Skeena steelhead - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Skeena steelhead

Terrible year for fishing in terrace Smithers. And all the west coast. A friend made the trip of a lifetime to the dean, this year, $9 k Canuck and not a fish, worst her in 20 he was told. Guides in terrace are taking their clients for coho, not even bothering for steelhead, tackle shop owners have actually laughed at customers buying steelhead stamps. Friends there at the moment are having a tough time, 1 fish for a week for some. Other NADA!
Can't say I'm disappointed I couldn't make it this year. After a great run last year, it's back to square one.
Hopefully things rebound, but I just don't see it anymore.
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 01:07 PM
It's gonna happen.
 
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Been waiting to make the trip up for several years and mine fell through for this year, so I guess it might be a good one to stick around. It's easy to not catch fish in the PNW.

Fished the Clearwater one last time this weekend with some friends. Felt like fishing a wake. One of our group had a grab that was it, although we saw two other fish caught. I was getting a lot of stick for being too negative, but I honestly hope it isn't the last time I fish it. Just like the Thompson, there doesn't seem to be a bottom. How do you swing with a smile when you aren't sure if there will be a next time?

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 01:32 PM
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Yeah I fished the Bulkley the last week of August and got one fish. Admittedly, this is early on in the season so I didn't think much of it and I assumed things would pick up later into September but they really don't seem to be. Spoke to my father-in-law who lives up there and he said more were starting to show up (this was last week) but all around still very very very slow. Pretty heartbreaking on many fronts.

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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Pretty heart breaking for the people using guides and paying $1 k per day. I know it's not about numbers, but we do travel there to catch fish.
Hard time for the guides when u can't put your guests on fish.
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 02:09 PM
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Yep. And the (not so) long term economic impacts of a collapsing recreational destination fishery will have a devastating impact on those communities. Here's hoping things pick up eh!
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 04:47 PM
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Until we get gillnets out of our rivers, address Pinnipeds and have serious dollars invested by the Feds and Province, things don't look good! Simply put our governments have to put a higher value on the social and economic benefits of sport fishing industry.

I have also talked to friends who are in the area at the moment and it sounds like the worst year in a number of years!

In the last update from the Province here's what they said the Bulkely-Morice River is 24% of the average as of Sept 19th! Read more below:

"Tyee Test Fishery operations began on June 10th this year. The cumulative Skeena River summer steelhead index to September 19th was 67.31. The average to this date = 149.48 (range: 22.88 (1955) to 261.99 (1998)). The escapement for Skeena summer run steelhead this season is estimated to be *16,491, 47% of the average to this date = 34,468 (range: 5,606 to 64,186). To this date, the 2019 steelhead abundance estimate ranks the run size at 15th most abundant of 17 years of operations to this date.
The Pacific Stock Assessment Review Committee (PSARC) vetted threshold of 35 K has been met in 15 of the past 65 years (23%) while the PSARC vetted minimum escapement target of 23 K has been met in 31 of the past 65 years (48%).

The Widzin Kwah/Witset Mark-Recapture project began on July 3rd. To Sept 19th, 229 steelhead have been captured – 67 in the beach seine fishery below the falls and 162 in the dipnet fishery at the falls, including 2 beach seine-tagged recaptures. The population estimate for Bulkley-Morice river steelhead upstream of Witset Falls to Sept 19th is 3,119, 24% of the average to this date = 12,801 (range: 3,119 (2019) to 30,302 (2010)). Thanks to Wet’suwet’en Fisheries, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation."
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Last edited by cohochinook; 09-23-2019 at 05:47 PM.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bc steel View Post
Terrible year for fishing in terrace Smithers. And all the west coast. A friend made the trip of a lifetime to the dean, this year, $9 k Canuck and not a fish, worst her in 20 he was told. Guides in terrace are taking their clients for coho, not even bothering for steelhead, tackle shop owners have actually laughed at customers buying steelhead stamps. Friends there at the moment are having a tough time, 1 fish for a week for some. Other NADA!
Can't say I'm disappointed I couldn't make it this year. After a great run last year, it's back to square one.
Hopefully things rebound, but I just don't see it anymore.
I wrote about weak run in late July ( based on Tyee patter over the last 25 year or so) on other post.

Warm water blob which started in 2014 and dissapeared by fall 2016, has been evident on steady decline of Columbia River system ( 2-1 Hatchery-wild fish) Steelhead since 2016 from decade average to 25-30% last two years.
Skeena system is very diversified and depending on the river, some juvenile Steelhead stays 2 years in fish water ( mostly Bulkley), other stays 3-4 years. Also, Kispiox and Babine and main steam Skeena fish tend to stay 3 years ( Bulkley 2 years) in Pacific before coming back for 1st spawning; larger fish.

