Lois Lake and Khartoum Lakes

Regulation Number: 
2023-02-02
Status: 
Proposed
Region: 
Region 2 - Lower Mainland
MU: 
2-12
Regulation Type: 
Quota
Species: 
Hatchery Rainbow Trout
Closing Date: 
January 6, 2023 at midnight
Decision Statement: 

Pending

Current Regulations: 

Wild Trout/char daily quota = 2 (none 40 cm or more), hatchery rainbow trout (adipose fin removed with healed scar) = 4

Single barbless hook

Kokanee daily quota = 5

Proposed Regulations: 

Status Quo:

Single barbless hook

Kokanee daily quota = 5

Additional Regulations:

Rainbow trout/hatchery steelhead daily quota = 6 in the aggregate (no more than 2 may be wild and no wild trout over 40cm)

Wild char daily quota = 2, none over 40 cm

Rationale: 

This is a proposed change to address an immediate threat posed by escaped, non-sterilized rainbow trout (marketed as “steelhead”) from the Lois Lake aquaculture facility in Powell River, BC. The direct connection to Lois Lake requires the proposed regulation change to also apply to Khartoum Lake. Escapes from the facility net pens have been occurring for several years and is being addressed by DFO. Numerous angler reports and photo evidence of captures of extremely large-bodied marked rainbow trout throughout the lake also confirm the issue. 

The coastal cutthroat trout (Provincially Blue-listed species i.e. Special Concern) inhabiting Lois Lake and adjacent waterbodies are a unique, large-bodied population near Powell River, BC, and are highly prized by anglers. There is an immediate threat posed by the escaped, non-sterilized rainbow trout from the Lois Lake aquaculture facility which have the potential to hybridize with resident cutthroat trout populations and compete for resources (e.g., kokanee as a food source).

Increasing the quota for marked fish and removing any size limits is the quickest and simplest method of encouraging the removal of these escaped/invasive fish to minimize the risk to the local natural fish populations (i.e., cutthroat trout, kokanee). 

Additional Information: 

No specific surveys were conducted; however, there have been numerous anecdotal reports (including photo evidence) of large, marked rainbow trout being captured on the lake (up to 25 fish in one day between a group of 4-5 anglers). Since there is no other hatchery program on the lake, all marked fish present in the system would be escaped fish from the aquaculture facility. In addition, DFO has conducted an inspection of the facility and confirmed several non-compliance issues including inadequate containment.