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fishteck

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fishteck last won the day on November 22

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About fishteck

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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!!
  4. danhut: An ever-increasing number of anglers – Not sure this is true. I couldn’t find older data, but the total number of licenses sold in AB seem to be trending the same way as the resource economy in the province and have gone from 280425 in 2014, 318106 in 2015, 312064 in 2016, 309006 in 2017 to 281568 in 2018. I would agree that these numbers don’t necessarily give an accurate measure of how many anglers use the Bow. I have been waiting for AEP to report the most recent component of the federal Stats Canada Recreational Fishing Survey and compare it to what had been generated previously. The 2018 AEP creel survey is about to be released that should shed light on angling pressure. But a good anecdotal piece of evidence are the numbers of drift and jet boats on the river. From probably less that 40 boats 15 yeas ago there are upwards of 200 using the Bow river on a regular basis now. In addition when floating the Bow River I an surprised just where we see bank anglers downstream of the city limits. Nevertheless, some firm numbers are needed. The AEP Bow River Fish Population Survey suggests that recruitment of trout stocks is adequate in the Bow River to sustain the population – Fair enough, but this doesn’t reflect the experience of myself and other anglers who have noticed a distinct lack of smaller fish in the river in recent years. It also ties in with the next point; Unknown fish population and reproduction dynamics – Don’t mean to nitpick, but if the fish population and reproduction dynamics are unknown then how can the AEP Bow River Fish Population Survey suggest that recruitment of trout stocks is adequate in the Bow River to sustain the population? Seems like a chicken/egg debate? I will comment on both these items together. AEP biologist have indicated that the fish population survey information supports adequate numbers of juvenile trout to support recruitment and survival of the fishery. What is unclear is what is causing mortality in 1+, 2+ age class. Lots of speculations here. Whirling Disease is one, hook damage is another. But no one seems to know. The 2018 AEP Whirling Disease Report link adds some useful information. Although there were no clear clinical signs of Whirling Disease in the Bow River, there are in the lower Crowsnest River: https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/9f9268b6-377d-4f91-a99e-ee944f143752/resource/b10b0d33-d531-40e4-9f5f-cc7fc177320e/download/aep-whirling-disease-2018-annual-report-2019-10.pdf Restocking the Bow River appears to be a no go! Bow River fishing stamp together with enhanced protection for the fishery is possible.
  5. EagleFlyFisher - good question. The following is a list of options put together two years ago when it became evident changes in the Bow River fishery management was needed. I've added my comments from what I have discussed with many of the stakeholders in the fishery. Bow River Trout Population Decline • An ever-increasing number of anglers - FT - this is a reality and can be changed by revised fishing regulations • Limited regulation enforcement. FT - This will not change to any great extent. • Little to no commitment to river access additions and improvements. FT - new river access sites will spread out the fishing pressure • Where do trout spawn – has this changed over the past 20 years. FT - ongoing Brown Trout spawning monitoring, but little done on rainbow trout. The AEP Bow River Fish Population Survey suggests that recruitment of trout stocks is adequate in the Bow River to sustain the population • Unknown fish population and reproduction dynamics - FT expensive! • Fish population survey locations do not represent the Bow River stretch from Calgary to Carsland. FT - This changed in the 2018/19 surveys. AEP has a better understanding of the population variations across the entire river • Improvement in water quality and the impact on trout feed supply. FT - Although we would like to see an improvement, it is very unlikely since the basis of invertebrate populations is based on the Calgary Waste Water Treatment Plant discharge into the river that has seen improvements in quality in recent years. • Enhancement of fish habitat. FT - All very achievable on a limited basis. For example, Calgary's fish habitat enhancement projects at Quarry Park, Bowmount Park and the Elbow River downstream of the Glenmore Dam. But in the bigger picture, expensive and little impact with the size of the Bow River. • Impact of climate change FT Unknown and probably unmanageable! • Bow River Water Supply Management Plan – flood and drought control models. Up stream dams. FT - This subject has been debated for years. And until the threat of flooding to the City of Calgary is reduced significantly we will see little change in the water management policy. Some improvements have been achieved in 2018/19. But there are positives with the increase flows during the spring runoff - the gravel bars will be flushed off. • AEP commitment to management of a recreational sports fishery. FT - an ongoing problem, but improving! • Logging influence on the fishery – Highwood River Basin and others. FT - Environmental assessments and advocacy is key here. But unfortunately fishing interests were late to the table. • Changing hydrology of the river – floods, flood mitigation FT - AEP has proposals for new dams on the river in 10 -15 years. Debate will continue as to the viability of new infrastructures. Hydro peaking at Ghost will become a focal point in discussions. • Seasonal closures – short-term pain for long term gain. FT - One of the few options available to fishery managers and in my opinion very likely. • Fishing regulation change – triple hooks FT - One of the few options available to fishery managers and in my opinion unlikely without the support of all angler groups.. • Management of all water craft use. FT - Unlikely So what realistic options are available in the SHORT-TERM to stop the decline. Regulation Changes! With a 50% drop in trout population from 2003 to 2013 and AEP indicating that declines in fish populations continue, probably down to 30% from historical levels, its time to use all possible measures to make a change. SHORT-TERM PAIN FOR LONG-TERM GAIN.
