LAKE COWICHAN – This year, the B.C. government is offering a unique incentive for anglers fishing in Cowichan Lake to help with local cutthroat trout research.

According to an announcement made by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Wednesday, the province is offering $100 gift cards for each tag a fisherman gathers from a cutthroat trout in Cowichan Lake.

The tags are part of the province's five year research partnership with the Kintama Research Services and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC to study the health and movements of cutthroat trout in the lake.

“Studies like this are a valuable component of ensuring our province has a healthy trout population now and in the future,” said Doug Donaldson, minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development.

“I encourage anglers to participate in helping our fisheries staff evaluate the survival and movement patterns of cutthroat trout.”

The province says the study will also provide valuable information on fish movements during spawning season, and help measure the effectiveness of current fishing regulations.

In total, 80 cutthroat trout in Cowichan Lake are tagged with brightly coloured Floy T-bar anchor tags. Of these 80 tagged trout, 42 of them also have an acoustic tag that allows for researchers to track that individual fish.

To receive the $100 gift card incentives for catching the trout, which are redeemable for each individual tag, anglers will need to remove the tag from each fish that they catch. According to the province, fisherman who are not permitted to – or who do not wish to – harvest the tagged fish can remove the tag by using scissors or nail clippers before releasing the trout back into the lake.

The tags can then be redeemed at the ministry's office in Nanaimo, located at 2080A Labieux Rd. or by sending a photo of the tag through email. Photos of the tags should be sent to

Further information about the tagged fish project can be found on the B.C. government website here