August 17, 2006
Williams Lake – Smallmouth bass have invaded a watershed
in the Cariboo, an event that has Ministry of Environment officials
concerned about their detrimental effect on the native trout
On July 14, 2006, two boys fishing with their father in Beaver
Creek, just upstream from where it enters the Quesnel River, caught
the first recorded smallmouth bass in Cariboo Region 5.
Ministry of Environment surveys have since captured four additional
bass from several lakes in the Beaver Valley watershed. The
confirmed distribution of bass in Beaver Creek now extends 40 km
upstream from the Quesnel River. Ministry biologists are continuing
to expand the survey within the watershed in an attempt to find more
Bass are not naturally present in Cariboo watersheds and pose a
direct threat to the quality of local fisheries and biodiversity.
Bass are aggressive predatory fish, often out-competing natural and
stocked species such as rainbow trout. They also pose a threat to
naturally occurring species of amphibians. It is presumed that the
bass were introduced to the system through unauthorized stocking.
There is a reward of up to $20,000 for evidence leading to the
conviction of anyone illegally stocking non-native spiny-ray fish in
B.C. The B.C. Wildlife Federation and federal Department of
Fisheries and Oceans are offering the reward through Crime Stoppers.
Perch, bass and sunfish, collectively known as spiny-ray fish, have
been found in many lakes in B.C., illegally transplanted by anglers
looking for a different type of fishing experience. The discovery in
the Cariboo is the farthest north in B.C. that bass have been found.
Anyone who thinks they may have seen bass, perch or sunfish in the
Cariboo Region should call the Ministry of Environment at 398-4530
or report the information through the province’s wildlife infraction
reporting hotline at 1 877 952- RAPP (7277), or #7277 on the TELUS
Mobility Network. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 1 800 222-TIPS