Spey Pages banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I dont know how many of you guys read the fish bc form. Lately people on that form have been debateing if there shood be a bait ban on the Thompson or a fly only. I think that the river shood be at least bait baned if not fly only. What do you guys think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Thompson river debate

My 2 cents
I've only fished this river once, but caught the Steelhead of a life time (boy was I lucky). The unfortunate thing about putting bans on rivers, is losing the support of all anglers. What I've learnt about this river is it needs all the support it can get. Let's hope there's a way that you can come to an understanding that will benefit the fishery.
The river I fish most often back east, has a bait ban as well as single barbless hook reg. in the section I like to fish, but there is still open water on this river. This year we've suffered from low water, to the point where a lot of our Steelhead can't get over the dam. If this river was only C/R, No bait etc. it would be pretty difficult for the few dozen of us fly guys to do anything about it. We need the support of all anglers.
Here's just a thought, if everyone that bought a fishing licence said NO to buying one next year, do you think the Gov. would start to listen to the needs of our fishery?
Great fishing
Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
The Thompson should be in the same catagory,regarding fishing restrictions,as the other rivers here in BC that are also considered "classified waters".The Dean,Squamish,and most of the Skeena tribs all have bait bans in effect.This has not discouraged anyone from fishing these systems,nor has it caused a lack of fishing success.It only makes sense for a totally C&R wild steelhead fishery,that has been suffering for years with low numbers,to be included in these regs and restrictions.Unfortunately the Thompson's close proximity to Vancouver means that too many of the Vedder River "meat hole" style fishermen have migrated there.

The Thompson is too special a place to stand in a line of a dozen other guys,shoulder to shoulder,throwing globs of bait into the river.I have no problem with the use of bait on hatchery enhanced systems like the Vedder where the fish numbers are high and cold water is often the norm,but bait has no place on an endangered summer run fishery that is intended to be 100% C&R.

This debate(on the FishBC.com forum) is not about preventing people from fishing with gear,nor is it about trying to make it "fly only".It is about why the Thompson should be allowed bait while all of the others in it's class are not.It doesn't make sense.It shouldn't be a big deal for people to replace their gob of roe with a gooey bob or wool.It's crazy to think that some people think that unless bait can be used there is no point in having ANY fishery.If this were the case all our great northern rivers would be closed.Simply getting people to put the fish first for a change is not much to ask for.It works for our other rivers and it would work on the Thompson.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
I agree, a bait prohibition on the Thompson is a fundamentaly sound choice for the managers to initiate.
I further would be so bold as to suggest all fly anglers be restricted to dry lines and un-weighted flys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Yes, and as long as we're stipulating unweighted flies and floating lines how about really laying on the handicap with a ban on aluminum cleats?

They give those wearing them unfair wading advantages over those who don't. They also leave unsightly streaks on the rocks, slime trails that have always rankled me because they leave no doubt that someone has already fished my water...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Fly on the Big T

I have fished the Thompson for many many years.I fish the river at least two days a week from oct 1st to xmas.I have seen it open to kill when the banks were lined like the Vedder by guys looking for nothing but meat.I have fished the lean years and the great ones that are now long forgoten.The common complaint is how the number of fish decline each year.There are some great summer run rivers that have gone fly only because low returns and may never recover.This is a ongoing debate,I feel that a steelhead that is played out will most of the time will not grab a fly unless it is right infront of it's face.On the other hand with a large chunk of roe or other bait presented with lead to get into a resting fishes face is enuff to provoke a strike.With a large build up of lactic acid in the fish another fight will most likely kill it.I feel the river is to great of a place to ruin it for ever and that is what is going on at this moment.Every place in the world just about has killed of their rivers by over fishing,dams or other means.The last great frontier is British Columbia...luck us.The goverment will never turn down the money from incoming visitors so presure will increase.If the river is killed ,and it will make no mistake at the rate it is going it won't last many years longer.The sad part is the only loser in this is British Columbia the others will find another river to fish or another hobbie.My long winded answer is to make the river fly only and slow down the sure death the Thomson is suffuring.Every one can buy a license,and every one can use a fly, and every one can catch a fish on a fly, it just might take a little longer and that can be a good thing.After all it just means a little more time on the river right? :hehe:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
How do we protect the fish?

Someday my ashes will be spread at the Spur Bar on the Thompson. I am concerned that this debate has reared its head again. Yes, I personally find the use of bait for the greatest fish on earth distasteful, should that be grounds for banning it? I'm not so sure. Make the "T" fly-only, of that I am absolutely sure - no way!

