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

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Pen High student Myles made this Little Library in his woodworking class and it now stand in front of West Bench Elementary. (Submitted)
Penticton Secondary student makes Little Library for primary school

The Little Library has been installed in front of West Bench Elementary

The Desert Centre in Osoyoos opened on Saturday for the season. (Contributed)
Osoyoos Desert Centre opens for the season

‘Getting out in nature is one of the most important remedies [during] COVID restrictions.’

The Pencticton Vees beat the Trail Smoke Eaters 7-0 in the second to last game of the season on Saturday. (Pentiction Vees photo)
Penticton Vees play last game of season today at 4 p.m.

The Vees have dominated the league in wins and play the Cranbrook Bucks at 4 p.m.

Book Shop by Michael Law
There’s magic and colourful history at Penticton’s largest and oldest book store

The Book Shop, like so many businesses, is wanting to turn the page to the end of this pandemic

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Spallumcheen councillors (from left) Todd York, Gerry Popoff, Christine LeMaire, John Bakker, Joe Van Tienhoven and Andrew Casson join Mayor Christine Fraser (fourth from left) in helping to proclaim the township open for business with new signage off Highway 97A. (Township of Spallumcheen photo)
Being open for business paying dividends for Okanagan township

Spallumcheen wins provincial award, new business and building starts increase

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault (13) tries unsuccessfully to deflect past West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick during the Warriors’ come-from-behind 7-6 BC Hockey Leaguje pod shootout victory Saturday, May 8, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors rally to edge Salmon Arm in shootout

Warriors overcome three significant deficits to post 7-6 BCHL pod win in Vernon; Silverbacks finish pod 9-7-2-2

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read