This means 2019 class is from 3-4 brood years.
Probably b/c of that, 2016 year was good, 2017 not so good, 2018 was strong ( lots of early fish) and 2019 is very bad, while Columbia ( more monolithic) was on steady decline.
Warm water blob effect ( mostly on juvenile fish migrating from fresh water) eventually will go away, we hope.
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 04:49 PM
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I wrote about weak run in late July ( based on Tyee patter over the last 25 year or so) on other post ij July.

Warm water blob which started in 2014 and dissapeared by fall 2016, has been evident on steady decline of Columbia River system ( 2-1 Hatchery-wild fish) Steelhead since 2016 from decade average to 25-30% last two years.
Skeena system is very diversified and depending on the river, some juvenile Steelhead stays 2 years in fish water ( mostly Bulkley), other stays 3-4 years. Also, Kispiox and Babine and main steam Skeena fish tend to stay 3 years ( Bulkley 2 years) in Pacific before coming back for 1st spawning; larger fish.

This means 2019 class is from 3-4 brood years.
Probably b/c of that, 2016 year was good, 2017 not so good, 2018 was strong ( lots of early fish) and 2019 is very bad, while Columbia ( more monolithic) was on steady decline.
Warm water blob effect ( mostly on juvenile fish migrating from fresh water) eventually will go away, we hope.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 05:44 PM
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This is an interesting report on Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead that outlines some of the problems they face and mirror some on the Skeena.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Thompson Chilcotin Steelhead Paper.pdf (772.7 KB, 72 views)
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 06:21 PM
It's gonna happen.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bolen View Post
I wrote about weak run in late July ( based on Tyee patter over the last 25 year or so) on other post.

Warm water blob which started in 2014 and dissapeared by fall 2016, has been evident on steady decline of Columbia River system ( 2-1 Hatchery-wild fish) Steelhead since 2016 from decade average to 25-30% last two years.
Skeena system is very diversified and depending on the river, some juvenile Steelhead stays 2 years in fish water ( mostly Bulkley), other stays 3-4 years. Also, Kispiox and Babine and main steam Skeena fish tend to stay 3 years ( Bulkley 2 years) in Pacific before coming back for 1st spawning; larger fish.

This means 2019 class is from 3-4 brood years.
Probably b/c of that, 2016 year was good, 2017 not so good, 2018 was strong ( lots of early fish) and 2019 is very bad, while Columbia ( more monolithic) was on steady decline.
Warm water blob effect ( mostly on juvenile fish migrating from fresh water) eventually will go away, we hope.
Reports I have read suggest the blob may be reforming due to this summer's insanely high temperatures in the Arctic. It actually looks to be even warmer at this point than it was, although we are heading into winter. I really think anglers need to wake up and become more involved on climate issues, because it won't matter how much we regulate harvest if survivability is in the tank.
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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by KilgoreT View Post
Reports I have read suggest the blob may be reforming due to this summer's insanely high temperatures in the Arctic. It actually looks to be even warmer at this point than it was, although we are heading into winter. I really think anglers need to wake up and become more involved on climate issues, because it won't matter how much we regulate harvest if survivability is in the tank.
Not exactly. 2014-15 warm water blob was super strong and was 120-150 m deep. The last one is weak 20-50m deep and was reformed in early summer due to ( acc. to NOAA) rather calm conditions 4-5 weeks over Pacific, so winds could not blow warm water surfaced

. This is how historically warm blobs are forms, and has nothing to do with Arctics in this specific case.
Unlike in 2014-15, this year area of the cost 200km or so was cool due to upwelling of cold water form there bottom of the ocean..

The good news, we are entering fall/winter and already few strong low pressure storms are formed and this is how storms with strong winds typically blows away warm water formed on the summer.
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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 07:52 PM
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I have seen the stats, and i know its bad, but here I am in my camper, in Cache Creek right now, headed for Telkwa. I will work on my spey casting for a week to 10 days, maybe i will luck in to a couple fish, and I f I don't no worries, it will still be a great time! Hopefully i will have more elbow room that in other years!
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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 11:19 PM
The Skeena in the fall
 
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I'm just back from a week in Terrace at Skeena Spey Lodge
Our group of three had two fish for the week.
The Lodge seemed to be getting 1-2 steelhead per day for a dozen rods.
The Skeena itself was in excellent condition.
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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 11:39 PM
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I'm just back from a week in Terrace at Skeena Spey Lodge
Our group of three had two fish for the week.
The Lodge seemed to be getting 1-2 steelhead per day for a dozen rods.
The Skeena itself was in excellent condition.
Regardless of the run strength, by an early-mid September, summer run is winding down and a number of fish in the lower Skeena is not high.
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 11:39 PM
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