The Ministry of Environment has revised its numbers, saying now that 8,800 lake trout were released in Moberly Lake as part of a recovery program for lake trout populations — not 14,000 as it had originally reported.
The release of live trout on May 17 was done with the assistance of students at Moberly Lake Elementary and was the third and final one for the program.
Previous releases happened in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Spring, summer and fall monitoring will continue at the lake, as the ministry keeps a close watch the effectiveness of live releases.
"Ongoing monitoring is definitely necessary for this project," resource information specialist Kristen Peck told the Dawson Creek Mirror.
The ministry believes over fishing to be the initial cause of the rapid decline in lake trout populations at Moberly.
Then, "once the population was so low," Peck said, "it was probably overall predation within the lake that kept the young trout from growing up."
The lake supports about 15 species of fish, inclduing ones that prey on lake trout like lake whitefish, pike and burbot.
The ministry wants to remind the public that fishing lake trout at Moberly Lake is prohibited. However, burbot fishing remains a popular activity on the lake, especially with ice fishers. All fishing at the lake is closed during the lake trout spawning season Sept. 15 to Oct. 31.
The ministry has not yet been able to capture any of the trout from the initial 2012 release.
"It was right after some big flood events in 2011, so the water was very turbid," Peck said. "We haven't seen a ton of (recovery) from that first release, but after that it seems to be more successful.
About 50 students from Moberly Lake Elementary took part in the annual release of juvenile trout into the lake May 17 from Spencer Tuck Regional Park.
The Ministry of Environment entered into a partnership with the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations in 2002 to address declining rates of trout in the lake.
Tuesday marked the third release into the lake as part of this work. About 46,000 fish have been released into the lake over the course of the program.
Six years ago, less than 400 fish were in the lake, the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations said in a release. Before that, there was a robust and healthy trout population.
While adult trout are typically 45 to 65 centimetres and weigh between 2 and 4 pounds, trout in Moberly Lake have historically been much larger than that, the ministry says, with the largest fish on record caught in the lake weighing in at about 60 pounds.
Fishing lake trout in Moberly Lake has been banned since 2002, while all fishing in the lake is closed each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 31 to protect the trout spawning season.