The Province is once again conducting a pike reward program for anglers in southeast B.C. to help reduce the influx of invasive northern pike in the region.
To help reduce pike populations in the Columbia River, gain information on the distribution and abundance of this non-native invasive predator, and assess the impacts it is having on native fish populations, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is offering a chance for anglers to win $500 in fishing equipment.
To be entered in the draw, anglers must bring the heads of any pike caught in the Canadian section of the Columbia or Pend-d’Oreille rivers to the FrontCounterBC office located in Castlegar at 845 Columbia Ave. (Mon - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - noon, 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.). For each head returned, anglers will receive one entry in the draw. There will be four separate $500 prizes awarded, in the form of credit at participating sporting goods stores. The draw will be conducted on March 25, 2016.
While pike are native to much of northeastern B.C., they were not previously found in the Columbia River drainages of southeast B.C. Pike were illegally introduced into the system via the Pend Oreille River in the United States and are now working their way downstream into the Columbia River’s tributaries.
Pike are very good predators, and can consume large numbers of fish every day. Soft-bodied fish such as rainbow trout are often preferred food. Even when not directly preying on them, pike also compete with native fish for common food resources, possibly reducing their survival and size. Unchecked, there are serious concerns that pike could also impact recovery efforts for species such as white sturgeon and shorthead sculpin in the Columbia River. Pike are also known to carry diseases and parasites that are potentially harmful to local fish populations.
The Province encourages anglers to kill all pike they catch to help control their numbers. The daily quota for northern pike in the Columbia River is unlimited.
A similar program concluded in March 2014. That program required fishermen to have a pike head with a special chip inset into its head in order to win. The new program automatically qualifies any angler who brings a pike head in for a chance at a reward. Future programs to reduce pike numbers will be planned based on the information gained through angler returns.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations