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fishteck last won the day on January 21

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  1. Most anglers I have spoken to who were at the Calgary forum have the same opinions as you have expressed. It is also important that AEP were also impressed with the turnout at 150 to 200 at each of the major population centres. A lot of effort was put into this engagement forum by all involved. We had our opportunity to express our opinions on all the subject listed and now we will see what comes out of the discussions. I for one believe we will see change in regulations to protect wild trout populations in the four foothill zones. Not just cutthroat and bull trout. What changes are made this year is difficult to determine, but change will take place over the next couple of years.
  2. I was starting to think I was one of very few anglers prepared to voice our belief that angling pressure is possibly the biggest contributor to declining trout populations across the whole of the four foothill east slope zones. But this conversation has given me some hope for the future. It is fair to say that regulations can be put in place to curb the declining trout populations. Most of which will have a sizable impact on the guided angler and just as much as other forms of fishing our streams and rivers: A conservation license to fish all foothill zones - $50/ year? And/or a special Bow River license of $50/year? Incremental increases for out of province and country anglers. License guides with mandatory reporting proceedures and restrictions where needed to protect specific fisheries. Catch-N-Release and barbless hooks on all foothill flowing waters. And to offset this, a Put-&-Take trout still-water fishing initiative with a daily license fee. Eliminate triple-hooks and mandate a one hook angling policy across all foothill zone flowing waters. This action within itself will most likely have the biggest impact on angling effort. These initiatives will increase revenue that should be directed towards policing, education and conservation initiatives. But most importantly these changes if enforced could reduce angling effort and possibly mortality rates by up to 50%
  3. We need to remember that Bow River guided trips have been around for 30+ years. But what has changed is the introduction of corporate trips where the Bow River trout population is used as a commodity for fundraising activities or a bonus for employees and customers. A good proportion of those who participate have no knowledge of the declining trout populations - and if they do, have little interest in conserving the trout population. Counting trout caught, measured and photographed are the key measures of success. What is also important is that guides on these trips benefit greatly from the publicity that surrounds putting clients and guests into larger numbers of fish and being recognized as such. Not to mention a good tip received. During my time as a director of a number of local organization that either support the Bow River fishery or its habitat, I never saw a donation from corporate fundraising events or individual corporate events to enhance improvements and conservation to the river. This to me is a sorry state of affairs. One of our directors even bragged about the amount of cash he had to shell out at one corporate event where he has to add $1 for each inch of fish caught. Where did all the cash go - I don't know but was not to our group.
  4. The full report from the Madison River can be found at the following link: I for one would like to see a similar analysis of the recent AEP Bow River creel survey and compare the results to earlier surveys. What is clear in the Madison River survey is the complexity of managing a sports fishery. Hopefully we see the same due diligence on the part of AEP to come to a early decision on fishery management change. https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A05b92660-bc91-4bda-b28f-c7e99854d6f2
  5. Vitalshok: The Alberta Fisheries Management online engagement questionnaire is now open at the following link. It is one place where you can express your concerns. Although the engagement process is focused on improving fishing opportunities in the province, there is a section where you can express your concern for the fishery. My belief is that the online questionnaire is worth completing before you hopefully go to the public forum on Tuesday January 21 at Calgary's Bow Habitat Station and engage with AEP staff on the real problem for the Bow River of over-fishing. With enough pressure from foothill zone anglers we will see changes to regulations and licensing. The problems we are facing on the Bow River are not unique. The Madison River in Montana has experienced considerable expansion in guided angler pressure in recent years and are now planning to introduce restriction: Montana officials want to limit outfitter use on the Madison River to deal with increased fishing pressure on the famous stream.Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released a draft Madison River recreation plan that would cap the number of outfitters and limit the number of guided trips outfitters can send out each day. It would also ban commercial guiding on the river’s lowermost stretch and prohibit commercial guides from certain stretches on certain days. The proposal comes after years of growth in angler numbers on the Madison. FWP’s draft environmental assessment said the agency counted 179,000 angler days on the river last year (2018). It also said commercial outfitter use has increased by 72 percent since 2008. I am not sure if restricting guide boats on the Bow River is the answer, but restricting fishing gear use to a single hook or fly would go a long way to reducing catch rates. As would a special conservation license for the East Slopes Fishing Zones and possibly a second one for the Bow River. But if restrictions are put in place on flowing waters there is a need to stock lakes for the those anglers who wish to catch large numbers of fish and take a few home for the frying pan. https://talkaep.alberta.ca/aep-fisheries-management
  6. Monger: The statement I made, "The largest percentage of fish are caught annually by guided anglers that equals the combination of non-guided boat and shore anglers" was based on the notes taken while the information was being being presented. This afternoon AEP suggested that my understanding of the presented information may not be accurate and that the interpretation of the data would be better presented by the following statement, "Catch rates were reported to be generally higher by guided anglers, as compared to non-guided and shore anglers" Hopefully data analysis will be published from the recent Bow River surveys that allows for a better interpretation of the results. I made the change in the original blog.
