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Releasing the wild ones
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got back from my annual vacation to heaven and one of the things I saw was a lot of one salt fish in the Bulkley. Spoke to a buddy and he to was seeing a ton of them as well. Is this a harbinger of a great run next year? I have fished the Bulkley often and have never seen so many 22-26 inch fish.

On the great lakes when you had a great run of shakers (14-17 inchers often called half pounder by my American friends) it meant that we would have awesome fishing in the next couple of years. This only seemed to be happening on the Bulkley as other rivers had the usual split of different sized fish. My question is does this mean a great year class coming online for next year or just an anomaly?

Chromerman
 

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I've noticed the same thing when I was up there a couple weeks ago. I've also noticed it here in OR on the NU. Hope it's a good sign, seems each class size of steelhead have a purpose. I'll pose the question to Bill McMillan as well to see what he says.

Todd
 

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:)

Great stuff for pure Speculation
Why the Mystery is half the fun.

I did not "see" what you describe by the way and that means nothing but the water (low) conditions were very odd and unusual.
There are as many as 20 known different Year Classes on the Skeena so to extrapolate from one's limited experience is....well, fun and will miss the mark with so many variables at Play.

Just having "returns" is sheer fascination and joy.

Greg
 

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Interesting stuff. In Skeena sockeye modelling, a larger than average jack year generally predicts a larger than average adult sockeye year the subsequent year (sometimes carrying on for two years as the majority of jacks are 3 year olds, and the Babine sockeye are primarily composed of 4 and 5 year olds).

This relationship exploits the shared brood-year life cycle events that would impact freshwater and estuary survival. Basically, the only part of the sockeye's life history that is unaccounted for in the model is marine survival (a big part, to be sure).

If a single brood-year's mortality is dominated by the freshwater/estuary environment, then the model tends to hold quite well. If, however, the brood-year's mortality primarily takes place in a marine environment the model will predict less well.

The model works well enough for sockeye in the Skeena, though I wonder if it would carry over to steelhead.

The point has also been made that this year a large component of the Skeena sockeye return were 4 year-olds, and of a smaller average body size. The gill nets deployed by the fleet are more effective at catching larger fish (5 year old sockeye, and *ahem* steelhead). Expect worse next year: the official forecasts haven't been done as we don't have finalized counts, but from the numbers I've seen I'd put 2015's sockeye run at larger (possibly significantly larger) than 2014. Combine that with an industry lobby bent on much higher harvest rates at higher run sizes and 2015 could be a bad year for steelhead regardless of how many make it to the mouth of the Skeena.

We can be somewhat grateful that we expect a large component of the sockeye run to consist of 5 year olds so it might be easier for the fleet to fill their allocation which would result in fewer fishing days and possibly less steelhead bycatch. Time will tell...
 

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Releasing the wild ones
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Spoke to the most knowledgeable guy I know and he said no correlation between the two. He said most of the one salters are headed for the Morice which is well known for smaller fish well the Bulkley is better known for two year olds. Sigghhhh was hoping that next year would mean a big year guess all we can do is hope for poor salmon returns and good numbers!!!

CM
 

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We can be somewhat grateful that we expect a large component of the sockeye run to consist of 5 year olds so it might be easier for the fleet to fill their allocation which would result in fewer fishing days


This is what has happened in 2012, 4 gill net days ( 16 hours/day ) and they were done, and in 2012 Sockeye run was quite good, 2.2 -2.3 millions



Skeena gillnet fishery decimated the larger fish.

Netting ended in July, and Steelhead which entered Skeena in August was not impacted by nets.
 

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Noticed the same thing when I was up there last week. Lots of little guys. They were also the only fish I caught that did not have net marks. All of my larger fish had been through one net or another...
 
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