Haida Gwaii Seasonal Bait Ban

Regulation Number: 
2023-01-01
Status: 
Proposed
Region: 
Region 1 - Vancouver Island
MU: 
6-13
6-14
Regulation Type: 
Method/Gear/Bait
Species: 
All species, focus on Steelhead and cutthroat trout
Closing Date: 
January 6, 2023 at midnight
Decision Statement: 

Pending

Current Regulations: 

Single barbless hook in all streams.

Must release:

Trout/char under 30 cm from streams

All wild steelhead

Proposed Regulations: 

Status Quo:

Single barbless hook in all streams.

Must release:

Trout/char under 30 cm from streams

All wild steelhead

Additional Regulation:

Bait ban in all streams of Haida Gwaii November 1 – April 30

Rationale: 

Steelhead populations are in decline across their range.

Hooking mortality for caught and released fish is higher when fish are captured with bait, and the effect on populations including non-target species such as cutthroat trout can be significant.

This regulation is intended to reduce angling associated mortality on caught and released steelhead and other vulnerable species (i.e., cutthroat trout), and align with management of other West Coast Region steelhead populations. This regulation represents a precautionary approach to steelhead management given their widespread declines and aligns with the management objectives of a strictly catch-and-release fishery.

Additional Information: 
  • River Guardian surveys on the Yakoun River steelhead fishery indicate that the prevalence of bait-usage in that fishery is variable but at times prominent.
  • Steelhead Questionnaire data (STQ) show a general pattern of declining steelhead catch and effort for systems of Haida Gwaii, consistent with larger geographic trends of declining abundance, and marine survival information from Keogh River.
  • As a function of watershed size and smolt production capability, steelhead abundance in most systems of Haida Gwaii is expected to be low relative to management targets.
  • There is abundant evidence that bait substantially increases hooking mortality for caught and released trout.