‘I hear they taste like chicken’: Island man gets greenlight to harvest bullfrogs

American bullfrogs are pictured in this file photo.

A Cobble Hill man has been given the greenlight to harvest and eat American bullfrogs from a lake in North Cowichan.

Michael Indge tells CHEK News he hasn’t harvested the bullfrogs before, but considering they’re an invasive species, he hopes it’s a win for the environment as well as for himself.

What visitors might not know about Chemainus Lake is that it’s teeming with invasive American bullfrogs.

Sabrina Fox has documented the frogs and wildlife at the lake for years.

“Well, it seems like it’s mainly been in the last three years where it’s been out of control,” she said.

“Like all these lily pads over here, they’d all be moving and there’s tadpoles everywhere and frogs everywhere, and it’s all been taken over.”

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Chemainus Lake is shown.

American bullfrogs were first brought to B.C. as a food source, and they’ve spread during the past 30 years.

They can be found in lakes from Victoria to Port Alberni to Campbell River, and they are a threat to native frog populations.

Indge usually finds himself fishing at Chemainus Lake, but the large amphibians caught his attention.

“When I looked into it, it was American bullfrogs, so I thought, since I’m already there for trout, I might as well extend that experience to bullfrogs,” he said.

So Indge wrote a letter to North Cowichan District council asking for permission to be in Chemainus Lake at dusk, after the park closes, because that’s when bullfrogs are most easily caught.

Council unanimously approved the request at a recent meeting.

“And so to have a private citizen step up and help us address this issue is well received around the council table,” said North Cowichan Mayor Rob Douglas.

“There’s obviously concerns around safety and liability and that sort of thing, but our staff at the municipality have assured us they can work this out with Mr. Indge.”

Indge says he’s confident he’ll be able to catch the amphibians and he’s looking forward to eating his first bullfrog legs.

“No, I’ve not tasted them, but I hear that they taste just like chicken,” he said.

Indge says he wants to become more independent when it comes to securing his own food, and that this is a step in that direction.

He and those on North Cowichan council hope others may follow.

With files from CHEK’s Kendall Hanson



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