Signs posted by the Adams River Salmon Society ask people to stay out of the river when salmon are spawning. The society would like to see a ban on wading in the river enforced by the government. (Es Em/Facebook)

Adams River Salmon Society seeks to bar wading trout anglers from Shuswap park

Fishing guide believes ban could be replaced with education to protect spawning beds

Concern for disturbed spawning beds near the mouth of the Adams River, home to the Shuswap’s famous salmon run, have prompted a call to the federal government for restricted access.

The Adams River Salmon Society wants the federal government to prohibit anglers from entering the river from Tsútswecw Provincial Park during the spawning season.

Trout anglers who frequent the river are concerned the plan would effectively shut down the local trout fishery.

An Oct. 13 letter sent by the Salmon Society to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and circulated on their Facebook page, claims anglers have disturbed salmon spawning grounds as they wade across rivers and also found themselves in conflict with other users of the park.

“We have many visitors complaining to our staff on the fishermen’s behaviour as they blindly wade into the river and side channels destroying the redds (nests) and disturbing the spawning process,” the letter reads.

“We are unable to correct the issue as we have no authority in the matter.”

Salmon society president David Askew said they would prefer their request be enforced by the government as an outright ban during the spawning season. He said he believes a regulatory gap exists as the province permits catch-and-release trout fishing in the river, yet there are federal regulations around disturbing fish habitat which the society believes apply to wading in the river.

Read More: Special weather statement in effect for Okanagan Valley

Read More: Sicamous firefighters rescue cat from tree

Signs posted in the park ask users to stay out of the water, keep dogs out and refrain from throwing anything in. As the sockeye salmon spawn in the gravel along the edge of the river, the sign notes that disruptions near the fish can interrupt their spawning, while disturbance of the gravel can kill the salmon eggs or leave them exposed to predators.

The sign notes that fines can be applied under the Fisheries Act for disturbing fish habitat.

Sam Grenier, an angler and fishing guide who enjoys trout fishing on the Adams, said a ban on wading into the river is not necessary and a little more education can limit damage to spawning beds. Grenier said most of the anglers he has seen wading the river in a way that could harm the spawning salmon simply lack adequate knowledge about spawning beds and the impact the sediment kicked up by their boots can have.

He said enforcing a ban on wading would effectively shut down the trout fishery as the steep and vegetation-covered riverbank which the trail runs along are not suitable for casting a fly rod, even for skilled anglers.

Read More: Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Read More: Anti-gay street preacher facing charges in fight that left B.C. radio host with broken leg

When Grenier wades the river, he said he chooses the shallowest sections possible in areas where no salmon are spawning. He said the salmon spawning beds are most often found in two or three feet of water, and they can be avoided by keeping an eye out for salmon in pairs, depressions in the gravel, areas clear of sediment and other visual cues.

Grenier said signage at the park could be improved with some visuals showing people how to identify salmon redds. He added he would be in favour of anglers on the Adams having to pass a quiz to ensure they have the necessary knowledge to avoid harming the spawning fish or their eggs.

Askew said with salmon returns to the Adams river as low as they have been in recent years, any disturbance to the spawning beds carries serious consequences for the fish population.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Fisheries lawfishing

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

Just Posted

It was an opening day filled with blue skies, sun and COVID-19 protocols at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Passholders enjoy sunny opening day at Silver Star Mountain

Resort staff say parking reservations, COVID-19 protocols went smoothly Friday, Dec. 4

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Two arrested after attack at Vernon home

Police spotted around 43rd Avenue linked to Wednesday assault

Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton has been re-elected as Regional District of North Okanagan Chair Nov. 18, 2020. (Richard Rolke - Morning Star file)
North Okanagan district re-elects chair, vice-chair

Acton, Shatzko re-elected for third lap as chair, vice-chair

An Armstrong resident shared video of a beaver gnawing away on a stick to Facebook Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Robyn Civic Adnoh photo)
WATCH: Beaver gnaws away in Armstrong wetlands

A resident captured video of a beaver chewing happily in a local creek Friday

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

Summerland’s cenotaph was originally installed in front of the high school. The old school was located close to the corner of Rosedale Avenue and Jubilee Road. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Cenotaph and parks in Summerland honour fallen soldiers

Community memorials pay tribute to those who were killed in military service

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Information about the number of COVID-19 cases in Abbotsford and other municipalities poses a danger to the public, the Provincial Health Services Authority says. (Photo: Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)
More city-level COVID-19 data would jeopardize public health, B.C. provincial health agency says

Agency refuses to release weekly COVID-19 case counts, citing privacy and public health concerns

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
Kelowna hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced the Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Most Read