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monger

Decreasing fish stocks...will you limit your impact?

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Are you willing to change your behavior when fishing?

Handling, where and when you target fish, what species you go after/and timing, techniques used (fish without your bobber....it is possible)

Thoughts...

 

"Another way to improve best practices may be to institutionalise
voluntary conservation ethics that transcend the basic regulatory requirements
on C&R (Fobert et al., 2009; Cooke et al., 2013). For example,
in the 2019/2020 Alberta Fishing Regulations, anglers are encouraged
to avoid targeting fish species-at-risk such as bull trout and
native westslope cutthroat trout, and to voluntarily reduce their efficiency,
i.e., “Practice this proven method to drop your release mortality
by half; catch half as many fish.” (Sullivan, 2019). Appeals to normative
behavior or ‘doing the right thing’, accompanied by informal sanctioning
systems (e.g., angling community appeals to appropriate behavior,
and anglers confronting those who don’t use best handling
practices), can be powerful social institutions."

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" anglers are encouraged to avoid targeting fish species-at-risk such as bull trout "

Time to just stop allowing chasing bull trout. Guide outfits actively pumping the bull trout tire is getting old, considering we know they're at risk.  Hell, even tourism Alberta is promoting it. I get it, i used to be into getting them as they can be huge.. but man, there sure feels like a lot less these days. Dont think i've cast to a bull trout on purpose in 10 years.

 

 

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I caught a bull by accident last year in a spot I didn't even know they existed. Other than that, a couple from streams in the last 10 years. The number of people going specifically to target big, staging bulls sure has increased. They are quite vulnerable being so visible sitting in their gin-clear pools 

I fish for Cutts about 3 days per year over the last 10 years. It is a treat to go feed them some dries on a special trip. I think they are too valuable to abuse. You can catch every one in a pool on nymph

In the past BC had a "flyfishing only" rule on certain streams.... No bobbers, no attaching weights to the leader, single hook....I think we should do the same for the southern AB streams that are getting loved to death. It would be nice to see a few fish that don't have their mouths ripped up. They are only Cutts, work for them a bit

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Perhaps going back to the old days when Alberta had 1/5 of the population let alone anglers and close the bow from October to June 1st and let the spawners procreate in peace and do the same in the tribs for the Bullies or at least shut down the upper reaches come August

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I too have completely stopped fishing for Bull trout. Very rarely, they are a by catch while fishing for other species. I also now only take a couple trips seasonally for the Cutts, which I still desire for the dry fly action. By voluntarily limiting my catch this way, I can uphold my conservation ethic. There is far to much pressure nowadays on these fish to justify any other attitude.

 

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Guys i don't fish rivers anymore.Medical issues. But a couple of things come to mind.As a participant ,in the expired Rnd.Tbl for fisheries[5 yrs].These situations of fishing pressure,seasons,population[interest]explosion.These were all present & brought to the attention of fisheries back then.So changes that i have seen .Commercial fisheries in the province was shut down.But when i flip over to the AO brd.I see /hear the belly aching .That its still hard to catch limits of whitefish & is getting harder.No brainer here: These fish are heavily targeted,in the fall early winter.When the fish are spawning.Crawling Valley walleye,are still C&R.   SO WHY;  Catch limits have never decreased ,in fact .They in some cases ,gotten worse imo. 10 Fish limits,5 fish limits have got to go.Poaching on Crawling Valley must still be going on,or is it POOR fish release handling.Licenceing has to change.1 licence cannot be used as a fill the freezer.  If i may..Valid lic.holder,goes fishing with a couple of kids or seniors,that don't have to have a lic.But because that 1 lic is present they can all keep what that lic. holder is allowed in the daily possesion.Fish ID; Is another serious concern.Slap your money down at CT,or on line.In some peoples minds if they catch it,it is supper...Gotta change..Or keep paying to rebuild hatcheries to restock our wild stocks   My apologises..TIGHT LINES IN 2020  Do the survey.Mentioned in GD,on this board

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Monger,

I personally believe nothing will happen, I have suggested many times on this forum that we as anglers stand true to our beliefs and limit our rod days and catchs on pressured waters. What has been the response; those of an older generation yell and scream about impacting their time on the water. 

If we are not prepared to sacrifice our time on the water we will sacrifice the fish in said waters.

90% of this forum has count downs to the hills opening, they will come on here complaining about the available runs, the amount of anglers and how the fish are beat up from hooks..... all the while being part of the problem.  There are so many waters where you can get stupid tourist troots across this province but you just want to hang out with the crowds in the SW.

And now we refuse to give the fish a break, I see fly anglers casting to redded up browns on the bow, and as soon as the weather is acceptable fly anglers are catching slow troots under bobbers, on nymphs in -1.  Is this really something your egos need? 

We are the ones in control of our angling impact, we have the science and the ability; but we as anglers are choosing to not impact ourselves for the betterment of our chosen hobby, shame.

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Folk`s

I myself fish the Bow in the NW during the week , very often after dinner.

Enjoy walking and casting Dry Flies. .Most often just getting exercise and fresh air. 

I take my boat out about 24 trips per season. I fish with about 12 people each year.

Aged from 40 to 70..

I myself only fish Dry flies to fish which I stalk.

My boat partners fish Dry Fly attractors or Streamers, while drifting

We get out often and walk and wade. Looking for snouts and willing dance partners..

Jayhad..Give your head a big long shake..Speak for yourself and not others. My generation is mostly filled with experienced , well balanced Fisherman.

Do not generalize others behaviour and try to fit it into your very limited experience.