  7. Unfortunately the presentation did not get into the details or analysis of the Bow River Trout Population Survey since the data analysis is not complete. Therefore the focus of the presentation was on the 2019 creel survey that was interesting in itself: There is a 15% increase in angling pressure since the previous creel survey reported in 2006. This falls in line with Alberta's human population increase in the same time period. The Bow River is considered to be at "High Risk" on AEP sustainable index methodology and could go higher without fishery management change. Catch rates were reported to be generally higher by guided anglers, as compared to non-guided and shore anglers. There is no evidence of Whirling Disease present in the lower Bow River based on the 2018-19 fish population survey size class estimates. The Bow River angling pressure is one of the highest of any fishery in Alberta. And all ES1 Zones trout streams are under extremely high angling pressure. Although there are many influencers that have an impact on the sustainability of Bow River trout population, it is unlikely that those outside of angling pressure can be changed by AEP Fishery Management Policy. The Bow River trout and whitefish fish populations continue to decline and without intervention, principally on the angling pressure front, the sports fishery will continue to decline. Southern Alberta's fishing regulations will change - just how fast and what approach will be taken is hard to define. But it is clear AEP has very few options at hand. It is extremely important for all anglers to complete the AEP Fishery Management Survey that is now on their website. If you do it before you go to the ongoing open forums this coming week you will have a better idea of what AEP has focused their attention on for the future of Alberta's sports fisheries. https://talkaep.alberta.ca/aep-fisheries-management
  8. I am hoping to put a summary of the presentations together before the weekend in preparation for the upcoming AEP Fishery Management Forum in Calgary on January 21. By the way the times of the AEP forum were removed from their website. Its an open discussion forum 4:30 to 8:30 at each location.
  9. An event you should not miss on Wednesday January 15, 2020: Calgary Fish & Game Association's Fish Management Seminar In the spring of 2018 University of Calgary researcher, Chris Cahill reported that the World Class Bow River Trout Fishery was in a severe state of decline. Rainbow Trout populations were reported to have declined by as much as 45% over a 10 year period from 2003 to 2013. Subsequently, Alberta Environment and Parks embarked on a two-year Bow River fish population survey in 2018 - 19 to establish a baseline for further investigation. Preliminary results released in 2019 suggested that the decline in all Bow River sport fish populations continues. Calgary Fish & Game Association’s seminar this week, The State of the Bow River Fishery will present the Government of Alberta’s Fishery Management and Enforcement Branch overview of the fishery. Two presentations: • Paul Christensen, Senior Biologist, Alberta Environment and Parks, South Saskatchewan Region will present a report on the status of the Bow River Basin Fishery Management Objectives. • Scott Kallweit, Calgary Metropolitan District Sergeant, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch, Justice and Solicitor General will be presenting enforcement issues related to our fisheries, as well as, an update on the Report a Poacher program. The event will be held at the Cardel Theatre 180 Quarry Park Boulevard SE, Calgary January 15, 2020 from 7 to 9 PM. Registration is required for this free event Go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/alberta-government-fisheries-p… Peter Crowe-Swords Calgary Fish & Game Association
  10. Two events you should not miss in January:Calgary Fish & Game Association's Alberta Government Fish Management seminar at the Cardel Theatre in Calgary on January 15, 2019. The State of the Bow River fishery will be presented by AEP Fishery biologists and Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Branchhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/alberta-government-fisheries-presentation-tickets-87049877527Alberta Environment & Parks Fisheries Management Engagement Forum at Bow Habitat Station on January 21, 2019. You will have the opportunity to engage with fishery management staff on what you believe are important to sustain local recreational fisheries.https://talkaep.alberta.ca/aep-fisheries-management
  11. Jayhad: Stop hiking and hunting in the back country where fish populations are at risk. No. The justification for this statement is based on the all encompassing guidelines released under GOA directives. All government agencies are expected to sanitize equipment when moving across watersheds. Contractors are to my knowledge expected to do the same when working in or close to watersheds. And anglers and watercraft users are expected to do the same. Hikers and hunters cross water bodies on their travels in the back country, therefore why should they be exempt from following the same guidelines. If it was believed that restricting access to the back country would reduce to probability of invasive species and disease, I do not see any governments taking punitive action against back country users. The end result is that whatever policies are put in place to "save our fisheries" very few if any will contribute significantly in preventing an increase in their presence..
