LETTER: Lake fishery can rebound

Chilliwack reader says restoration is feasible but will take time.

Re: “Dwindling kokanee numbers cause alarm

Sorry to learn that the main lake fishery is in trouble. This has happened before and will be restored as it has in the past. It will take some time.

The West Arm rainbow trout population has been highly reduced for more than 60 years and little or no effort has been made to restore this once fine fishery.

Prior to the late 1950s, more people  fished the West Arm than the main lake. The rainbows were not Gerrard scale but there were plenty of two to five pounders and they were far more numerous than the Gerrard giants. Many were caught on flies or by spin casting instead of tedious trolling.

The downfall of the West Arm rainbows began with Corra Linn dam and was hastened by Duncan and Libby. The arm transitioned from a river with spawning zones in the narrow portions like Fraser, Nine Mile and Grohman Narrows along with other locations to a lake where there was only occasional flow over the spawning beds which have become largely non-functional due to lack of current in the egg incubation period and sedimentation. A few fry are still produced at Fraser Narrows and Grohman but production is a faint shadow of what it once was.

The historic spawning beds need to be carefully assessed, then restored by adding and shaping fresh gravel and adjusting the flow regime to provide a constant current though the spring and early summer period.

This is feasible and would go a long way toward restoring a once amazing fishery that provided some of the best rainbow angling in the province, which is world renowned for its rainbow trout fishing!

Ted Burns

Chilliwack

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