Sockeye on the run give them a break

Fishery opened Thursday for sockeye run in the South Okanagan

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has set August 1 until further notice for this year’s recreational sockeye salmon fishery in Osoyoos Lake.

In season information will be used to determine the closure of the fishery, please refer to the DFO website, www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc,ca/rec/index-eng.htm for more information.

As of July 26, 59,000 sockeye had crossed over the Wells Dam.  It is anticipated the run will exceed the 80,000 fish needed to establish a harvest from this run.

The criteria for harvest, total allowable catch (TAC) is based upon the following: conservation first, food, social and ceremonial fishery for First Nations then recreational fishery and finally commercial fishery.

As well as return numbers, environmental conditions such as water temperature and level are considered in the expected number of fish that will make it to the spawning areas.

These factors are also taken into consideration when deciding on opening and closing any fishery.

Anglers should be aware that in the last few years sockeye have due to high water levels made it past the dam at Okanagan Falls into Skaha Lake.

This year, with the high water, there is a greater chance of more fish than normal making it into Skaha lake.

There is no fishery for salmon in Skaha Lake and any sockeye caught must be released back into the lake.

Anglers fishing for Kokanee, which are in fact a landlocked sockeye, could catch sockeye in Skaha Lake.

Please help these fish complete their return to the Okanagan channel from where they started their journey.

The Okanagan First Nations have worked extremely hard to bring these fish back to the Okanagan so every effort we as sport anglers can do to help will be appreciated.

Kokanee are very bright silver fish while a sea-run sockeye will be in spawning colours, very easy to tell them apart.

Salmon fishing in Osoyoos Lake for the past few years has been excellent.

Anglers troll for these fish using weights to get down to the deeper cooler water where the sockeye hold waiting to go upstream when the Okanagan river cools down later this fall.

Silver flashers and pink hoochie lures seem to be one of the favourite ways to catch these fish.

DFO will have a boat on the lake again this year so be sure to have your salmon tag and keep only the limit allowed.

Bob Otway

Sport Fishing Advisory Board Thompson Okanagan