Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: west coast steelhead/salmon, BC/Alberta trout
Agreed Peter (not with Brian re wording--editorial note Brian and PKK are pals). The important thing though is that, from the economic perspective (which is what drives the hatchery proposal) the pro-hatchery folks need to determine whether a hatchery really would increase angler traffic in Spences Bridge thereby boosting the economy. From this perspective, it doesn't really matter whether you agree with hatchery enhancement or not; what matters is will you fish if a hatchery is placed on the river.
The hatchery proposal on the Thompson is based on junk science and the economics of Spences Bridge. In this case hopefully enough folks will reject fishing a hatchery river that the economic benefit argument will be questioned. One thing I think the pro-hatchery folks in SB don't realize is that most of the Thompson anglers are from the lower mainland and won't contribute a lot to the local economy because:
A. they bring all their stuff with them from home and tend to day-trip or do one overnight anyways;
B. without a gas station, well-stocked local store, and reliable accommodations (I believe Acacia Grove is now the only place in town that is actually open) those local anglers will seek what they need elswhere (Lytton, Cache Creek).
I believe that if a hatchery has any appeal at all it will only appeal to local (south coast and perhaps kamloops-area anglers) who are used to fishing hatchery rivers like the Vedder. But the fact is that those guys already fish the Thompson, so a hatchery won't bring them in because they are already there.
I agree with Brian that it is the travelling anglers the folks in SB need to attract...but does SB now have the tourism-related infrastructure to support them? At this stage of the game--other than the pub, the Packing House Restaurant, and Acacia Grove, all great places--there's nothing else to support the travelling angler. They can't get gas, they probably wouldn't be able to get a room, they can't swing in to the local store to get a candy bar and a bottle of gatorade. So they have to bring everything with them or stay somewhere else.
I don't believe a hatchery will attract more anglers to SB, especially over the long-term--the science doesn't support it, plus the mystique of the Thompson will be shattered. The folks voting "Yes" in the Fly Fishing poll--I believe Chas speaks for these folks. It is about history, tradition, and the mystique of the river that brings us back whether we catch a pile of fish or not.
If the Thompson stays wild, and if anglers have opportunity to fish it, they will come. Simple as that. So the question is, how do we create predictable angling opportunity on a river with depressed stocks? If we leave the ethics aside for a minute (and I don't believe we should, but let's run with it a minute), we have to consider what would maximize angler opportunity while minimizing angler impact on these fish. Brian's FF Only regs with floating line etc would be the best choice, but without careful enforcement guys would be fishing intruders on floating lines etc so the chances of that working without a huge amount of hypocrisy are slim. Plus the gear guys would say "then we won't fish" which would cut into the positive economics for Spences Bridge, which in turn would cause the advocates in Spences Bridge to reject it as a management plan. So short of ethically adopted FF Only Regs, the next best would be a simple bait ban. This would minimize repeat encounters with tired fish, but everyone would still get to fish, Spences Bridge would realize the economic benefits of a fishery, and some of us would wrestle with our conscience.