Fish endangerment casts restrictions

Victoria is suspending all angling in Middle Shuswap River due to warm water temperatures and low flows.

Trout are now off hook, along with salmon.

The provincial government is suspending all angling in Middle Shuswap River due to warm water temperatures and low flows.

“There’s a few trout in there so there’s some concern,” said Mike Ramsey, manager of provincial fisheries.

Along with trout, there are salmon congregating in refuge pools, which the new suspension aims to protect.

“It’s not really ethical to fish there whey they are that confined.”

The suspension came in effect Thursday and runs until Sept. 30 for all angling in the Middle Shuswap River, downstream of Shuswap Falls to Mabel Lake.

“They (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations) just don’t want any fishing.”

The fish are already stressed due to the low flows and near-fatal temperatures.

“The temperature is high, it’s between and 18 and 22 degrees,” said Ramsey.

“Their optimal temperature is below 15 degrees. Once you get into 22 to 25 temperatures, those can be lethal.

“The best thing to do is leave them alone.”

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has also closed the Middle Shuswap and the two closures will support one another.

“We’ve closed about 50 different rivers and we’re watching another 40 rivers,” said Ramsey, who hasn’t seen conditions this bad before.

“We have closed other rivers before but not on this scale.”

If conditions warrant, additional closures are possible.

Salmon fishing was also recently cut off in all waters in the Okanagan-Thompson region by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

But trout fishing isn’t expected to be impacted in local lakes.

“Lakes won’t be affected because the bottoms are cool enough,” said Ramsey.