  6. We are not alone in needing change to regulations and the mentality of denial. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/commission-sinks-madison-river-petitions-tells-fwp-to-put-options/article_8033b433-6905-53d7-948e-5bf641042440.html
  7. Toolman: With the exception of the large trout the Bow River is on the verge of a total collapse now. It is probably true for all east slopes zones as well. The Bow River under current management policies is unable to support a larger fish population. But changes in fishery management can stop what you have suggested is a complete collapse of the Bow River fishery. Its taken 15 years for the trout population to drop by probably more than 60 -70% and with agreement by all stakeholders and government agencies it will at least be maintained at the current fish population levels and hopefully increase to some degree.
  8. Toolman: This has nothing to do with blame, but the reality that C&R practices are not the salvation to the survival of a threatened fishery such as the Bow River. Especially when fish are getting caught numerous times in a season. It is my understanding that the Bow River trout population recruitment is adequate to support a sustainable trout population, but the kill off of all classes of fish is high. Therefore restocking the river will be a waste of time unless ways are found to stop the kill-off of juvenile fish.
  9. Don: There is no one answer to the declining trout populations. Sure habitat enhancement, water management, prevention of invasive species and advancement in control of whirling disease are all needed. Although I question just how much benefit can be derived from these initiatives in the short-term. But without a reduction of fishing pressure to maintain a sustainable fish population the Alberta trout population and our cherished sports fishery will be a thing of the past. And most importantly, with selective fishing regulation change an immediate positive impact on fish survival is possible. I have added a link to the two documents reviews I posted earlier
  10. Don Anderson: One of the references in the article is well worth a read: Arlinghaus et al,. Understanding the complexity of catch and release in recreational fishing. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DOGMb7a5XFcWqO1RYY3LnfSOYFqD3XZ9/view?usp=sharing It is the most exhaustive and detailed article I have ever read on C&R. Unfortunately AEP fishery biologists have little impact on the remediation of habitat loss as a bigger picture initiative. Invasive species, carp, brook trout (?), rainbow trout (?), brown trout (?) where does it stop. If the goal is protect only endangered native fish species, our recreational trout fishery is doomed! Whirling Disease is here to stay and time will tell just what long term impact it will have on the Alberta fishery. So what is left? The following link document review by University of Calgary researcher, John Post for 2002 give a depressing account of the Alberta fishery at that time. The analysis is still true today. We need to accept the reality that the Alberta sports fishery is unsustainable without further angling restrictions. At least this is my take. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SI06BuozDPMsC-RpFWkYk4dKtYJW6bb2/view?usp=s
  11. This article for Bozeman Outdoors Magazine, published in the Spring of 2016 is well worth a read. The article is well referenced and gives a good insight into current understandings of fishing pressures and the impact on fish survival in Montana. Considering what we are experiencing with the Bow River depleted trout populations, this articles has a similar message that is applicable to Alberta trout fisheries. OUTSIDEBOZEMAN.COM Like a Fish Out of Water | Outside Bozeman The unseen impacts of catch-and-release.
  12. Sparkplug, Although your viewpoint has been expressed to me by others with far more knowledge of the pricing model than me. But I've yet to find any information that would suggest that hydro power generation will increase on the Bow River once the PPP agreements are discontinued. The limiting factor is the water resource upstream and licensing agreements downstream. Under the existing federal agreements hydropeaking is the only way power can be generated, by way of storing water capacity for a proportion of the day to give sufficient reserve to operate the electrical turbines. This usually takes place when peak price revenues can be achieved. TransAlta has told me when asked if the system could be switched over to "run-of-the-river" hydro power generation on both the Bow and Kananaskis rivers that the water reserves will not allow it. In other words the limiting factor is water supply. If you look at the AEP stream flow website and review the storage capacity summaries across the Bow River Basin you will see the majority of upstream storage is currently at 85 to 95 % full. In the spring this will drop to less than 50% in some reservoirs. This suggests to me that the current hydro-power generation is close to maximum. The one exception is the AEP Flood Mitigation Operational Model put in place from April to July when Ghost hydro is take off line when the reservoir is emptied. Interestingly, I have started to look at the impact of the proposals for one of three new dam options upstream of Calgary, at either Morley, Ghost or Glenbow. The Ghost upgrade, whereby a new dam and spillway is installed down stream of the existing dam looks to be the best option. It also offers the opportunity to stop hydropeaking and possibly elimination power generation at that site all together. But still the hydrologists believe power hydro power generations will offset the cost of the new dam to some degree. I find it difficult to believe that a new dam could ever be built on the Bow River to protect Calgary against flooding. The proposals as they stand give little relief in stream flow. There is a need for a fresh look at the report generated by the Bow River Water Working Group who put the recommendations together for the three-dam options. Decommissioning all power generation on the Bow River and using the existing storage capacity to offset floods and maintain constant flows where at all possible would make far more sense. Only time will tell!
