Tag Archive for: Kootenay Lake

I Saw a Dinosaur Then Wrote This Story

“Big fish do weird things to people. And by big fish I mean really big fish. They affect some part of our limbic brain and account for the bordering on manic popularity of Shark Week, River Monsters and Jaws(not so sure about this one, how about how people google giant catfish wrangling (magazines or movies?). This prehistoric connection overrides rational thought and amps up our cortisol levels

I’ve never given a second thought to swimming in Kootenay Lake (unless it’s February) but when Nelson-based fish biologist Sarah Stephenson showed me a photo of the dinosaur she hauled up from the depths last April near Creston, I froze: ‘That monster lives in the lake?’ She told me not to worry, as it was harmless to humans. But this fish was important – in fact, it could impact the future of its species.”

So begins my article for the Summer 2015 issue of Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine about the struggles of a unique fish species. To read the story in its entirety and see a map of where “Big Bertha” travelled last year, check out the Mountain Culture Group website.

The Ugliest Story Ever

My fiancé is a fish biologist and I have to admit there are occasions when it’s difficult for me to keep up with her day-to-day activities, which could include “ion regulation,” “Parr-Smolt transformation,” or “Leptocephali.” (I think that’s how it’s spelled.)

One day, though, she started describing a local sustainability movement to save this ugly looking fish called the burbot and it definitely made sense to my scientifically challenged brain. The story was incredible! Ice fishing in frigid February temperatures; orgy balls of breeding fish; and a myriad of government agencies in two countries all trying to bring back the population of a creature that is definitely not as endearing as a baby spotted owl.

I pitched the idea to Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine (which just won Western Canada’s Magazine of the Year award) and they too were smitten with the story of the ugliest fish in BC and its return from the brink of extinction. And so was born this latest piece, which just came out in the recent KMC.

Don’t let appearances fool you: this one may be the ugliest ever, but it’s pretty good reading. (If I do say so myself.) Long live the Kootenay burbot!

Read the entire story here: KMC 26 Burbot.