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Fishing suspended at multiple Okanagan lakes to prevent spread of invasive fish to the Nicola River system.

Both Windy Lake and Little Windy Lake west of Kelowna will be off limits to fishing until further notice as the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations looks to control the spread of yellow perch to other parts of the Nicola River system.

Nicola Watershed Stewardship and Fisheries Authority Fisheries Advisor Neil Todd says they poise a direct threat to both trout and salmon.

"Their populations can explode and displace resident native species of fish. If they are in an aquatic system that contains indigenous species such as rainbow trout or salmon, they would actually feed on the fry of those fish, in addition to affecting other parts of the food chain."

How the yellow perch were introduced to the lake remains unknown, but are certainly extremely fertile, as a female perch can deposit up to 15,000 eggs at a time.

Todd says by closing the lakes to anglers, it's easier for the ministry to monitor the fish and prevent inadvertent spread.

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