South Shuswap Scoop July 2019
In the first week of May, BC Parks and Freshwater Fisheries officials met with the White Lake Stewardship Group (WLSG) and a committee of the White Lake Residents Association, to formulate a plan to address lake issues and protect White Lake Provincial Park, at the heart of the community of White Lake.
BC Parks expressed interest in a formalized management agreement with the WLSG in an effort to provide continued input from interested stakeholder groups.
At the May meeting, discussion regarding invasive species of carp(goldfish), programs for monitoring fish stocks, and strategies to support and improve natural spawning were all discussed. During this meeting a visit to Cedar Creek helped support constructive dialogue. The new WLSG in conjunction with other stakeholders is looking forward to improving the current fishery and restoring it to previous levels.
B.C. Parks and Freshwater Fisheries is placing White Lake on the yearly fish count program. This program nets fish for a day to get a snapshot of the lake stock in a specific area. The data from this count of size and numbers is compared to data from years past.
Last winter the White Lake Residents Association commenced to engage stakeholders in a stewardship coalition. Both Salmon Arm and Chase Fish and Game Clubs, among others were approached and they offered to support the stewardship process with B.C. Parks. The White Lake Park Management Plan (2014), states that input from these parties is key to the lake management strategies.
There remains the issue of the invasive species of carp (goldfish) and the effect they may have with the feed chain in the lake. There may be an opportunity depending on financial resources to mitigate some of the effects the coarse fish have on the rainbow trout stocks. BC Parks and Freshwater Fisheries will change the lake stocking strategy beginning next year to complement the natural spawning and strive to achieve a quality fishery of 2-5 lb. trout.
Patrick Frank, President of the White Lake Residents Association is complimentary to BC Parks for having a plan that reflects the value and fragility of the area. “Its an obligation that we follow through on the plan conducive to everybody’s interest in keeping the lake in good shape.”
In 1965 a park was established on the north side of the lake. This park supported the public access for fishing, boating and camping. For a period of time until the mid seventies the park was managed informally by local community volunteers. On May 20, 2004 a new park was established, that not only included recreational lake access but added significant natural values and new boundaries were established. This current day park is comprised of 62 hectares of foreshore and 204 hectares of upland.
The park has a primary role to protect upland, riparian and foreshore habitats and known First Nation archeological sites (the park is located on traditional territory of the Secwepemc people) as well as eastern portion of White Lake. The park also serves to provide recreational opportunities for public use. As well this protection is to help ensure the long term viability of the park ecosystems, the productive capacity of the white lake fishery and the aesthetic appeal of White Lake. Special attention will be given to the protection of the significant wetlands on the south side of the park.
The park has a focus for both destination and regional day use. Camping and day use serve to facilitate access and to accommodate needs of anglers. White Lake has previously been among most productive lakes in BC and is among the top three preferred angling lakes in BC. “The estimated current total use of White Lake is about 20,000 angler days, making it one of the highest used lakes in the region as well at the province. It is estimated that about 4,000 of the total angler days on the lake occur during the three months ice-on.”-BC White Lake Park Plan 2014.
A productive fishery is maintained by stocking and is augmented by natural spawning in Cedar Creek. The management planning process involves key community stakeholders such as the CSRD, local fish and game club or members of the White Lake community to ensure protection of the site.
With these groups under the umbrella of the WLSG and more coming on, it brings information and feedback to the ministries from a considerable number of users that use the lake for their angling pleasure. For information or questions contact the White Lake Stewardship Group of the WLRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.