  12. Don: Your focus here is far too limited. Fish populations world wide are diminishing at the same rate as angling pressure goes up. It does not matter if the pressure comes from commercial or recreational anglers, the objective of just about everyone is to catch more fish. Its not to protect endangered fish populations, reduce (not eliminate) invasive species and diseases. And god help us, never suggest that anglers have any sort of impact on fish stocks. I do not see and government regardless of their political stripes taking on some of the bigger issues to eliminate transfer of invasive disease and species across watersheds: Will they stop movement of cattle across watersheds. No. Stop off road vehicle use. Especially oil and logging service vehicles. No. Stop hiking and hunting in the back country where fish populations are at risk. No. So whats left? The recreational angler who decides to take it upon him- or herself and aid in the protection of our fisheries by themselves. This is a loosing battle! Whirling Disease is here to stay. Dog sniffers at the border will not catch all Zebra Mussel transfer to out watersheds. Possibly the only option is to keep replenishing wild trout population where angling pressure is high.
  13. Danhunt: The subject of how to stop the decline and hopefully enhance the trout population. is way beyond my knowledge of aquatic biological science. But as with any field studies across the full spectrum of species, one thing is for sure just when you believe you have some of the answers, the variables change and the outcome often gives a totally different interpretation of the data. For example, the historical Bow River fish population studies conducted 10 to 20 years ago generally gave similar results with the investigators concluding that the fishery continued to sustain itself. See following link. All the variables that could have influenced year to year changes could not be defined or accounted for in the historical analysis and therefore in retrospect the interpretation of the data could have been speculative. It was not until a retrospective analysis of all the historical data was conducted in 2017 that statistically a 4 to 5% annual decline in rainbow trout populations was arrived at. .https://bowrivertrout.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/bowriverfishpopulations-report06june20182.pdf The AEP 2018 and 2019 fish population surveys have indicated the the decline in all trout species has continued. The data will be released to the public over the winter months. And it is my understanding a more extensive analysis of age class of fish has been conducted. There is also a plan to conduct a computer modelling program for the Bow River fish population dynamics that will guide the appropriate fishery management direction to take to sustain the fishery. I'm not sure this fully answers you questions , but may complicate it further! A link to Chris Cahill's paper is also follows and may shed some light on the current thinking withing fishery management circles. https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/c9e0c9_c5a407800c1a4425b91c80b9f2ac8eff.pdf
  14. Eagleflyfisher: The Bow Habitat Station/ Livingstone Fish Hatchery was closed in the fall of 2017 to modernize the facility. I am not sure if it has reopened. http://bowhabitat.alberta.ca/explore/fish-hatchery.aspx
  15. Dan: We need to go back beyond the the Cahill publication that reported a decline of 40 to 50% in the rainbow population from 2003 to 2013 that sparked much of the debate we are seeing now. To some degree we are all grabbing at straws to identify just what the cause of the decline can be. But one thing is clear the fishery is suffering and continues to decline. Although frustrating on our part, AEP are being very cautious with the release of the data from both the recent creel survey and population assessment. The discussions I've had with AEP on this subject would suggest they need to get the interpretation of the data right before being formally released to the public. In the meantime two things do line up: The Bow River trout population is probably 50% of what is was in 2003 (and possibly lower) The Creel Surveys indicate that catch rates have generally been similar over the same period of time. This would indicate fishing techniques have changed to accommodate a declining trout population and fish are getting caught more frequently, with more facial damage, reduced ability to feed resulting in increase mortality rates. Add to this, hook size and configuration has a greater impact on the smaller class of fish. There is no doubt that all other probably cause does play a roll but are almost impossible to manage. But angling does appear to have a significant impact on fish survival. Therefore what can be done to halt the decline? Regulations - closures - special licenses appear to be the only option available without a fundamental change in our society use of the Bow River, water management and protection of the City of Calgary against flooding. Toolman: Thank you - A good debate is always worthwhile!!
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