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fishteck

CFGA Bow River Fishery Seminar Wednesday January 15 2020.

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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

 

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Going.. I know it is cold out, but we fishers need to show up in numbers to hear what is going on, and what can be done. PL

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Do you think the information from this will be posted somewhere after? There's no way I can make it that night but would love to at least read about it. 

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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.

 

 

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It was an interesting night, but I was hoping Paul would have touched more on potential options to get the trout numbers back. I too was curious how much effect the flood, river snot, whirling disease, and more so, Trans Alta has on the river. I wish the govt would also give a higher budget to the CO's. And nice to see you there Eagle FF.     PL

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Is there any plan to limit angling on the Bow?

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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

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Thanks fishteck.

"The largest percentage of fish are caught annually by guided anglers that equals the combination of non-guided boat and shore anglers"

So the greatest angling stress (by far) comes from guiding....that sounds like exactly where the government needs to focus it's attention when it comes to limiting angling. If we see anything different than this there needs to be a lot of screaming coming from the public

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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.

 

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So every spring when the two groups of guide company’s  open there annual school for guides this will add about 24 or so more potential guides to the river.This is big money for the companies so who cares about the river right just the cash coming in for the school and the clients the company can put on the river.Im down with guides on the river for the economy ect ect but really we need to get some control.Sorry to the two groups but that’s the reality.You fish the banks and there full you fish your boat you play bumper boats.When is the This all going to stop let’s get some seasonal closures as well.Just my opinion.

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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

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Restrict outfitter/guides who have positioned themselves to make some money taking other people out fishing?  But if it was the same number of friends fishing the same water, that would be acceptable?  Not sure I see any difference except that the guides are being painted as a boogieman.  I use a boat to float the same stretches and have a lower impact than having somebody else do the rowing?  That could work I suppose since I can't run the boat and fish at the same time.  So maybe the answer is no more than one person per boat.

Using a guide allows you more to time to actively fish the river, reducing the time and subsequent pressure in any one area as well as contributing to a more enjoyable day since he knows the poor spots and problem areas to avoid.  As well, a new(ish) fisherman can be supervised/advised on fish handling by the guide. I've taken new guys out and their practices can be horrifying.  Besides the fact the guide will try to keep you legal.  

I look forward to my guided floats because it's just a much more enjoyable day, aside from the fishing.  When I drive along the upper Missouri and see all the nice water that I can't access without a boat it's frustrating.  But I could fish the easily and publicly accessible areas to my heart's (dis)content, same as any stream here at home.

Maybe the answer is to make classified waters, restricting the number of rod days and perhaps even breaking it down into stretches that you are allocated for your day if the intent is to reduce the pressure for any waters that have gone downhill.  Hands up: who wants to go down that road?  And unenforceable without more CO's on the "ground".  It's only fair that their pay, benefits and resource requirements are paid for by the people that they're watching, not general revenues.  If you walk and wade, maybe a better situation than now.  If you have a boat: do you look forward to only being able to use it a few days a year?  If you're lucky at drawing lottery style permits.  Go that way and you'll undoubtedly have fewer guides on any given day, with prices that put such a trip into the realm of "for the well to do only".

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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

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Any one who doubts the effect of Guiding on the Fisheries experience should take a float down river from McKinnons behind 5 to10 Guided boats from 2 well known Swathers.

1 cast every 5 or 10' of bank, every day for 3 months or more..  The gullible Fish get educated quick, the experience is sure not "Blue Ribbon . I have wondered why they don't spread the Love Around a bit better, but I guess Corporate Customers want to be together...

Why not add 24 more "Guides" per season.. Gotta justify all those expensive Simms waders, Boats etc..

At what point does this become unsustainable?  I would say we are past the threshold.

So this is what unrestrained use has allowed..

Hoist the Jolly Roger and onwards towards Profit at any cost.

Edited by 1961flyman
clarify numbers
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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.

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, fishteck said:

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.

Time to stop the 'this is how we've done it for 30 years'. Calgary's population has increased 2.2x since 1980 and 2x since 1990, so it's not just the introduction of corporate trips. This isn't the river of 30 years ago, yet we're still regulating guide services like the last 100, as in, we're not. Time to aim for a quality fishing experience with resident-priority, not just quality fish.

Based on the definition of 'blue ribbon' including:

- "Angling pressure: The water must be able to withstand angling pressure. "

- " Natural reproduction capacity: The body of water should possess a natural capacity to produce and maintain a sustainable recreational fishery. "

I think it's fair to say that we cant even attempt to call the Bow that anymore.

 

23 hours ago, yonderin said:

 Not sure I see any difference except that the guides are being painted as a boogieman.  I use a boat to float the same stretches and have a lower impact than having somebody else do the rowing?

That is what is stated above, and from typical experience, the truth. Guided anglers catch more fish then un-guided anglers. So yes, they have a bigger impact on a per-capita basis.

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When it comes to discussing limiting angling it will be interesting to see if the only concerned "stakeholders" that the government listens to are the ones with a financial interest in the fish.

Will it be just like what happened in BC.....guides pushing their agenda?  Will we see it again......Limit access to the public and then artificially inflate rod days, increase fees and keep those dollars rolling in while we "protect" the fish. 

Perhaps saturating the media with advertisements for the opportunity to have a guided angling experience day after day has a deleterious effect on the resource!

Just thinking out loud....classified bull trout streams, Skeena area steelhead

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There was no limit to 'public' in BC, provided that public is a resident. I'm fine with that if we get the same here.. You also don't see every fish in the Elk with scarred mouths, unlike our local cutthroat streams...

Guides pushed hard in east kootenays for sure with inflated days but Skeena was heavily pushed by annoyed locals who could not fish their own rivers on weekends. That being said, locals in east kootenays are plenty happy with what they see as moderately increased guide days, and substantially decreased overall pressure from outside, from my conversations with them. The michel is an absolute ghost town on weekdays since the implementation

Guides there also require way more reporting then what we have here (none). Every guide day is accounted for, every fish caught.. at least on the Skeena..

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Thanks for your input with some more background bcubed.

The smaller number of fish in the Bow are getting beat up. It is time for changes to be made

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I have Fly Fished the Bow for 5 Decades at least. Over 2,000 Float or Day Trips.

The last decade has been the hardest to take.

Guide boats fighting for position on every good bank. Cutting each other off, low holing, high holing.

I have had the same "Guide"  float a very small back channel 3 or 4 times in the last season. I was at the bottom, gently fishing dry flies, with a good friend as he rowed thru, while fishing and then asking me how is it going..15' feet wide.. How the **** do you think it is going ***hole ?

Fishing in front of bank anglers.. etc etc etc etc.

It is up to every angler to determine there own, lowest common denominator..

My advice to all anglers is to try to be invisible, make no impact on others. Be kind, laugh lots and enjoy the Day.

To all the Hipster "Guides".. Maybe go back to school or get a part time job that doesn't effect the health of the Bow so much.

The first and most important job and ethic of a "Guide" is to provide GUIDANCE.

In all things, not just the total catch and Tip received.

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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%

 

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Well hopefully anyone on here complaining goes to the open house tonight to provide this kind of feedback. I’ll be there doing such

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