The problems that the Thompson (and many other systems) face are not a result of the type of gear or bait that has been used. Habitat degredation, commercial fishing by-catches, Native interception, uncontrolled irrigation and changing ocean conditions are far more culpable villians. All a bait or even gear restriction will do is fracture the only people who really care about the fish and the river - the steelheaders!

While I personally do not see the logic of allowing bait in this fishery I do accept that many do not see it my way. The last attempt to ban bait on the Thompson led to the near demise of the most successful defender of our sport - the Steelhead Society of BC. In fact it led directly to the formation of the Driftfisher's Association of BC, who's stated agenda is to protect the rights of the driftfisher. This precipitated a dogfight in which the last thing on people's mind was the state of the resource. We do not need to revisit this divisive topic.

The Thompson will never be fly-only, nor should it be, as the "fly-water" sections are only a miniscule part of the river. The vast majority of it is simply not suited to the fly. In spite of that, the resource and therefore even we the fly fishers, need the gear guys - pink hands or not. In my experience the hard-core of these guys are among the most knowledgeable people in the fishery. Many of them have been fishing the river for decades and none know the ups and downs of the runs like they do. To alienate these people would be foolish and counter-productive. Instead, we need to find the ways to work together and focus our passions not on fighting with each other - but against those forces that conspire to threaten the fish and the sport itself!

The upcoming "Steelhead Summit" sponsored by the WSC is an attempt to do just that. All the various user groups/gear types will be there - all with the same goal in mind - that is to figure what we can do as a group to stand up for steelhead and our sport. To conclude, let's give our collective heads a shake and put this "debate" away, any steelheader is on our side! Lets do what right for the big picture, once that is dealt with then we can get back to nit-picking amongst ourselves.

Every once in a while I enjoy a good soap-box - thanks for reading.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
756 Posts
"The upcoming "Steelhead Summit" sponsored by the WSC is an attempt to do just that. All the various user groups/gear types will be there - all with the same goal in mind - that is to figure what we can do as a group to stand up for steelhead and our sport. To conclude, let's give our collective heads a shake and put this "debate" away, any steelheader is on our side! Lets do what right for the big picture, once that is dealt with then we can get back to nit-picking amongst ourselves".

Well Said Kush!!!!!
 

·
chrome-magnon man
Joined
·
5,375 Posts
another consideration

if the Thompson was fly only, many of our best gear fishers (who know where to find fish and who generally avoid the fly water) would simply switch to the fly. If you think the presssure is bad now, try adding another couple of dozen rods to the fly runs in Spences.

I echo kush's thoughts on the whole bait/gear vs fly debate. We anglers have argued over this because there are limited numbers of fish arriving each year. We should be working together to begin to address why there are so few fish returning in the first place. Plus I think that fly anglers have taken the wrong approach to the whole issue, and I agree that there are problems with elitism that have interfered with what the serious conservationists are trying to achieve. When it comes to the Thompson, we "fly guys" have an image problem that will need to be addressed before anyone with a gear rod will begin to take what we say as anything other than a thinly veiled attempt to keep the river to ourselves. I'm proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any angler willing to work towards the betterment of the river and its fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Well said, Dana. If it went fly only there would be nothing left for massacre to save.

Life is full of little surprises, and the preconceived notions we might have about a person or a thing or a technique are sometimes jolted to the port or the starboard in unexpected ways by the unanticipated consequences of our actions. But let me explain.

In the early 80’s (I just broke my rule of saying "when") I was fishing just below the Bridge (and I just broke my rule of mentioning "where") when a float fisherman stepped in below me. Grinning at me like a good-natured baboon he corkscrewed his body in the manner of someone about to make a world-record cast.

There was no doubt in my mind he was going to get a world-record bird’s nest. This is exactly what happened. The float and the big gob of roe dangling beneath it thwacked against a fouled main line and plopped into the water ten feet past his rod tip. He made the hissy staccato sounds one would expect and immediately set about plucking great big drippy coils of line from his Silex. Meanwhile, I stood my ground and watched intently his float. Sure enough it quivered, went down, jerked sideways about a foot, then popped back to the surface. My friend missed all this. He eventually determined his bird’s nest was beyond redemption and muttering to himself, stumbled back up the trail from whence he’d come, presumably back to his truck to work things out.

