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Sparkplug

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Sparkplug last won the day on April 1

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About Sparkplug

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  1. Nice ties, Wayne. My kids used to just slay the walleye and pike on a Rapala X-Rap in the "Purple Ghost" finish - pearl white belly, yellow sides, and purple on the top/back. So I tried tying up some Clousers and other flies (e.g., big Zonkers) with the same color pattern...and they worked very well, surprise, surprise. Don't know what it is about that purple and yellow combination, but the fish sure do seem to like it.
  2. Fishteck, good note. There is no suggestion that the total amount of "hydro power generation", i.e., MWh of electricity generated, will increase upon PPA expiry. Rather, once the PPA's expire and the units are more fully under TransAlta's operational/commercial control, it is expected that volatility in flows will increase - i.e., more jacking around with the operation of these units in response to the hourly power pool price,which means more short-term volatility in flows (i.e., daily, or over several days). Your point about the available water supply is correct, in terms of capping total electricity generated. But there's plenty of room for TransAlta to screw with flows to control when that electricity is generated (and just as importantly, when it is not). On the comment about conversion to "run-of-river" for some or all of these hydro units, I don't buy that in the least. There is no technical reason why the dams could not be operated simply for flood protection and downstream water management reasons only - and as a result of this operating regime, whatever water is flowed through each dam on any day (with those operating parameters) generates power, to whatever amount and whenever that may be. The Oldman dam operates in that matter - AEP controls the flows for water management reasons, and Atco simply generate whatever power they can from those flows as they are available. No reason why the Bow/Kananaskis hydro units couldn't be operated in exactly the same way.
  3. Fishteck, while I agree with and like your thoughts about numerous factors possibly contributing to flow/level changes, the fact remains that with more wind generation being added to the Alberta electric system, Power Pool price volatility will increase, which will increase the financial incentive for TransAlta to use these hydro units to respond to that price volatility. This will in turn translate into more flow/level fluctuations. The fact that certain Bow system hydro PPA's are expiring in 2020 (giving TransAlta more latitude in terms of using these generators more aggressively to respond to Pool Price, for their own account/profit) won't help either.
  4. My dog-eared fishing diary and collection of fishin' tidbits from all over the place says Venice, Louisiana for big bull redfish in Nov. Muskies in the St. Lawrence. Sea-run cutthroats in the lower Fraser system.
  5. Plenty of interesting comments/observations in this thread. I don't fish the Bow much at all, but I might add a few questions/comments to the discussion: When comparing the Bow to how it was "x" years ago, one thing that doesn't seem to be discussed much is the fact that Calgary has grown so much over those past "x" years, to now a city of well over 1 million. As the city has grown, how has water quality been affected - more concrete/pavement (and runoff from same, washing in who knows what), more treated sewage water volume, more developments along the riverbanks, altering the banks and sedimentation, etc. Also, it seems to me that when we talk about the health of the fishery, we focus primarily on the trout (for obvious reasons) - but isn't it the entire riverine ecosystem that we should be examining? Maybe we are - but what about the health of invertebrates in the river (trout food), and other fish species like whitefish, suckers (competitors for trout food)?
  6. Sparkplug

