Fishing : Pikeminnow removal starts at Cultus Lake

Posted on May 25, 2009

Adult Northern Pikeminnow are abundant in Cultus Lake and are considered predators of sockeye salmon fry. The removal of Pikeminnows from Cultus Lake has been conducted by the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) for a number of years. A fishery to remove pikeminnows started this week, funded by the Salmon Table Society. An evaluation of previous efforts did indicate that the removal of these predators can increase survival of sockeye fry in the short term, and may have long term benefits to population numbers. The protection of freshwater survival of smolts is critical to the recovery of the species, especially so in the brood years.

A Cultus Lake Pikeminnow


The lake-spawning Sockeye have been reduced to low numbers and part of the problem is thought to be predation combined with with overfishing. Pikeminnow reduction was one of the recommendations from the Cultus Lake Sockeye Recovery Strategy. Sport and commercial fishermen have joined forces in recent years to help with the effort to control the pikeminnow in the lake in the annual Pikeminnow Fishing Derby which will be held this year on Sunday June 14th starting 07:00hrs and is organized by the Fraser River Salmon Society (FVSS).

Cultus Lake Sockeye are currently being reared at a number of enhancement facilities in the lower Fraser area and on Vancouver Island. This project began back in 2000 and the objective was to raise 500 mature individuals in captivity each year to boost stock numbers. The eggs spawned in captivity are released as fry in their first fall or as smolts in their second spring.

What can you do?

The Cultus Lake sockeye salmon will get the protection it needs only if we can work together to reduce threats. You could …

1. Join the Greg Clark Memorial Pikeminnow Fishing Derby and help remove one of the sockeye’s predators in Cultus Lake

2. Find out more about sockeye salmon and be aware of human-induced threats. Do your best to reduce these threats wherever possible to better protect the salmon’s critical habitat.

3. Why not get involved with the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk (HSP) or another conservation organization.

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