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fishteck last won the day on November 29

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About fishteck

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  1. I believe many are looking at the Cahill's publication for more that what it is - a retrospective statistical analysis of field study data over a 10 year period. There is little accountability of the variables from year to year in any of the population studies. Statistical modelling can account for some of the variables - but not all. Regardless, the publication does support what many have been saying for years, that the trout population is in decline and action needs to take place to stop the decline. Have a look at the following link that will take you to a summary of all the reported fish population studies prior to the 2013 flood. The trout population and proportion of rainbow and brown trout varied from survey to survey and in general the reasons for the variations were purely speculative. Nevertheless Cahill's publication has moved focus by AEP away from exclusively endangered native species of trout to some management of the Bow River sports fishery. I believe many of us would believe that this is a good thing. https://bowrivertrout.org/2018/06/13/the-state-of-the-bow-river-fishery-trout-populations-may-be-in-decline/
  2. This article has generated considerable debate on this board, our Bow River Trout Facebook page and others that have similar interests in a sustainable trout population for the Bow River. It is important to recognize that the historical Bow River fish population surveys were conducted on one of the most productive stretches of the river between Policeman's Flats and the Highwood River. And at that time were considered to be representative of the lower Bow River trout population. The 2005 and 2013 floods change that - the stretch of the Bow River below the Highwood was hit far harder than above by the two flood years and there is general belief that the fishery has never fully recovered in that area. The more recent fish surveys did include data collected from below the Highwood River and above Policeman's Flats therefore it is not surprising to see a decline in trout populations. What the data does indicate is that the trout populations across the entire "Blue Ribbon Bow River" from Calgary to Carsland dropped by as much as 50% for Rainbow Trout from 2003 to 2013. The end result has been that AEP started a new series of fish population surveys across the entire Bow River sports fishery from Bearspaw to Carseland in 2018 to establish a baseline to develop future fishery management protocols for the Bow River. This is a significant step in the management of the Bow River sports fishery. On the subject of variable Bow River flows - It is very easy to point your finger at TransAlta, but the Government of Alberta sets the protocol for Bow River water management. In July 2018 the daily variable flow were extreme. When we expressed our concerns for the fishery and potential impact on the fish survival itself immediate changes to the daily water management protocol were made and flows stabilized as best that TransAlta could do for the remainder of the year. The recently installed flood mitigation protocol for the Bow River may be our biggest challenge. The recommendations presented to the GOA were flawed in so far as not addressing the impact of modified upstream dam operation on the downstream ecosystem - specifically the sports fishery and associated environment. Bow River Trout Foundation has expressed our concerns to AEP Minister Phillips - we are awaiting a response. Needless to say, it will take time to make change to water management practices to enhance the sports fishery, but we continue to be hopeful. In closing, it may be worth following our website blog page for information on the Bow River fishery, we try to keep it up to date on current issues. http://www.bowrivertrout.org Bow River Trout Foundation
  3. Since the 2013 flood, modifications to the Bow River water management protocol were put in place to ease the impact of Calgary flooding. Reservoir capacity upstream of Calgary was reduced in the spring to allow for catchment of high flows during the spring of the year. Although this protocol would appear to give limited protection to the City of Calgary, the impact on the Bow River fishery has been enormous. In 2018, extreme fluctuations in flow had a serious impact on the sports fishery and may well have impacted the fish population itself. Bow River Trout Foundation has documented the water management protocols, advocated to change to water management protocols and sees opportunities for change to stabilize water flows. https://bowrivertrout.org/2018/08/26/the-state-of-the-bow-river-fishery-a-need-for-water-management-change/
  4. fishteck

