Coho retention allowed on Puntledge and Courtenay rivers once clock hits midnight

Recreational anglers can fish for coho on the Courtenay and Puntledge rivers, as of Oct. 26 at 12:01 a.m.

People fishing in the Puntledge and Courtenay rivers can catch and retain two coho daily as of Oct. 26 at 12:01 a.m. That's in addition to the two chum salmon they already could keep each day.

Recreational anglers can fish for coho on the Courtenay and Puntledge rivers, as of Oct. 26 at 12:01 a.m.

“We’re currently open for retention of two chum salmon,” said Bryce Gillard, fishery officer with the Comox branch of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“The (Puntledge) hatchery is satisfied they’re going to achieve their escapement requirements for coho. They’re currently sitting at 83 per cent of the escapement required and they believe they’re going to achieve that.

“So they recommended an opening for coho retention for recreational anglers on both the Courtenay and Puntledge rivers,” Gillard said.

“The retention will be two coho, but only one of which may be over 30 centimetres. You’re allowed one four-year-old and one jack salmon.”

Gillard said the opening will be downstream of the weir at the hatchery.

The closures 75 metres below the hatchery pool and at Morrison Creek remain in effect.

Gillard notes some members of the Sports Fish Advisory Council are concerned about people retaining steelhead.

“Steelhead is closed in the river. At last report there was a dozen steelhead in the entire system.”

Anglers are advised to make sure of the identification of their species.

“If they don’t know what it is, let it go. If they retain a steelhead, they will be charged,” said Gillard, adding the fine for the first fish is $150. “Make sure you don’t mix up your steelhead with any other species.”

Gillard said notices of the retention will be posted at both rivers. For more information, click www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca or call the Comox DFO office at 250-339-2031.

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