Without a moment’s hesitation I ran back to my own truck and stowed my double fister. With mitts a-trembling I reached for my honey rod-- my LL Beans “Double L”, an 8 weight cane wand given to me by my godfather on my seventh birthday. I reserved it only for special occasions. I twisted the retaining ring over the foot of my Princess and fastened the ferrules together after slathering them generously with nostril oil. As I threaded its guides with a DT floater, it was all I could do to contain the bliss generated by my astonishing good fortune-- I was going to get a mighty “T” fish on an up-stream dry and I knew exactly where and when it was going to happen!

I got into the water about thirty feet below the spot where I’d seen the float go down and started working out my line, all the while slipping and sliding my way upstream on the greasy boulders. I’ll admit that all the while I was reliving my childhood, my completely happy and carefree boyhood when I used to work an upstream # 14 Royal Coachman all slathered up with Mucilin for big browns on the Housatonic just below Cornwall Bridge, wise old browns that would not be caught dead sniffing a fly that betrayed any kind of drag or unnatural movement on the water surface the way a down-stream skater would do.

Sure enough, I got my little deerhair mouse over the magic spot and just as I started the Scottish worm retrieve to collect the line floating back towards me and stay in contact with the fly I saw a slight wimpling of the water surface, like what the wing beat of a startled heron might do when you scare her off her rock.

I simultaneously heard a muted sucking sound and then Lordy!, I was fast to a fish with the Princess screaming its hysterical falsetto as only royalty can.

Ten minutes or so later, on legs all a-quiver and sucking breath through a mouth that felt lined with newspaper I snaked a 12 pound doe onto the beach. Boy was I one happy dude—I had just taken a fish on a method that as far as I was concerned, represented one of the pinnacles of my sport. As far as demanding technique goes, I likened my feat to, well, to like climbing Everest without the benefit of bottled oxygen, or so I somewhat arrogantly thought at the time.

But what was this? Rather than being in plain view behind one of the maxillary plates as it usually was, my tippet disappeared into her gasping mouth and my fly was nowhere to be seen.

Upon closer examination I saw my little deerhair mouse deep in her throat, stuck fast to one of the branchiostegals that lined the bottom of her jaw. I also could also see blood starting to well up and flow from her gill plates, the candy-apple red colored blood, highly oxygenated, not a good sign . I clipped the tippet and placed her immediately back in the water fearing the worst. After 10 minutes of nursing her she never showed the usual signs of a reviving fish and she died in my arms.

Sorry to relate but that exact same story was repeated on another river the following fall. It also happened on an up-stream dry, barbless as were all my flies, although in those days you could use barbs and kill if it tickled your fancy. Again sorry to relate, that fish was a 17 pound buck and it also died in my arms despite my many attempts to revive it..

So, should I use this opportunity and these two sad tales to make an argument for banning dry flies? We might as well consider it along with the eggs and the shrimp and the spoons and the yarn and the Gooey Bobs and the anise oil. It’s clearly a deadly method of fishing steelhead, maybe indeed a bit like climbing Everest without bottled oxygen.

I would like to say that it's just another method of catching a steelhead, no better and no worse then any other method, although it's true and sad that I inadvertently dented the resource by chosing that method on those two particular days.

Don't split up the constituency into pissed off splinter groups! There is strength in numbers and we'll need those numbers. As long as the intent is to release, Management must ultimately make a decision about whether or not the fish should be fished over or left alone. Once gill nets and seines are off the board, it is not their job to determine the gear type which is involved.

This is exactly what Management did when they decided to close the river on 31 December instead of late March back in the late 80's. Was I pissed off when they did this? Yes, I had some fantastic sport on flies in February and March and I pretty much had the river to myself in those days.

Did I begrudge Management for making a decision that basically clipped two months of fantastic fishing off my sporting career? No way, it was clearly better for the resource because Management was right-- those fish were getting enough tender loving care from all us fishermen from September through December and the decision to leave them unharrassed for the remainder of the winter was a good decision.

But heed you well, that decision had nothing to do with gear types and it had everything to do with the fish and that should continue to be the focus.

One word to the guys who feel that it all comes down to feathers: beware for you might get what you wish for.......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Kush; Dana:

I agree with your comments completely.

We as anglers are continually falling into the trap of fighting with each other over fishing method. I think it's because it's both easier and more fun sniping at each other than fighting the endless list of real threats to wild fish -ie- commercial bycatch, fish farms, natural resource mis-development/mis-management, pollution, and indifferent governments.

