Lake Country is home to its fair share of fishing enthusiasts. The boats that troll the shores of Wood Lake in the summertime and the bodies huddled over holes in the ice in the wintertime are testament to that.
The Lake Country Museum is putting on a talk this weekend at the Creekside Theatre on the topic of kokanee in the Okanagan. Speaker Dr. Peter Dill expects the afternoon to draw fishermen and fisherwomen as well as individuals just looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon. He says he will speak to something of interest for both groups.
Dill is a former biology professor at Okanagan University College. His area of interest is physiology and animal behaviour, particularly as it relates to salmon and trout.
Retirement finds Dill as enthusiastic as ever about his fascination with fish. These days he’s involved with the Friends of Mission Creek and is involved, amongst other things, in interpretive talks during the spawning season.
“I’ve always been interested in the migration that these fish are involved in. How they can be born in a creek, live their lives in a huge body of water, and then manage to find their way back to the same part of the creek where they were hatched is just amazing to me,” says Dill.
One of the most interesting points that Dill will speak on will be the tremendous variety of genetic differences that are present in Kokanee. Recently differences between creek spawining kokanee and shore spawning kokanee have begun to receive more mainstream attention. Dill goes even further, suggesting that the kokanee in any given area of Okanagan Lake are unique from members of the same species that inhabit another area of the lake. Each has evolved its own adaptations suited to the environment it lives in says Dill.
Local success stories in conservation will be another highlight of the talk.
“Anytime you have one of the sports clubs working on improving a fishery you have good results and that has been well documented,” says Dill.
Oceola Fish and Game Club member Rick Simpson will be on hand to discuss achievements that the club has realized in Middle Vernon Creek.
Dill says conserving kokanee is something that people should care about because they are what he refers to as an indicator species.
“Kokanee go to new areas and establish themselves in new environments. We find that where human populations are high, kokanee populations crash and that’s concerning. If the indicator species is dying then so are other species. They are related and if we care about the environment we should care about this,” says Dill.
The talk gets underway at the Creekside Theatre on Sunday 25 at 1:00 p.m. Admission is by donation.