The moat at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery near Cranbrook, where a group of pesky river otters were fishing for meals in the summer of 2019. (Courtesy of Owen Schoenberger)

The moat at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery near Cranbrook, where a group of pesky river otters were fishing for meals in the summer of 2019. (Courtesy of Owen Schoenberger)

Trout ‘doing quite well’ at Kootenay hatchery after otters, who ate 150 fish, relocated

River otters had been pillaging a moat outside the facility for months, gobbling up about 150 trout

Staff at a fish hatchery in B.C.’s East Kootenay are no longer having to fend off otters that were attacking and eating their fish, now that the animals have been relocated.

Last June, the Kootenay Trout Hatchery in in the Fort Steele area, outside of Cranbrook, reported that a group of pesky otters had devoured about 150 of the prized fish and attacked many others in the hatchery’s moat.

Manager Owen Schoenberger said three otters were trapped and relocated outside of the Kootenay watershed by conservation officers, after staff tried and failed to block some of the access to the moat and even installed barrier panels.

“We kept the injured fish in the back pond; they had some wounds and some scars,” he said. “We treated them with a special bath which was successful and we returned them to the moat. The fish are doing quite well now, and we’re well stocked especially after putting in extra yearlings.”

READ MORE: Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The otters haven’t been spotted at the hatchery since, Schoenberger said.

The facility has about 30 to 40 15-pound rainbow trout at present, as well as several hundred one- to two-pound rainbow trout. It’s run by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, which owns and operates hatcheries in Duncan, Abbotsford, Summerland, Clearwater, Fort Steele and Vanderhoof.

READ MORE: Staff relocating koi away from hungry otter at Vancouver Chinese garden



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

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