    Damsels

    Figured that suggestion was inevitably going to be made sooner or later in this thread... Been seeing a lot of adults in past week in Calgary (damsels that is), not going to speculate as to male or female, almost all of them blue. I would guess that regardless of adult coloration, the nymphs are all in that light green - dark olive/brown color?
  7. Have seen them come out of the water to swipe at flying damsels and dragons...now if you can show one taken on a size 24 Trico, that would be something...
  8. Guess it shows, they'll eat anything...have had many a fine experience chugging a floating fly (i.e., bass bug) in shallow waters for pike, the bigger the wake the better, and having them come right out of the water to take it, never mind any sort of gracious slurp. They always seem to target the front of the fly, so I'd second the thoughts above regarding a wire bite tippet.
  9. With the change of government, several Ministries' websites have basically been gutted/purged. Awaiting new gov't policy directives, I guess.
  10. The boat generally doesn't move around that much, such that my target casting area generally is always within range.
  11. So I'm going to go a bit contrarian here...I have a 12' alum boat and I run it with only one anchor, off the bow. Let the boat windmill in the wind - in big wind/waves (which for a 12' boat, don't need to be all that large in order to feel big) it keeps the bow pointed into the wind/waves, which is good for safety/stability. I like to cover a lot of water when I fish from an anchored position, so letting the boat windmill around is somewhat helpful in that regard. I also often fish multiple-fly rigs (where allowed) and more than once, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit, I've had a fish break me off by dragging the line over the anchor rope, and getting one of the other flies on the rig caught on the anchor rope (can't always keep those big ones away from the anchor rope during the fight). I imagine this would be more of a risk when two or more anchor lines down. I should note that most of my fishing in this boat is by my lonesome, so I can cast wherever when the boat is windmilling. If more than one person in the boat, better fixing of the boat via multiple anchors may be desirable.
  12. Never too old - good for you for taking an interest. I agree that taking some casting lessons from a reputable shop is a great place to start. Some of us are "self taught" - I didn't have my first casting lesson with a qualified instructor until 30 years into my flyfishing time - but it was amazing how those lessons straightened out some long-practiced bad habits. I would also say that the other best thing to do is read, read, and read some more - from the classics (e.g., "Masters on the Nymph" was a seminal one for me, as was Charlie Brooks' "Nymph Fishing for Larger Trout"; Gary Lafontaine's books; etc.) to the wealth of great stuff available today on-line. I have found that keeping a good fishing diary has also been very helpful as a learning tool (particularly for those of us whose memory may not be quite what it used to be), particularly from year to year - noting not only whether you caught any fish on a particular outing, but other helpful observations such as insect activity, water conditions, weather, etc.
  13. FishnChips, The marginal cost of generating electricity by burning gas is material (natural gas price x the heat rate, or amount of gas burned to generate a MWh of electricity). The marginal cost of operating hydro is virtually zero. Thus, hydro will always be used (dispatched) first to respond to price compared to gas, economically speaking. The only thing that can possibly mitigate/change TransAlta's operation of these hydro facilities is regulation, through greater restrictions on their operating licenses. A case would have to be made to AEP that it is in the public interest to have these facilities re-regulated (i.e., operated in more of a run-of-river mode, subject to much tighter daily fluctuation limits) to protect/enhance fisheries, as a priority over TransAlta's economic interests.
  14. Right on, Fishteck. The Alberta Electric System Operator ("AESO"), who administer the wholesale electricity market in Alberta, publish the hourly wholesale price for electricity in the province here: http://ets.aeso.ca/ Go to the "Historical" tab, and select "Pool Price". Then enter the date range of interest, and up pops the hourly wholesale price history. Generally, there is a materially higher hourly electricity price during the day, than at night, as electrical load in the province correlates strongly with daily human activity (household, work, etc., vs. sleeping at night). Hence the pattern in the Bow hydro flows you show above - flow the water (and thus generate electricity) during the day, when the price is higher, and cut back at night. Water in these relatively small reservoirs is valuable/scarce, and hence its value in the form of electricity is to be maximized in accordance with hourly electricity prices. The further bad news is that with all the wind generation we are adding in this province, this will increase electricity price volatility (due to the fact that wind energy generation is intermittent, and somewhat unpredictable - cannot be controlled/matched to load). Hence, when the wind blows at night, when we are generally surplus electricity supply anyways, it pushes down the price. Conversely, when demand is high and the wind isn't blowing, price shoots up. In Feb this year, through the cold, wind generation was almost nonexistent in Alberta - and we had very, very high electricity prices accordingly. So as more wind adds to electricity price volatility, the economic driver to screw with these hydro flows to take advantage of that peak electricity pricing will only increase. Coupled with the TransAlta hydro PPA's expiring in 2020, this could be a "perfect storm" for even more jacking around with these hydro facilities, with further detrimental effects to the fisheries.
  15. "Perch killing tax" - love the idea, though may need a more politically correct name. If applied to all licenses (which I agree it should be), it would probably have to be in support of a more province-wide program, which in other areas may be towards creating new QF's or other activities to enhance specific local fisheries, rather than to just be about killing perch (not to take away from the importance of doing that, in certain waters). Some other brainstorm ideas, that could be supported by such a fund (no particular order): - Fund some legal/regulatory work to take on TransAlta and create more restrictive operating licenses (towards run-of-river operation, with greater lake level stabilization as a key operating limit parameter) for the K-lakes hydro system; maybe get some benefit in terms of stabilizing K River flows? - Buy out the landowners around Dipping Vat Lake, and restore that to its former status - Further aeration/development of new QF's, e.g., some of the potholes W of Calgary (maybe multi-species?), e.g., Norman, Frederick? - Perch-killing/lake rehabs in RMH area
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