    Bow River Flows

    For all who have been following this topic, a series of meetings were put together by AEP and the fishery stakeholder groups to address Bow River fish population declines and flow stabilization. The title of the round table discussions was "Flows, Fish & Fishing" - an interesting title. The most recent meeting included TransAlta staff and AEP Bow River Water Management Group. A number of commitments came out of the latest meeting on Tuesday July 31, 2018: Flows out of Bearspaw Reservoir have been stabilized and will be continued where at all possible. There is potential for a long-term water management change to stabilize flows into the future. AEP will conduct and expanded a Bow River trout population survey in September of this year There is a recognition that the Bow River trout population is in decline and may be under threat from environmental and water management practices. This within itself is a major shift in policy and makes all the work we have done on this portfolio worthwhile. On the subject of river flows and invertebrate survival. A very difficult field of investigation given all the variable that exist in a flowing body of water. We have discussed the subject with both AEP and academia with potential support of a research project that will give more insight into the subject. We would like to thank all stakeholders who have contributed to these important discussions Bow River Trout Foundation
  5. fishteck

    Bow River Flows

    Birdo: Go to the following link - membership $25.00. Your membership helps offset the costs of running the organization and the advocacy work . Most of our project work comes from our fundraising events (the one fly tournament and Blue Ribbon Bow Dinner) grants and certainly individual and group donations. https://bowrivertrout.org/membership-donations/ We look forward to having you as a member. Peter
  6. Troutlover's comments are correct in so far as scientific research should guide the direction of any substantial shift in fishery management policy. But unfortunately the commitment to undertake longer-term population dynamic research under the many variables that exist in the field is costly, time consuming and has little glitter from the researcher or fundraising perspective. Government funding was historically available for this type of research in the past. But little is available nowadays. BRT has looked at supporting this type of research through grant applications and donations, but usually there is a fixed term application for the funding to be used. The end result is that most often a review of historical research is followed by a relatively short-term study or survey to support a preconceived outcome. For example, there is a belief within the fishing community that the current Bow River Water Management Model of highly variable releases of water from the dams upstream of Calgary is responsible for depletion in invertebrate population downstream of Calgary. This coupled with less phosphate release from water treatment plants has reduced the fish feed in the middle to lower Bow River. A review of survey data from 2005 and data collected in 2011 that has not been fully analysed, suggests that there are differences in invertebrate populations across the basin but the variables of water flow did not allow any conclusions to be found that there was a significant shift in invertebrate populations. So what should we do? Support more research to possibly have a scientifically validated answer to our concerns in 10 to 12 years. Or move forward with pressing for changes in water management policy on the basis of perceived logic. My belief is that there are no definitive answers to this question when there is a need to show improvements in the fish population with 3 to 5 years. Nevertheless Bow River Trout Foundation will attempt to bridge to gap and get the most recent information out to the public to allow for a more informed understanding of "The State of the Bow River Fishery".
  7. The current high flow conditions are just like a seasonal closure that will assist the balance of fishing pressure and the desire to fish. If a post spawn closure was in place this year as historical was in the '80, we would not see any dry fly fishing until problem the end of next week. Is this a good solution to the overfishing concerns. Another option is single hook or dry fly only fishing regulations. Any one want to take up the subject?
  8. I was told yesterday that I always try to get the last word on a post I put together. But this one has generated a lot of valuable comment. Not everyone will agree with what others say and believe are the current reasons for the trout population declines. Bow River Trout Foundation has identified a number of issues that are felt to contribute to the decline and will attempt to get fishery management support to either take actions where they can to make improvements to the fishery, or support initiatives and research that will give a clearer understanding of what is going on. Although there is limited scientific evidence to support a number of our opinions, there is sufficient logic to move on a number of initiatives. Here are our current focal points: Improvement in the management of flow discharge from upstream water storage reservoirs. We are seeing far to much of an increase or decrease in flows over a very short period of time. Up to 120 cms in less than 12 hours in flow has been recorded on a routine basis this spring. Our concerns have been expressed to TransAlta and AEP who have said they will get back to me by the end of July. Do not expect a quick change on TransAlta's part, but some modification to the operational procedures are possible in the future. The reduction in phosphate load of the water treatment