An Okanagan man netted $1,100 in fines after catching more than six times the legal limit of rainbow trout on Saturday.
B.C. Conservation Service officers received a tip that a group of three men were fishing over their limit at Gardom Lake, near Enderby B.C.
Two officers went to the lake and watched the trio fish and spoke with the group as they were heading back to the boat launch.
"One of the individuals actually tossed a bag over the side of the boat that had fish in it," said Eric Tyukodi, one of the conservation officers involved with the incident.
Officers made the man retrieve the bag and when the fisherman got to shore, they found 19 rainbow trout on board — 13 more than the legal limit of two.
"These were nice fish too. They were all between four and five-pound rainbows. Definitely would have been good eating," said Tyukodi.
All of the fish were confiscated, along with two rods.
Tyukodi said one of the fishermen was responsible for catching all of the additional fish and his two friends were unsure of how to tell him to stop.
"You take them to shore … if not, you're a party to the offence and you did nothing essentially to stop them," Tyukodi said.
"It's very frustrating for us when we hear something like that."
Over-fishing can affect lake health
Tyukodi said all three of the fishermen knew the area and were from Kelowna and Vernon.
The man who caught the majority of the fish was charged under the British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations and the Wildlife Act. The conservation officers involved are recommending that the man not be allowed to fish in the future.
"The abuse of the resource — it takes away from you and me. It takes away from everybody in the province," said Tyukodi.
"If stuff like this is going on out there, in a couple of weekends that lake would be dead."
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Marg Sidney agrees that people need to be responsible when fishing on B.C. lakes. The Ministry of Environment biologist has been working at Gardom Lake since the early eighties.
She said people need to be aware of the broader impacts of their actions.
"The fish, the wildlife, the bugs, the turtles, you know everything that makes up the ecosystem of Gardom Lake — it all works hand in hand. We are only just a part of that," Sidney said.
People can report anyone over-fishing or poaching to the Conservation Officer Service using its anonymous RAPP line number.