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chrome-magnon man
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The Thompson River will be closed to all angling commencing October 1st 2004 through to the end of the year in order to protect steelhead.

This is sad but expected news. The run is in serious decline and something needed to be done. I'm not interested in pointing fingers and shaking my fist, just quietly shaking my head. Another great river is lost.

I landed my last Thompson steelhead in October of 2002. I fished only 3 days last season then stopped fishing when it became evident that the run was looking poor. Many anglers joined me in this even when last season's announced closure was cancelled. Last fall was truly "the best of times, the worst of times" on the Thompson.

The Thompson and its great steelhead were the reason I took up the Spey rod in 1994. 10 years later I now face the fact that my rod tip may never again carve the lazy figure 8s of a double Spey into the river's morning mists, my new Perfect never sing its first light reveille at the Shark Fin.

Yes, there are other great rivers, and other great steelhead.

But there is only one Thompson.
 

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I’m greatly saddened to here that the Thompson will be closed as of the 1st of October. The Thompson has a specal place in my heart and always will. With out the Thompson and her steelhead I never would have been interested in learning the art of spey casting and steelhead fly fishing. I caught my first steelhead as well as my first spey caught steelhead on the Thompson. With the river being closed next fall I'm still going to travel to Spences Bridge to practise spey casting on the runs of which have become a part of me over the years.
 

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I have gazed at her classic runs but never have cast upon her magical waters. I now really regret that.

Dana, my sympathies to you, Kush, Poul and all the others who were captured by her magic. Hopefully through the efforts of all of us, we can make a real difference in getting the numbers back up where they need to be and getting the T open again.

Our old joke of "Babine good, Thompson bad" now doesn't seem funny anymore.

Duggan
 

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sureley there must be a plan,,,anyone working on anything,,any one reason for the decline,,enlighten me,and others on the board as to what the reason,,(s) are,and what is the fish/game doing about the problem,seems a terrible shame to me:(
 

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EAT IT!!!
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:mad: :(

Insert long string of very poor language here...............................

Dana, thanks for keeping us all posted on the fate of your river. Personally I am extremely disapointed that I never got a chance to fish it and probably never will, but it sounds like the closure is the best thing for the fish. I feel for you, and the other anglers who so cherished the Thompson.
 

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A sad story again about another great river. Whatever the reason(s), we can only hope that this forced respite will see the patient recover well and be available to us again in the future.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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I am lucky to have fished it's great waters and hooked it's mythical steelhead on two occasions. I hope this sacrifice made willingly by honorable anglers will be enough to let the "freakishly" tough Thompson steelhead strain bounce back enough for us to interact with it again in our lifetimes. You can't keep a good fish down, I hope.

I also hope these limitations are carried through to the downriver netting operations that are without a doubt the cause of the demise of this C&R sport fishery.

I hope the chum netters are willing to make the same sacrifice, or at least transition to a weir fishery where only the target species are harvested, simultaneously providing valuable data on the passage of the bionic bigT fish as they ascend.
 

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That sucks! But have heart good gentleman. Rivers can bounce back if you give them a good chance. The Penobscot in Maine had a low of just over 500 wild Atlantic salmon in 2000. At that time the fish was put on the endangered species list and fishing for them was closed (talk about closing the barn door after the horse has left).:tsk_tsk: The count in 2003 was well over 1000 fish. Not fantastic, but it’s a start. Be optimistic and don’t let anyone right off your river.

