The numbers of kokanee salmon found in Wood Lake have been dwindling, which has led to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to implement restrictions for the upcoming 2013 fishing season.
These new regulations will be enforced when the kokanee fishing season opens on April 15 and will be in effect until the season closes May 31. Other new restrictions include a daily quota of two kokanee per person and absolutely no fishing for kokanee permitted during the rest of the year.
Wood Lake is one of Canada's premier lakes for kokanee salmon, with over 10,000 angler days of fishing time each summer. But poor 'in-lake' conditions in 2011 led to only 6,300 kokanee returning to spawn, less than half the average of previous years.
In 2012, just over 2000 fish returned – the worst result on record dating back to 1994. Now, acoustic trawl surveys supported by the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund indicate that 2013 and 2014 returns will be very low as well, prompting this year's action to limit the fishery. Conditions improved last year and if they remain favourable, a full season harvest is expected by 2015.