File photo Because of mild temperatures, the annual Family Day ice fishing event at Yellow Lake is not going ahead this year.

Warm winter cancels Family Day fishing event near Penticton

Organizers weren’t sure if there would be enough ice to hold annual fishing event at Yellow Lake

  • Feb. 13, 2019 6:00 a.m.

Warm temperatures this winter scared off organizers of the annual Family Day fishing event at Yellow Lake.

“Unfortunately with the temperatures being very mild, until recently, we weren’t confident enough in the ice conditions to schedule the event. It’s disappointing but ensuring everyone’s safety is our first priority,” stated Eric Hegerat, a fisheries biologist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Provincial representatives along with local recreation groups including the Keremeos-Cawston Sportsmen Association and the Penticton Flyfishers Club help organize the day-long fishing event, which includes access to fishing rods, bait and even a hot dog and hot chocolate lunch.

Related: Young fishers on ice

Each year the event draws people from surrounding areas including Penticton, Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos and people from farther away who are in the area for the Family Day weekend.

Hegerat said heading into winter fishing was good at Yellow Lake. The lake located on Highway 3A, is stocked with rainbow trout and Kokanee each year.

“We had a significant winter kill last year which was likely caused by the long period of ice cover and not related to the rock slide. We lost all but one age class of rainbow trout and we think all of the Kokanee stock,” Hegerat said.

In response to the winter kill, 5,000 large Fraser Valley rainbow trout catchables were brought to the lake in the spring.

It’ll take a few years before the Kokanee stocks are replenished.

“Because we only stock Kokanee as fry, it will be three to four years before that fish stock recovers. I’ve spoken with a number of anglers who reported good catch rates and size for rainbow trout this winter,” he said.

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