Jude Moore did his part for the Kootenay Lake kokanee salmon this summer, hauling dozens of predatory trout out of the lake and winning a new kayak for his effort. “My family caught around 60 trout at Davis Creek this year,” said the 11-year-old kids’ derby winner from Nelson, BC. “I think I entered 30 fish in the draw this summer.” 

Kids under 15 years of age can enter the heads of rainbow and bull trout caught in the lake to win spectacular prizes from the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program. Moore and 10-year-old Abbigail Exner of Procter, BC, each won a new kayak for their entries from September. Abbigail’s brothers Ronan and Jonah have also won prizes in the derby. The program, now in its third season, is intended to draw down the population of trout in the lake to help in the recovery of faltering kokanee salmon populations, the primary food source for trout in Kootenay Lake.

 Local kids are doing their part with great success. Jude’s biggest trout of the season was a 13½-pound monster. “Since I’m really into fishing, I got my friend Elliot into it too,” said Jude. “Elliot caught a 10-pound bull trout and there were 53 kokanee fry in its stomach.” Jude is an avid angler, who started fishing in mountain lakes under the guidance of his grandfather at the age of four. These days he fishes from the shoreline and sometimes from a canoe with a trolling motor. The kayak will add a new dimension to his fishing excursions. “I have also fished from a kayak at Erie Creek and Davis Creek,” said Jude. “It’s really fun trolling along or casting from a kayak.” 

The derby is a citizen driven initiative intended to reduce the over-abundance of rainbow and bull trout in the lake and promote the recovery of their main prey, the endangered kokanee salmon. The Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program encourages anglers to harvest rainbow and bull trout in the main body of Kootenay Lake and then bring the heads to local depots to enter a monthly draw for a prize worth $1,000. In addition to the monthly prizes, this year’s grand prizes include a 2022 Ford F-150, with the off-road Tremor package, from Nelson Ford and a 2022 Polaris side by side from Main Jet Motorsports. Kids’ derby prizes include kayaks, fishing gear and zipline packages. 

HOW TO ENTER: Anglers must bring an intact fish head (or full fish for Woodbury tissue sample) to one of four return depos: Balfour Gill & Gift Gas Station, Woodbury Resort, Crawford Bay Market, or Wynndel Foods & Outdoor Gear. 

Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program is managed by the local West Arm Outdoors Club with support from BC Wildlife Federation, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and several local merchants from around Kootenay Lake. The Ministry urges anglers to continue to participate in this program and harvest their catch within daily quota limits to support the recovery of Kootenay Lake’s kokanee salmon.  More information on the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program: https://bcwf.bc.ca/kootenay-lake-angler-incentive-program/