Aidan Burt and Roman van’t Land had one of their best fishing weekends ever at Johnson’s Landing on Kootenay Lake and topped their haul by each winning a new kayak. 

The fishing friends from Nelson each entered trout heads in the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program Kids’ Derby, which awards more than 30 prizes each season for rainbow and bull trout. Fishing from a 16-foot metal skiff at the Burt family cabin, the pair landed a bucketload of trout. “It was amazing day and one of the best fishing weekends I’ve ever had,” said Roman. “I entered one rainbow and two or three bull trout heads, but we caught a lot more fish than that.” 

These young anglers really know their stuff. “At that time of year, the kokanee are spawning and there are schools all over the water,” Roman explained. “So, I was using a Len Thompson red and white spoon, because the white imitates the kokanee a bit more. For that time of year, it works really well, and you don’t catch the kokanee.” That’s an important point. The angler incentive program is geared toward catching as many of the lake’s trout as possible to correct a predator-prey imbalance with the dwindling kokanee. 

“I was amazed that I won,” Roman said. “Aiden’s brother entered 10 fish heads and his friends entered 15 or so. I just entered three and I won. Then Aidan won the same prize.”  “It was crazy,” agreed Aidan.  

The new kayaks are already getting a workout.  “I took mine out on Erie Lake near Salmo, where I go for largemouth bass,” said Aidan. “I caught five of them.” 

Anglers who are 15 years of age or younger can enter their rainbow and bull trout catches to win one of more than 30 prizes, including kayaks, fishing gear, Kokanee Zip Line tickets and Ainsworth Hot Springs passes. Entries will be taken until September 30. 

“This program reduced rainbow trout and bull trout abundance faster than any other recovery action implemented to date,” said Molly Teather, Fish Biologist, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development B.C. “In the absence of these predators, kokanee will likely have a better opportunity to survive to maturity and reproduce. We anticipate this last year has made significant steps towards the goal of recovering kokanee and the Kootenay Lake trophy trout fishery.” 

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 B.C. 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.  

More information on the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program: https://bcwf.bc.ca/kootenay-lake-angler-incentive-program/

BC Wildlife Federation