Too many anglers breaking rules, say Yukon conservation officers

Officers handed out 11 fines and six warnings last weekend, to anglers using barbed hooks where they shouldn't.

Officers handed out a bunch of fines last week to anglers using barbed hooks

Conservation officer Dave Bakica says many anglers seem to be unaware of the regulations around barbed hooks, or are ignoring them. (CBC)

Yukon conservation officers say too many anglers are breaking the rules around ice fishing by using barbed hooks where they shouldn't.

Conservation officer Dave Bakica said 11 fines and six warnings were handed out last weekend just on Little Atlin Lake.

"It was a high percentage of people that were non-compliant," said Bakica.

"It appeared to us that they just didn't take the time to read the regulations, and look at what they should have been doing," Bakica said. "This barbless regulation has been in place for 15 years. So we're not talking about new stuff here."

Barbed hooks can be filed down or pinched with pliers to remove the barb. (Government of Yukon)

Barbless fishing hooks are recommended for use anywhere in Yukon, and are mandatory in many lakes and rivers. They are also mandatory for any salmon fishing in Yukon.

Bakica says it's about improving the chance of survival for a fish that's caught and released. Barbed hooks are harder to remove without harming the fish.

"You can damage the fish, they bleed... you may not see it immediately, but they'll bleed out for a while. They can get some infections and things like that as well," he said.

Conservation officers say they're out on the ice every spring, enforcing fishing regulations. (Facebook/Yukon Conservation Officer Services)

Barbed hooks can be easily be filed down or pinched with pliers to remove the barb, he says. 

Bakica said officers will continue to hand out fines, as necessary.

"There's always a myriad of explanations as to why they have a barbed hook," he said.

"We try to generate voluntary compliance as much as possible, we try to educate as much as possible, but after 15 years, there needs to be some other things done."

With files from Sandi Coleman

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