Charlie
 

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you say they allow nets in freshwater!???,,,obviosly if this is true then the powers that be are to blame,so funds should be allocated to build up the stocks,,i can't remember exactly all the details because i haven't read the story in awhile but,,something to the effect;wild fish are caught by sportfishermen,loaded into instream cotainers,then a volunteer shows,uses the wild fish to propagate,but they are reared in an acclimation pond,nota hatchery,believe it's the coquille river system,,what about some farthinking methods like these,they stated the returns were far and above the normal hatchery returns,which i'm sure isn't what's needed or wanted here,this is one topic that gets to me,i have such a hard time understanding because my home river get's the living hell pounded out of it almost yearround yet the fish keep on keepn' on,i always make it a point to folks on my boat to state`isn't it amazing,think about how these fish have run up and down this river way before us' just so they start to get a handle on the big picture,and,i believe it makes an impact on them by the way they sort of jerk their head with the statement,,,,,there's way more to `fishing' than killing fish,this the main reason i've pursued the fly fishing aspect of the sport,the C-R ,,it's important!,,
 

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Hammer et al,

The Thompson's problems are not unique, many steelhead rivers face similar issues.

While I have railed at the managers for allowing the late season chum fishery to occur - the reality is that the commercial interception of Thompson steelhead has been greatly reduced over the past 10 years. Not that there should be any of these fish lost as by-catch in a worthless commercial fishery, but it has been greatly reduced.

We continue to press for further reductions in the chum fishery because it is something that can be controlled. If DFO's feet aren't regularly held to the fire over the issue then I am sure they would bow to the commercial lobby at every opportunity.

By far the biggest problem that the river faces is the issue of water draw-down by ranchers in the Nicola and Deadman valleys. These prime spawning/rearing streams are reduced to a trickle in the summer. Last year saw the Coldwater - the primary spawning trib in the entire system reduced in flow so much that the pools were separated by dry rock!

The Province has done little to address this problem and is not likely to in the near future. The Province is the agency that issues the water licenses - yet we expect them to address the issue by telling they ranchers they can't have the water - ya right! Some in the Steelhead Society are looking to land aquisitions to try to alleviate the water problem. This is a real possibility but is still ways off.

There are also major issues with ocean survival of steelhead. Without question there are some major problems - we just don't know exactly what they are... Salmon survival rates are at an all-time high, yet steelhead survival up and down the north coast are at all-time lows (less than 1%). Nobody seems to know why.

It could be salmon farms and the associated sea lice infestations that are well documented in the UK and here (the Broughten Archipelago). The Georgia Basin steelhead - which includes Puget Sound - all have to run a gauntlet of self-regulating sea pens on their way to the sea. The BC government and the industry insist that it isn't a problem, however, I have my doubts.

Poor ocean survival is also likely a result of less that ideal conditions for steelhead in the North Pacific. It would not suprise me to find that poor feeding conditions are evident in the parts of the ocean steelhead frequent. It seems that southern steelhead like the Oregon fish head to different pastures.

Undoubtedly there are other problems not yet identified. Also the reduction of the Thompson steelhead run has been a long slow slide which has resulted from a combination of many factors. Unfortunately, we are at the important crossroad - much more of a slide and there will be none.

As for a recovery plan, it does not exist. WLAP - the Provincial agency in charge has been eviscerated, it has no personnel or money and is somewhat in conflict as it is in charge of water licenses as well. Our "business" oriented Provincial government will do anything in the name of the almighty dollar - and environmental concerns make no money.

So far, the plan seems to involve closing the river - closed rivers are the easiest to manage and then sit back and hope that something magical happens and the fish come back - it sounds familiar doesn't it... the Skykomish the Coquihalla, etc. The Steelhead Society has called for the Province to step up and take the lead with developing a recovery plan - but we have heard no response.

There are some angler groups who have been meeting and making some noise, but as yet little has come forth. I am personally sitting on three different Thompson Steelhead Committees, but as yet all have made little progress. It is a daunting challenge as it is hard to know where to start and what will be realistic goals. I certainly hope we get our act together, because if those of who love the river and its fish don't take the lead - nobody will.
 

