Biologist says measures needed to protect steelhead trout from effects of rising water temperatures

Originally Published by CBC News, August 30, 2016

By Anna Dimoff

A senior biologist with B.C.’s Ministry of Fish and Wildlife says an annual late-summer fishing ban is needed in the Merritt area to protect steelhead trout from the impacts of rising water temperatures.

The province temporarily shut down fishing on Spius Creek and the Nicola and Coldwater Rivers this week.

Bilologist Steven Maricle said water temperatures have reached nearly 27 degrees Celsius recently; the mortality rate of catch-and-release trout increases once temperatures rise above 20 degrees.

“With the nature of the beast, climate change and all the rest of it, these systems are really susceptible,” Maricle said.

Despite the high temperatures, Maricle said authorities haven’t had any reports of trout dying because the fish appear to be finding cool pockets where groundwater is released.

“They do tend to survive even in these extreme temperatures, but they’re really selective about where they hold and rear,” he said.

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Photo courtesy of Alex Mason, CBC