plants and the impact on invertebrate species and concentration is unclear. But what data has been collected suggests that the highly variable river flows will eliminate or reduce some species. There is some support to document the changes in more detail and hopefully make some water management changes. A public awareness plan has been started with a series of articles being released on the "State of the Bow river Fishery" the first being this article on the decline of the rainbow trout population. Others will follow as and when we compile the reference material. Government agencies do respond to this type of reporting procedure. Equally important are the comments that have come out of this post. Pelicans, cormorants, C&R, angler pressure, seasonal closures, disease threats all play their part as do self regulating your own activity and frequency of fishing on a vulnerable resource. If the trout population does continue to decline, predators, will leave, as will the anglers. This may be one change that will play a role in the survival of the trout population. Thanks for all the comments.
  9. All this talk about AEP conducting fish population surveys, creel surveys and monitoring the quality of the water in the Bow River is just not true! The last true fish population survey was conducted in 2007 and that represented the fish population on the Policeman's to McKinnon's stretch of the Bow. - not the entire river from Harvie Passage to Carseland. What ever the data showed at the time, the true Blue Ribbon Bow River trout population was probably half what was reported. If any fish population enhancement programs are put in place by AEP, how could we see if there was in fact an enhancement in fish population if the baseline data is questionable. The first thing to do is to get the baseline fish population data. The last creel survey on the Bow River was conducted in 2005 and showed less than one trout being caught per hour across the entire stretch on the Bow River. All this talk about routinely catching 20 - 30 fish days is just a figment of ones imagination. There are probably 4x anglers on the river nowadays with an increase in drift and jet boat use from probably 50 in 2005 to well over 200 today, The creel survey data also indicated that the Bow River fishing pressure was the highest of any river in Alberta. AEP is conducting another creel survey this year that will show an alarming increase in angler pressure and a decrease in catch rates. Calgary's water treatment plants have decreased the phosphate levels in the river. AEP conducts ongoing monitoring of phosphate levels and with their modeling programs indicate that the current water treatment facilities will meet regional population increases for some time. What is surprising is the lack of data collection for invertebrate population changes during the same time as the phosphate levels have been reduced. I have asked AEP to gather what information is available. What I expect to see is a need to do more research. The Bow River water management initiatives that are now in place and in its simplest form will see higher flows in the early spring when reservoirs are exempted in anticipation of spring runoff flooding. Starting in mid June, flows will decrease to fill upstream reservoirs to normal operating levels and by the middle of July when flows will hopefully be stable. Increase storage capacity will hopefully increase flows through August and September. All sounds very good for the fishery, but unfortunately daily changes in dam discharge can see 15 cms change in flow per hour. We have seen 100 cms / day increases and decreases this year that could impact invertebrate survival. Discussions between the water operators and the government will hopefully see some improvement in operating procedures in the best interests of the fishery. What does all this tell us? The common thread in this topic has been government and NGO's need to make changes to accommodate the fishing pressure that now exists. No one has commented on the fact that the Bow River fishing resource is overfished. We need to face this reality and address it now before the fishery reaches a level of no return.
  10. Boat Ramp Access - impact on fish survival. The float from Graves Bridge to Policeman's Flats together with the float from Policeman's Flats to McKinnon's sees the biggest pressure on the fishery. Not only from the float angler but also walk in bank anglers. If you want to catch a scared up trout from multiple catch and release antics this is the place to go. Every time a fish is caught the survival rate has been reported to decrease. Hopefully more river access sites will spread out the fishing , reducing the pressure and mortality of fish population. If one wants a more pristine experience and catch less scarface fish. go further downstream. Those fish you do catch will not have experienced the stress and damage for repeated exposure to hooks, hands, nets and air. Historically bigger fish were always caught on the Mac to Carseland stretch of the Bow. Were they bigger because of more feed, or that they survived less catch-and-release? Remember the boat angler may catch more fish, but represents such an insignificant pressure on the fishery as compared to the vast number walk in anglers. The pressure on the fishery comes from many directions, but the ever increasing number of anglers may be of the greatest concern. Spread them out on the river would give the fish population a better chance to survive. No science here! just and oldtimers logic. If we wait for the science community to take up our concerns and the fishery managers to take action to correct the situation based on scientific evidence there will be little or no fishery left!
