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chrome-magnon man
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What's going on with BC summer steelhead? By most accounts the Dean was below average again this year, and I have yet to hear a good report coming out of the Skeena system. Are the fish simply late (again) this year? Is global warming turning our August/Sept fishing into Sept/October fishing?

How has the fishing been in Washington and Oregon this summer?
 

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Although the rivers haven't opened yet, the damn counts on the upper columbia river at Wells dam seem to be right on time with years past. Now if only the water levels would rise to "normal" levels. I remember that sinktip was going to be on the skeena system the past couple of weeks, anyone heard if he has returned yet and how the trip went?

CDG
 

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I just returned and based on the small sampling of myself and the two guys I spent time up there with, the fish have yet to show up in the usual numbers. We spent days on both the Bulkley, Kispiox and main-stem Skeena and while at least one of us managed to move a fish on each, it was s-l-o-w! Based on conversations with other anglers from the Mid-west to Europe, everyone was having trouble finding fish. On the bright side though, the weather was grand!

A pic from the upper Kispiox :eek:
 

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The Dean may be finished.

Unfortunately this year, poor Dean River fishing is due to human causes.

A fishing partner on the Dean stopped by Fisheries & Oceans Canada in Bella Coola on the way home, and talked with the officials. He was told there were only three enforcement officers for the area, and by inference, commercial regulations could not be enforced.

Another person in the FOC office, not an employee, said there were approximately 100 commercial salmon fishing boats intercepting Dean Channel fish during the prime steelhead run and none were following regulations.

The regulations are that linear nets are to be placed one meter below the surface so steelhead can escape, and that in the case of purse seining, the steelhead are supposed to be "brailed" [removed from the net before hauling aboard]. Neither of these regulations are being followed by the commercial fishermen, and there is no enforcement because local FOC folks suffer reprisals when citations are issued. Specifically mentioned reprisals were burning of homes and beating of officers' children [by children of fishermen].

Steelhead are a three year cycle. It won't take long to finish the Dean.

I also posted this in the steelhead forum.
 

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Dana,

No problem with the drag system at all. I left it light for the first run or two and used the palming rim and then cranked it down when I wanted to tire him out. The finish stood up well to the teeth too but I would like a larger arbor to pick up line quicker when they charge. :razz:

'tip
 

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Netting of DEAN FISH

just returned yesterday from the river....rumor on the river: apparently there was a federal (not BC govt)change in netting regulations for the Dean Channel to allow coho netters to net all the way to the surface for some time periods in late august and perhaps early september...this is completely contrary to the historical six foot depth net requirement to protect the steelhead which swin near the surface..even though the commercial fisherman are required to immediately release a netted steelhead, the practice apparently is such that a released fish from a net is likely dead or damaged such as to become seal food... the belief is that the late august run was severly impacted this year because of the changed net policy.
 

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Summer Runs

In Washington State virtually all systems with Summer Runs, ( indigenous or propogated ), are experiencing very poor returns. There are a few systems where fish counting bears this out and the remaining systems are only tracked by creel census and reports. Statistically, there is an inexplicable trend of increasing Salmon returns and decreasing Steelhead returns. I've not even heard speculation as to why this trend seems to be. Additionally, the long run systems are not lighting up, but seem to be holding their own. It's simply a mystery.
 

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Commercial Interception ?

Advance apology for the political twist, but it is already started above. I am aware of two commercial fisheries for Chum Salmon in BC that negatively impact two of the finest Steelhead fisheries in the world. As mentioned above, Chum are commercially netted in The Dean Channel with Dean River Steelhead as incidental catch, ( cannot speak to a Coho fishery ). Chums are also netted in the Fraser River with Thompson River Steelhead as incidental catch. In both incidences I am told that the value of the fish is so low that gas money is not even covered. Also told what is really being fished for is unemployment benefits as a given number of days on the water establishes the entitlement. This is not we/they, you/me management criticism, ( let he who is without sin cast the first stone ), but an interest in preserving the resource/s. This forum probably represents the best advocacy available for these fisheries. If anyone could provide effective lobbying contact info. for all us grass roots or arm chair advocates, I'll bet a lot of messages would be sent. We were once successful with this effort in getting fishing from boats on The Thompson banned, ( back when jet sledders with hot shots discovered the river ). I know this is political, but seemed to fit this thread.
 

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I fished the Kalum and the Skeena

through Sep 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, unfortunately I did not hook any steel. I did hook two decent silvers on the Skeena and a couple dollies and cutts in the Kalum but, I was there for steel. I had hoped the Kalum with all it's color would produce a couple of nice steelhead :mad:

-Fishgrog
 

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Swinger of Flies
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I just returned from a week on the Bulkley. Great trip, amazing river, etc. Fishing was super slow (by everyones account). I rolled a fish on a dry (didnt hook), and had another hooked and up to the surface off of a sink tip (failed to remain hooked). Oh yeah, I caught a dolly as well. She was pretty slow up there. Owell, there is always next year!! Hopefully next year my 7141 wont explode on the first cast!!
 
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