Jetson Gibbs

Jetson Gibbs

The tale of the 25,000 fish that got away – on purpose

On Monday 25,000 young fish received the royal flush and made their way into their new home at Yellow Lake.

In less than 10 minutes, 25,000 young fish received the royal flush and made their way into their new home at Yellow Lake.

On Monday representatives from the Summerland Hatchery and the Keremeos-Cawston Sportsmen Association released 15,000 Rainbow Trout and 10,000 Eastern Brook Trout.

The fish were brought in by five-tonne truck from the Summerland Hatchery operated by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.

Brad Dearden, assistant Hatchery Manager, along with Laine Cosens prepared the truck for the big release.

“Basically what’s going to happen is we’re going to attach a big pipe to the back of the truck that goes into the tanks and we’re going to flush the fish out of the tank. That’s why we call it the royal flush,” Dearden said with a laugh.

Jetson Gibbs, junior rep for the sportsmen association, donned hip waders and made his way down to the boat launch and out about 20-feet into the water to hold the end of the pipe.

Within seconds thousands of fish flooded out the end of the pipe and into Yellow Lake and within about 10 minutes the three tanks and the pipe were empty and the fish were beginning to become accustomed to their new surroundings.

“That was pretty cool,” Gibbs said after the release of the small fish. “I didn’t think it would be that many.”

The fish are between eight and 10 grams in weight but within a year or two will grow to a decent catchable size.

“Right now they’re going to need to eat as much as they can and gain weight so they can make it through their first winter,” Dearden said.

Within minutes of being released the fish were jumping up out of the water to gulp air. The air helps the fish regulate the depths as they dive and try to surface.

“It’s just like a diver. They need air to help them with depth,” Dearden said.

Yellow Lake is one of the only lakes to be stocked annually by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.

“This is a very well fished lake. People come from all over to fish here,” Dearden said.

Except for people fishing the small fish only need to watch out for the loons or the occassional duck as far as predators go. At this point they are too large to eat for most other fish in the lake.

Kathaleen Gibbs from the sportsmen association said restoration projects are planned for the older wharfs at Yellow Lake to make fishing easier and more enjoyable for all.

“They’re older and they need some fixing up. We’ve got the high school coming and the fly fishing club next week and we’ll see what we can do,” she said.

Other upgrades are also in the works.