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toolman last won the day on August 20

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About toolman

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    Brown Trout
  • Birthday 10/09/1910

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  1. I hope you're right, but the data suggests that the Bow may be at a critical tipping point where things could abruptly go down hill very quickly. From my personal observations, I've never seen the river with so few juvenile trout.
  2. In a few years the larger trout will be gone and with dramatically reduced numbers of 1-3 year old fish currently in the river, there is a high risk of a complete collapse of fish stocks. It could take decades for the system to recover naturally. There are countless examples historically, where this has occurred. Restocking has no ecological downside in my opinion and there have been many successful restocking programs.
  3. There are indeed obvious answers and solutions to the causality of the decline in trout populations, as Don has pointed out. It's just that governments and industry would rather blame c&r anglers. One solution that I've mentioned recently is restocking the Bow. When reproduction rates fall dramatically, as they have in recent years, it is most often an obvious sign of an impending collapse of the fisheries. We can regulate c&r till the cows go home. It will have very little impact.
  4. I guess it's easier to blame and regulate anglers then it is to take action. Let's just hope another flood of the century doesn't happen any time soon or another Sapro outbreak that comes along and finishes off whats left of our meager fishery, for good. Maybe then, in hindsight, a re-stocking strategy to replace the current low populations of juvenile trout will have seemed like a pretty dam good idea.
  5. The upper reaches of the city section is low in aquatic invertebrates/plants so the fish that live there are more opportunistic, territorial and predacious. Thus the great streamer fishing. After the 2013 flood, the river lost most of its weeds, which is critical rearing habitat for juvenile fish (including sculpins, dace). Without weed beds to hide in along the edges, the small fish are at a greater risk of predation. Weed beds also slow the pace of the river creating habitat diversity. The city's flood mitigation strategy of lowering the levels at Ghost reservoir every spring for 5 consecutive years, post-flood, contributed significantly to the delay in Benthic recovery due to the prolonged period of turbidity, which decreased sunlight penetration to the streambed. Less sunlight equals less plant growth. Less plant growth equals less invertebrates and so on. Thankfully, the city has stopped this ecologically harmful flood mitigation strategy. With the lower invertebrate populations post flood, and fewer places for the smaller fish to hide, they became a primary item on the menu and their survival rates have decreased substantially, as has been noted by many anglers. Thus the great streamer fishing post flood. (And mediocre dry fly fishing compared to pre-flood) It's important to remember that the recovery from the flood is a slow process of rebuilding the food chain and habitat from the bottom up. The trout populations will only rebound after these conditions improve. From what I have observed, conditions are now improving quickly (invertebrates/plants/ripearean regrowth). If we want to accelerate the trout recovery, restock the river with lots of baby trout. It was two decades of stocking that gave us the past 50 years of Blue Ribbon Fishing.
  6. We need to start a restocking program for both brown trout and rainbows. That's how the Bow became the "Blue Ribbon Bow" in the first place, thanks to the AE Cross trout hatchery, started at their Brewery back in 1938 and operated until the late 1950's, (60's?). And back then, most anglers bait fished and whacked all of the fish caught. 100% morality vs 2-3% C&R mortality we have today, which is statistically insignificant to a sustainable fishery. Capture wild breeding stock from the Bow and get the Sam Livingston hatchery making lots of babies. Restock the river annually from Bearspaw too Bassano with lots of trout. Back to "Blue Ribbon" status in a decade or less. Better than sitting around for the next 10 years and risk watching the fishery collapse further, while we needlessly endure useless angler closures, destroy the flyfishing tourism industry, (Estimated $24 milllon annually) and put all of the local Outfitting/flyshops out of business. Lets get started, right now.
  7. There is one obvious FACT that has eluded some people in this discussion... The decline in Bow river trout and aquatic invertebrate populations are uniform from Banff too the Bassano dam, regardless of the degree of fishing pressure. And how we interpret statistical data can be subject to flaws in perception. For example, lets say we analyzed the anual fish eating, avian predator counts for the past 20 years. Pelican's, Cormorants, Osprey, Eagles. We could come to the conclusion that since their numbers on the Bow have increased significantly, then there must be more fish! Which we know is not the case. The rise in these Avian predators is mostly due to the fact that we have been stocking lakes and ponds all over southern Alberta and in many community lakes in the Calgary area. Storm ponds are full of Goldfish, Prussian Carp, and we have numerous stocked put and take public lakes, private ponds, (golf courses), Irrigation Canals full of thousands of trapped fish and so forth in the area. We have been doing this for many decades. It has become a fish eating Paradise for these birds.
  8. There are some important man made issues that are having a negative impact that we need to address. Flow stability, city development, the relentless expansion of rip rap walls (the city stretch is quickly turning the Bow into an aqueduct), organic pollution from storm drain catch basins/outfalls, ongoing and heavy use of agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, to name a few.
  9. In my view, it is mostly due to the change in habitat and conditions. The number of fish in the Bow = too what the habitat can sustain. The great flood of 2013 both destroyed and changed the habitat for aquatic plants, invertebrates and all species of fish. Now, the river is slowly recovering at the base of the food chain (aquatic plants, moss's, algae, diatoms,). This recovery is slow and closing the fishery will not assist, or speed up the recovery in any significant way. The vast number of Pelicans, Osprey, Cormorants, Bald Eagles is an obvious indication that there is still sufficient fish populations in the Bow for sustainability and eventual recovery. As for the statistical analysis of some phd student at the U of C based on fish count/catch, creel survey data, that has as wide a margin of interpreted error as the guy holding a 21" brown out for the camera selfie claiming it's 24". (And yes I have read the report.) The Bow will recover. Patience people, patience....
  10. toolman

    Picky Cutties

    I love spooky, picky fish. 5x fluro tippet, #20 -22 emergers in the film, 15' leaders.... That's exactly what September fishing should be....
  11. Do a google search of "Aquatic plants of Alberta". You will find excellent descriptions to help identify the species. If it is a native species and not overly abundant, it is probably a good thing. If it is an invasive species, then not so beneficial. That said, aquatic plants, moss, algae, are all important components of a diverse, healthy riverine system.
  12. Yes, I agree, these above average flows are good, but the nutrient loading is becoming very high downstream of the Weir. This why the Brown trout move up into the NW sections of the river to spawn. Cleaner gravel.
  13. It's from organic pollutants, thanks to the city's 60,000 plus storm drains that send untreated water directly into the river. Flows have been healthy due to a cooler, wetter year, which has also increased the loading of organic pollutants .
  14. The rescue crews need to train most every day. They need to know the river conditions at all times and be able to safely pilot their boats at high speeds in the event of an emergency. These are the folks we rely on to save our asses anytime, day or night, rain or shine, when every minute could be the difference between life and death. They get a friendly wave from me every time.
  15. A Royal Coachman winged, wet fly, can be a good fall swing pattern on the Bow, some years. Especially, when there are October Caddis around, like there are right now. A Classic grease line presentation is in order when fishing this legendary, Classic wet fly.
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