We need to stick together and concentrate on those issues we agree on rather than those that divide us.

Poul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
I believe natural bait has no place in the cautious management of angling effort for wild fish, and I believe that the sincere concern that gear anglers have for the welfare of wild fish will not be diminished by a natural bait ban any more than fly anglers were by not being able to use a 'cast' of flies.
Fly anglers can be induced to inappropriate degrees of impacting the wild fish resource too. The 6 week opening of the Coquihalla R. is providing an immediate example of fly anglers who can't control their need to catch fish and step back from their desires for the benefit of the resource. I've heard too many stories of multi-fish days and continued angling effort during this period of extreme low water.
The ministry needs to look at other ways of providing angler opportunity with reduced impact besides regulating terminal tackle and classifying water. Closing water is not the way. Allow anglers who respect the need for regulations that reduce angling impact an opportunity to be present during critical migration and spawning periods. As the CO efforts to control illegal angling activity continues to decline it will be even more important to have some guardians on the river banks.
This is a great forum. Somebody else can have the soapbox now.
 

·
Relapsed Speyaholic
Joined
·
5,393 Posts
Convenience or Science?

Are we interested in making decisions based on our, the flyfisher's convenience or on the best science. If the latter, then you will be hard pressed to defend any bait ban on the Thompson. The best science available says that for adult migrating steelhead the use of bait has no significant impact on hooking mortality. There is evidence that bait use does significantly impact downstream kelts and smoly populations. Given the run timing on the T, the former should not be a problem and I doubt the latter is very suseptable given water temps and average hook size.

If you want to reduce mortality then look to barbed hooks as this variable has been shown to have the greatest negative impact.

As to the convenience argument, I have a hard time justifying to myself why I have any greater right to fish a river than the other guy who choses to do so with gear or for that matter bait. Do I like seeing gear fishermen in my favorite runs? No. I imagine my displeasure exactly equals theirs when they see me there.

If we are going to save the fish and with them our wonderful sport, we must put away the bickering and focus on the real problems. There are too many with a vested interest in the status quo who are happy to see bait or gear type issues divide us. As Dave Bailey, a friend of mine is fond of saying, "Divided we beg, united we bargain". The Wild Steelhead Coalition was formed to provide a common voice. As Kush points out, the upcoming Summitt will be dedicated to finding common ground among ALL conservation minded groups whose focus is protecting steelhead.

If we work together we will make a difference. If we continue with the division and discord, we can all start working on our golf games.

st
 

·
chrome-magnon man
Joined
·
5,375 Posts
sinktip is right

for every study I have ever seen indicating that the use of bait leads to increased hooking mortality I have seen another that suggests that this is not or may not be the case. However, as uliwan has pointed out on another board, the concern about repeat hookings of fish that might not otherwise take an artificial remains. To address this concern (and the fly fishing image problem) a few years back I made the suggestion among a few of my flyfishing brethren that perhaps we look at a voluntary system of limiting our catch--say one or perhaps two fish landed and you stop fishing for the day. My rationale was that perhaps if one high profile group of anglers adopted such practices it might over time cause other anglers to think through their own need to catch as many fish as possible and maybe down the road more people would approach the Thompson in the spirit of "one fish well caught" rather than "I hooked 10 today!" Anyways, it was made loud and clear to me that no one was prepared to do this. "Why should we sacrifice our sport when other anglers catch so many more than we do?"

If the fly fishers aren't prepared to limit their catch in the spirit of fellowship and conservation, why should anyone else?

So there it rests.
 

·
#&%*@^# Caster
Joined
·
3,058 Posts
Wow. Great point Dana. It is something I have heard whispers of but none stepping up and just saying it. Limiting ones catch is a great thought and one I could learn to adopt. I do not fish the T but it is something all anglers on rivers everywhere should think about. If c'n'r mortality rates are between 5-10% (seems most studies fall in this range) then anglers really need to think about the fact that catching 10 fish in a day you are endangering at lest one of them.

Something to think about and thanks again Dana for bringing it up. Something I may apply to this upcoming winter season and beyond.


