prince Town in waiting?

The Town of Princeton has been waiting 160 years for a Royal… Continue reading

Group builds shelters for Vernon’s stray cats

Twenty insulated cat shelters were constructed by volunteers and delivered around town

UBCO partners with Boeing to test new anti-ice coating technology

The coating could one day be applied to all airplanes to prevent ice buildup

True Stories: Okanagan memoir-writers, reading

Reading with local North Okanagan writers Art Dalton, Patti Shales Lefkos, Raven Dahl, Janelle Hardy

Kelowna’s last video store, Leo’s Videos, to remain open despite failed sale

Kelowna’s last video rental store will remain open and under its namesake’s ownership

Summerland drama students to stage Matilda

Story by Roald Dahl will be presented at Centre Stage Theatre in February

Most Read