Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (BC NDP photo)

Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (BC NDP photo)

Cowichan Lake anglers are being offered a reward for catching tagged fish

You can get a gift card just for letting BC fisheries officials know you have caught a cutthroat

Anglers fishing in Cowichan Lake this year have a unique opportunity to be rewarded with gift cards for catching tagged cutthroat trout.

Provincial fisheries staff are partnering with the Kintama Research Services and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC to complete a five-year study on the health of Cowichan Lake’s cutthroat trout population. The study began this year and will continue until April 2025.

As a part of the study, 80 cutthroat trout have been tagged with brightly coloured Floy T-bar anchor tags and released back into the lake.

Out of these tagged cutthroat trout, 42 fish have been implanted with acoustic tags. Acoustic tag receivers installed in Cowichan Lake will allow researchers to track individual fish.

“Studies like this are a valuable component of ensuring our province has a healthy trout population now and in the future,” said Doug Donaldson, minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “I encourage anglers to participate in helping our fisheries staff evaluate the survival and movement patterns of cutthroat trout.”

A similar study, which began last year, is ongoing in Horne Lake and will continue until April 2021. Almost 200 cutthroat trout have been tagged with the Floy anchor tags and released back into Horne Lake.

The studies aim to measure the health of the population by determining mortality rates and tracking fish movements into the surrounding tributaries during spawning. This information will allow fisheries managers to evaluate the effectiveness of existing regulations and ensure the long-term sustainability of the trout population.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is offering gift cards of $100 (per fish) to anyone who catches and reports one of these tagged fish. This will help researchers understand the rate at which the cutthroat trout are harvested by anglers.

Anglers will need to remove the tag from the fish. Anglers not wishing or permitted to harvest a tagged fish can remove the tag from the fish (using nail clippers or scissors) prior to releasing it. Tags can either be delivered to the front desk at the ministry office located at 2080A Labieux Rd. in Nanaimo, or anglers can take a photo of the tag and email it to: Brendan.Anderson@gov.bc.ca