Drought and low water levels have prompted the B.C. government to ban angling in some streams and rivers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf islands.

The province has upped the drought rating for both areas to its highest level — Level 4 — and brought in new restrictions to protect the waning aquifers.

"As we experience warmer and drier weather, it is important that we are able to react quickly to protect vulnerable fish stocks," says Steve Thomson, minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations.

The ban on fishing covers particularly vulnerable areas: Bamfield south to Victoria on the west coast and Campbell River south to Victoria on the east coast. The key rivers affected include:

  • Caycuse,
  • Chemainus. 
  • Cowichan.
  • Englishman. 
  • Gordon. 
  • Little Qualicum. 
  • Nanaimo.
  • Nitinat.
  • Oyster.
  • Puntledge. 
  • San Juan.
  • Sooke.
  • Trent.
  • Tsable. 

The Qualicum (known as Big Qualicum) and Quinsam rivers are exempt, because they are deemed to have water refuges adequate to protect fish.

B.C. fisheries biologists are monitoring 75 other key streams across the province, to ensure fish are not too stressed. Lake fishing is unaffected.