  11. Brent: The argument for and against new boat ramps has been debated for some time. The current belief by many jurisdictions across North America and the basis for the new site proposals with the Calgary River Access Strategy was that "designated" access will restrict boat access to the river in such a way that it will not impact on riparian and fish habitat. The same argument applied to Policeman's Flats - indiscriminate river access to the river has more or less been eliminated with a hope that vehicle access to the entire property will not continue. In other words - containment of vehicle traffic. The argument that more boat ramps will give more people access to the fishery and thus increase fishing pressure has also been debated. More designated public boat ramps across the entire length of the Bow River should spread out the fishing pressure on those section of the river that have access. This surely would improve fish survival. If government agencies restrict development of new river access points you can assure yourself that casual river access across river banks and sensitive habitat will continue. Graves Bridge gravel bar is a good example. Once the free access to the gravel bar was eliminated by placement of a Lego blocks barricade, natural vegetation has taken over. "May" is a politically correct word that seems to be appropriate at this stage in the discussion!
  12. There is a great discussion here and probably the importance of knowing that the Bow River sports fishery may be in decline. For a long time government departments and NGOs have touted the Bow River as a world class fishery that is just there for everyone's taking. The Bow is unique in many ways, but most importantly there is not a trout river anywhere that has a city the size of Calgary as an intrical part of its lifeline. Water management practices have given us the Bow River trout fishery but the 2013 flood tipped the balance to an extreme flood mitigation practice that could well have far reaching implications on the fishery and the hydrology of the river downstream of Calgary. The following is a proposed list of topics that need to be considered if any improvement in the fish population are to be achieved. • An ever-increasing number of anglers • Limited regulation enforcement. • Little to no commitment to river access additions and improvements. • Where do trout spawn – has this changed over the past 20 years. • Unknown fish population and reproduction dynamics • Fish population survey locations do not represent the Bow River stretch from Calgary to Carsland. • Improvement in water quality and the impact on trout feed supply. • Enhancement of fish habitat • Impact of climate change • Bow River Water Supply Management Plan – flood and drought control models. Up stream dams. • AEP commitment to management of a recreational sports fishery. • Logging influence on the fishery – Highwood River Basin and others. • Changing hydrology of the river – floods, flood mitigation practices. • Seasonal closures – short-term pain for long term gain. • Fishing regulation change – triple hooks, special status regs • Management of all water craft use. Give us some feedback on your opinions. It is hoped that we will get the ear of the government in the near future
  13. The real problem with this subject is that most of the research, and citizen science has been limited in scope. There is a need to address the concerns of depleted fish populations on a Bow River Basin wide basis. The changes that have taken place in the trout population over the past 5 years do not appear to be consistent with normal events. Each of the five years we have seen dramatic changes. Larger fish one year, lack of a size class another and changes in conditions from highs to lows. The Bow River has been neglected by our fishery managers for many years due mostly to the focus on the endangered and vulnerable fish management policies and the presence of Whirling Disease. There is now a recognition that more resources need to be directed to the Bow River sports fishery. Before any change or improvement can be made to the fishery there is need for a baseline index to monitor shifts or improvements to the management of the resource. Fish population surveys would seem to be that index. There are many different opinions as to why we have seen the declines in trout population over the past 15 - 20 years. River flow management policy, closures, water quality, habitat, fish feed and regulatory enforcement are just a few of the many possibilities. What is important at this point in time is for the fishing community and stakeholder groups to consider what can be done to improve the fishery. Hopefully the provincial government will engage the fishing community in the decision making process. If not others will do so.
  14. The attached article on the Bow River Trout Foundation website will give the background on trout population monitoring for the past 30 years together with a recent retrospective data analysis that suggests the rainbow trout population is in decline and if remedial fishery management actions are not taken, the decline may continue. Alberta Environment & Parks have started an engagement process that will hopefully see some movement on the part of fishery managers to stop the decline. https://bowrivertrout.org/2018/06/13/the-state-of-the-bow-river-fishery-trout-populations-may-be-in-decline/
  15. fishteck

    South Boat Launches

    McKINNON'S FLATS CLOSURE Update April 30, 2018: Due to road conditions, the end date for the "Site Access Restrictions to McKinnon's Flats" has been extended for an additional week. Please find attached the updated location maps and the revised date highlighted in yellow below. The site access will officially be open to vehicle traffic on May 7th, 2018. Rocky View County