-sean
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
Missing the Point

I think I am missing something in this debate. If the returns to the Thompson are so low that people are concerned about repeatedly hooking the same fish having a direct impact on the overall fishery there is a greater problem at hand here? I cant speak from experience about the Thompson as I have never fished it but I am opposed to any fishery being set aside for a specific style of fishing. I may go along with an artificial only fishery or even a barbless single hook only fishery but to make any fishery a flies only fishery goes against any common approach to management that I am aware of. It sounds more like there is a biological problem in that the fishery can no longer support a native wild steelhead fishery. Is this being caused by overharvest in the commercial fishing industry? Is the river in such bad shape that it can no longer sustain natural reproduction in its current state? I think that the BC province needs to look deeper into the issues surrounding the capability of this fishery to sustain natural reproduction and what is actually causing the the overall problem. Making changes to a fishery such as this to limit types and or styles of fishing sounds like putting a bandaid on a broken leg! You may stop the bleeding but the deeper issue is still a problem and has not been addressed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
What scares me is that when I was in BC steelhead fishing in 1986 I was very impressed with their steelhead fishing rules and fishery conservation for wild steelhead and salmon. It looked like BC had their act together to preserve these historic wild fisheries,. Now 16 years later look where we are! Very scary and disappointing.

Not a good sign for the future of any North American wild steelhead and salmon fisheries unless we get our governments ,conservation, and commercial fishing rules, etc.. under better control. To me that includes the controls over steelhead and salmon fishing guides who have proliferated over the last 20 years placing greater demands upon the wild stocks every where. 20 years ago we had no drift boats out here now they are all over the rivers most with guides and clients.

PNW steelhead and salmon have more risks to their survival than the great lakes fisheries in the areas of commercial and tribal netting, logging, sea predators (seals, etc.) and it appears a higher demand from recreational anglers.

Wish I had a silver bullet answer maybe I should continue the resurrection of my golf game as I started over the last 5 years which has decreased my time fly fishing but at least gives me solitude, order, a challenge, exercise, in scenic outdoor settings and it probably costs less than the fly fishing outings.
 

·
Relapsed Speyaholic
Joined
·
5,393 Posts
Good food for thought

Some very intersting points brought up in this thread.


Dana,

I like the idea of limiting one's catch and understand that nobody wants to sacrifice their own opportunities if others will not. Maybe in time this will evolve though. It was not many year's ago that C & R was only practiced by the fish-hugging elitest few. Now, at least in Washington State, > 60% of anglers support it for wild stocks. The only problem I see is will there be any catch left to limit? Down here, I would be happy to only catch 1-2 fish a day.

Sean,

I agree but wanted to point out that the 5-10% mortality rate which is thrown around comes from studies on fish other than steelhead. The best steelhead specific data the WSC could find came out of B.C. and depending on barb or not showed a range of 2%-5% with single barbless at the low end. This was for winter fish with summer runs in warmer waters coming in slightly higher. I know the WSC has been discussing the planning stages of a C & R educational campaign in hopes of reducing these percentages even more.

st
 

·
#&%*@^# Caster
Joined
·
3,058 Posts
Thanks sinktip for clarifying. I feel 5% better:hehe:

No really that is good to know. I always thought it to be much higher.

-sean
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Looking for a goat

Just like I see in all tackle shops we never point fingers at ourselfs. We look for someone else to blame commercial fishing, Native fishing,logging,development.These are all great scape goats.The commercial fishing is now so limited and regulated it can hardly be the resonable target we all loved to use in years past. We should look at ourselfs and how we inpact the fish we all love to chase.


We all close our eyes and blame someone else for the fear somone will see us as the problem and close the river we love. All the factors we love to blame have tighter restrictions than they ever had in years gone past yet the steelhead are vanishing faster than ever dispite all our efforts.Yes with gut chuckers on our side we have a larger voice but at what cost.No educated fisherman can dispute the fact that you will hook more untouchable fish with gear. The more fish we hook and fight the more chance we have of destroying the run. As with anything in nature if man plays with it he will screw it up.


Years from now our grandchildren will look at what we have blindly done and wonder how we could not see it or why.

I have noticed most of the guys with a voice on this matter do not live in B.C. {not including Tyler & Dana and one or two others}.When this river is dead will you move on to the next country or take up golf? I don't mean to piss off every one on this board but this is a very important matter to me when its too late it just that TOO LATE. The truth is the goverment dosen't know are care about this river like alot of fishermen do we must take the responsabilty on ourselfs. If it means we can't fish the river for eight or ten years to help it repair I'm all for it.


Let's all have a good look at ourselfs and see what we can do to fix it not just look for someone to blame.


:( :(
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top