  13. Bcubed - Rather than just criticize, maybe you need to rationalize what the reason for the drop could be or phone AEP / TransAlta for an explanation: A drop in Bearspaw Reservoir storage levels - could have generated the need to fill. Standard operation proceedures accommodate a 15 CMS movement of flows up or down - the equipment is not sensitive enough to make finer adjustments. The drop and rise in flows are within these objectives and meet my statement. Possibly a malfunction at the dam Possibly a demand by governments to drop the river levels to remove or service instream infrastructure downstream. Go to the AEP Bearspaw flow charts for more accurate information on the release of water within the system. Calgary data is indicative of flows through Calgary centre but are compromised by local runoff. For a more accurate assessment of TransAlta's operations look at the upstream flow recording stations.
  14. I did not attend - others who were there can answer. Discussions I've had would suggest the fishing community needs to address what they believe is a goods day on the river. Either fish counting in numbers, and length caught, or a quality fishing experience catching a few better than average fish. It is my understanding regulations can be customized to fit either objective. There will be a need to broaden the scope of stakeholder input beyond the floppy hat-wader-fly fishing community. Single hooks and no triple-hooks should be the first step. We also need to be aware of the AEP Fish Conservation and Management Strategy - link attached: https://www.alberta.ca/fish-conservation-and-management-strategy.aspx The documents goes into the AEP principals to fishery management. What is of most importance are the guiding principals for consultation and delivery of the program. Recreational fishing is at the top of the agenda and commercial interests ( that includes outfitters and tournaments)) at the bottom. This would suggest that any policy change in the management of the Bow River would protect the interests of the individual angler in preference to guiding and corporate interests.
  15. AEP has now completed 2 years of Bow River Fish Population Surveys that appear to confirm the previous U of C publication that the rainbow trout populations continues to drop by up to 5% annually. If this is true, The trout population in the lower Bow River below the Bonnybrook Waste Water Treatment Plant could be 25 to 30% of what they were in 2003. The Brown Trout and White Fish population have also followed the same trend. If the Bow River supported a West Slope Cutthroat Trout population the province and the feds would have taken affirmative action to protect the fishery. But since both rainbow and brown trout are non-native fish, this is unlikely to happen. We are left with a once "World Class Blue Ribbon Fishery" that at best can probably sustain itself with less fishing pressure. Here is my take on what can and can't be done: Although discussions with TransAlta in 2018 did highlight a need for flow stability and I believe that has now been accomplished within their operational proceedures, the fishing community has little influence on AEP's flood mitigation protocols to protect the City of Calgary against flooding. The proposed new dams on the Bow River either at the Glenbow Ranch, Ghost or the Morley Reserve could be a game changer for the fishery. Although a long way off - 10 to 15 years, now is the time to advocacy to at least consider the recreational fishery. Invertebrate life cycles will evolve on the lower Bow River in the presence of the cleaner discharge from Calgary's wastewater treatment plants. We have seen more stone flies and fewer caddis flies in recent years. Changes will continue from year to year and the fish will most likely change their feeding habits to survive. This will certainly change fishing techniques on a seasonal basis. The days of almost continued dry fly fishing are almost gone. If Whirling Disease in one of the culprits for the decline in Rainbow Trout and White Fish in the Bow River, little can be done to reverse the impact. If Montana is any example trout populations have rebounded or stabilized with the presence of WD. The same will probably take place in the Bow River. Fishing pressure and the regulations that allow it to increase could well be the only management tools available to protect and enhance a depleted fishery. So what is the fishing community prepared to accept in regulations to not only enjoy the river we have at present but the fishery for future generations. It will be very important for all organizations that represent various fishing and habitat conservation activities to unite and advocate for change in fishery and water management. Now is the time to do that.
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