A report of poaching from Hoy Creek in Coquitlam is being followed up by federal fisheries officers.
And those who are caught could be fined up to $1,000.
Officials with the Hoy/Scott Watershed Society say that three men in their early- to mid-20s were spotted late last month taking fish from Hoy Creek and filling a large red cooler.
It is illegal to fish in Hoy/Scott Creek, but is particularly concerning during spawning season when salmon are returning to lay and fertilize eggs for the next generation of salmon.
“It's ILLEGAL to fish in local streams, which also includes the removal of carcasses [dead fish],” the society noted in its most recent newsletter.
Federal fisheries officers who attended the scene were unable to locate the poachers.
Poaching occurs regularly on local streams and people are encouraged to follow up if they see banned activity.
One year ago, someone was poaching on Hyde Creek in Port Coquitlam — gutting the fish and taking the heads, leaving remains behind. A mound of fish guts, bones and a knife were found on a trail Nov. 2 near the Hyde Creek Education Centre off Coast Meridian Road.
Lack of knowledge about salmon regulations may be the reason people fish for salmon in local creeks when they shouldn’t, said Robbin Whachell, president of the Hoy/Scott Watershed Society at the time.
Under the Fisheries Act fines can be as $100,000 and/or up to one year imprisonment.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is the primary agency responsible for overseeing compliance of salmon fisheries.
If you see poaching, call them at 1-800-465-4336, the number is considered the observe, record, report line or email.
If you see people fishing at local streams in any way — with a line, net or anything else — you can also contact the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) and fill out this form.
The society has a full list of numbers to call for problems on the local creek here.