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thank you Kush!

for the info,,i'm going to be quiet now,but i;ll be watching,listening,as i get older i feel like one thing that's important to me is what i enjoyed as a youngster,,,if i could i'd devote myself to understanding/helping some of the species in need,maybe someday 'ill be able to really contribute some time,just read an article on the green sturgeon for instance,,,,,once the teens go bye-bye life WILL be different,well,stay with it!,keep us posted;)
 

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Remembering My Thompson Steelhead

It was just after 5am on an early November morning. As we pulled down the lane way at John's Rock. There was already another angler beside his truck putting his waders on. Seeing our head lights he stepped up his pace. We joked about getting up even earlier the next day, one of us suggested we just sleep on the river bank.
As we made our way over the rail tracks and down the path the angler greeted us, he stated he was starting lower in the pool, leaving us enough room to start at the head (very kind of him I thought). I opted to wait until he moved further down, then I worked in behind him. My friends went to the head of the pool, I stood and watched this fellow work the water. He was making the most beautiful cast with his two hander. It would be a morning to remember.
Starting with a short line, then extending it to a workable length, I made a cast then a single mend. I think I was daydreaming when I felt the slightest pluck at the end of my line.
Dana Sturn had mentioned to me once in a conversation, that Thompson fish sometimes seem to tap the fly before the take, and that if you react too fast, you would certainly miss the strike.
Why I didn't react I'll never know. As I watched, I could see a wake build behind my fly, just as the fly stopped, I felt a hard pull. I was solid into the Steelhead of a life time. The fish made a long run across the river. I kept as much line off the water as possible. My fear was that the 12lb tippet would break because of the heavy spey line being pulled through the current, but it didn't. After many minutes the Steelhead Buck lay at my feet.
As I cradled this beautiful fish I could only think how lucky I was that this river, The Thompson, had given me this opportunity. Dreams do come true !

A short while later I mentioned to my friends that this was my first B.C. Steelhead and my first on a Two-hander on a fly of my own design. They told me to quit while I was batting 1000.

With tears in our eyes this is sad news, I had hoped to renew my dreams with a trip to the Thompson this fall.
Let's hope this great river get's the help and support she needs !
Rick Whorwood
 

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I have only fished the Thompson the past 6 or 7 years. I have many fond memories of the beautiful water. Especially at the crack of dawn or at sundown. The first time up there I had the Thompson river journal at my side and read about all the popular drifts. I now have caught fish in most of them and have the water etched in my mind. Another highlight is the truly dedicated spey fishermen I have met. Great people, historic water, and of course the fish. I can still remember most fish I caught and even most of the strikes. Maybe someday it will all happen again. Jerry
 

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Without question my fondest memories of steelheading come from this valley. Memories that have been etched in my minds eye, memories that will never pale. I am happy to have experience my pinnacle of steelheading. I don't think I could ever repeat my last days one the "T".

One of my dreams is to watch Cameron (my 4 year old) take a Thompson heart stopper. I'll still believe I have that opportunity.

Funny thing about the "T" is I become some what anti social. I don't want to do anything but fish, explore the valley (looking for water), eat, drink and fish. I'm not there to be social, I'm there to escape.


andre
 

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My first steelhead came from the T. It was also my first time on the river and my first time casting a pey rod. I've fished it from opening to closing for the past few years with my favourite month being December. I'll miss having a whole run to myself on a freezing cold december day. Hopefully this magnificent river will open again one day so my daughters will have a chance to fish it. For now I will continue to fishi it during the months that are open.
Just as sad is the closing of the other rivers in flowing into the fraser canyon such as the Nahatlatch, seton, etc.
 

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Thanks Kush,

Thank you for your report and being active to do something about it. The Thompson is by far my favorite river as I believe it tests an angler's skills better than any other. Lost along with the fishing is our long standing tradition of Thanksgiving dinner (American) at the grease hole that has been open to all steelhead bums looking for a hot meal. Each year we would have as many of our Canadian brothers attend as we have Americans. Some of which have told us that it is "their" favorite holiday. Very sad news. Thank goodness everybody is not like me who fishes a ton and only complains about closures and declinig runs like this. Thanks again and to anyone else that is at least trying to do something about it.
 
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