The bait has been set to hook more local residents into a favourite pastime.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. released 6,000 fish into Swan Lake last week – hoping to attract more anglers to the local lake.
Trucked over from the Summerland Trout Hatchery in giant oxygen-fed tanks, the 14-month-old, quarter-pound rainbow trout made their splash into Swan Lake Wednesday and Thursday.
One of 900 streams and lakes that are stocked annually with a combined 10 million fish (including the ponds at Polson Park), Swan Lake has long been part of the stocking program.
“There’s been efforts for decades here in Swan Lake,” said Darren Greiner, Summerland Trout Hatchery assistant manager.
Without it, anyone wanting to sink a line in the local lake wouldn’t hook onto much worth bringing home for dinner.
“Because there isn’t any natural spawning here, without the stocking program there wouldn’t be any recreational fishing out here,” said Greiner.
While there are hundreds of great mountain fishing lakes in the North Okanagan, not everyone can get to them, therefore the stocking program makes it easier for more people to get hooked on fishing.
“It’s providing really good fishing in an urban setting.”
A variety of fish species have been stocked in Swan over the years, but it is the Fraser Valley rainbow trout that are thriving best in the local lake.
Since these trout have been introduced, they are not only surviving longer and growing faster, but they are attracting more anglers to the area.
“We have definitely noticed in the past couple years there’s been a marked increase in the number of anglers here,” said Greiner, while a father and son pushed off in their canoe for a fishing adventure and another fishing enthusiast waited to load his boat into the water.
“We put these fish in and we expect that they’re going to be caught,” said Greiner, as 54 per cent of the funds from fishing licences purchased goes directly to the Freshwater Fisheries Society, “and that helps to fund the stocking program.”
One major reason the trout do so well in Swan Lake is they don’t spawn and then die off three or four years after being introduced.
Because these species are sterilized, they live longer.
“These fish could live to be eight or nine years. They’ve got the potential.”
Sterilized fish are sexually confused fish – they are neither male nor female therefore they don’t bother trying to spawn.
In the egg stage, heat or pressure is used to hold genetic material in the eggs. It doesn’t harm the fish in any way or produce any deformities, it just confuses them as to whether they are male or female.
To learn more about stocking or how to obtain a fishing licence, visit www.GoFishBC.com.