My friends and I have traveled the Earth and enjoy the day, the place and the fish are a distant extra.

I am open for any Fish closures and anything else to help....

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Gee Jayhad,

you going to poke at me you better be prepared to follow my lead.

ive reduced my time on flowing waters by 60 % three years ago and to <1% last year,

on still water I haven’t fair much better reducing my time to 70% of three years ago.

walk the talk will ya!

 

Don

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There are many anglers out there, of all demographics, who simply believe they are entitled to catch fish by any legal means. Personally I've been lucky enough to have an accomplished fly fisherman and conservationist take me under his wing and inform me of some of the unwritten rules. No nymphing for cutthroats on the Eastslopes, dry flies only, same goes for the Raven, Stauffer, Prairie Creek etc. Targeting Browns in streams/creeks with streamers is in poor taste. My buddies and I fish the central creeks/streams for 6 weeks ish in the spring/early summer, catching a hand full of nice browns on dry flies, then we leave those waters alone for the rest of the year. I'm privileged in the fact that being a single man with expendable income and a work schedule that affords lots of time to fish and hunt I can pick and choose target species and bodies of water with the best potential but I'm not the norm. Educating the angling public is important for conservation but the fisheries management plan of this province has the drastically change to enhance opportunities. 

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1961flyman and DonAnderson, Jayhad wasn't specifically singling you 2 out, he was describing fisherman as a whole. As long as streams are open, people will fish them (and even when they are closed). Remember the 2017 season, when it was recommended to stop fishing in the high water temperatures? There was still lots of people fishing. Unless there are specific rules, people will fish streams even to the detriment of the resource. There is an article from the Economist about the "Parable of the Clyde."

 https://www.economist.com/britain/2013/08/31/the-parable-of-the-clyde

This article is about the commercial fishery that was exploited beyond what it could sustain, but people refused to close the area down, because there was still money to be made (even though it was pennies compared to what the Clyde once was). 

I grew up fishing the Sheep river, and I would hardly see anyone fishing, even at the main access points. I move away years ago, but I came back a couple years ago and it was hard to find a parking spot even during the middle of the week.  And I saw way to many minnow containers discarded along the banks. Part of the blame (or most of it) is social media (and I wonder how many of those "influencers" are actually following the rules). People want to go to the mountains and catch big fish and get a bunch of likes. 

This isn't an argument of which generation does it better, as ALL generations contribute to the problem. 

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Hi Foggy;

Jayhad was not speaking to me personally, but made a direct comment which was directly pointed at My Generation.

I call bullshit on your response [ All one of your posts.] . His too..

If anything, it is his generation causing the most damage..

Check out social media for all the Squeeze, Grip and grin photos..20 to 30 year olds grinning like Hyena's..

He has called out an age group which generally has the most time on the water and the most time to reflect on the things they have witnessed.

I have reduced mine and my boat passengers fishing to single fly, Dry and Streamer only..No Nymphing from boat.. Never fish in front of bank anglers etc. etc..

No Pictures on the Bow..The fish go from my net back into the water with no above waterline time.

If I could make my impact on the Bow smaller I would be staying at home.

I am not perfect but have been trying to  minimize negative effects.  .I adopted C&R in 1975.

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On ‎1‎/‎31‎/‎2020 at 5:01 PM, 1961flyman said:

 

If anything, it is his generation causing the most damage..

Check out social media for all the Squeeze, Grip and grin photos..20 to 30 year olds grinning like Hyena's..

 

I am not in my 20s or 30s.

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1961flyman, 

 

Why are you calling out my one and only post? Sorry for trying to join the community I guess. 

 

I agree, the social media grip and grin, ripping lips thing is too much, and I'm sure many of the "influencers" poach and that breeds wannabes that want to do the same. Not too mention the environmental damage which does more harm to fisheries than anything else. Although industry practices are getting better, it is not perfect, the decision makers (older generation) need to be vigilant in doing what there can to protect these fisheries. 

 

During 2017 when it was recommended to stay off the water, I would head out to the hills to go mountain biking. I still saw lots of anglers of all generations out there. This is everyones responsibility, and and playing the "I don't do that" card does more harm than good. Its pits anglers against one another. 

 

In summary, no generation is off the hook. No generation does it better because they spend more time on the water and are able to fully appreciate what they have. I know kids that poach. I know older folks that poach. They all have the same attitude. and that is that they think they have more of a right to the resource than anyone else. 

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With a lot of worry and concern being directed at the Bow river, here is some food for thought. It has been the focus of a few studies and some scientific research, the negative effects of birth control and other pharmaceuticals on the sexual development and reproductive health of fish and other aquatic life. Calgary has over doubled in population in the past 30 years? what has this done to the river in terms of the the amount of mentioned toxins in the watershed. I think the problems in the Bow drainage have moved well beyond angling pressure and poor fish handling. Fish the Bow and enjoy it while there is something left. Reducing angling pressure, season closures will do nothing for it. 

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When ever there is a hint of a need for closures of the Bow River and the foothill streams there always seems to be a way to deflect to other causes that impact the fish population. Unfortunately very few can be controlled under fishery management. Wastewater discharge will get cleaner, weed growth will continue to be almost nonexistent, water management policy will or will not impact the fish population, but will impact angling in the spring and early summer. Storm water discharge will increase as more concrete in laid down in Calgary. Whirling disease is here to stay but will it have an impact on the Bow trout population. Catch & Release and photo shoots are not perfect. Angling effort is increasing. and the trout population continues to decline. It seems there is only one solution that can be taken immediately to save the Bow River. Reduce angling effort!

  • Catch & Release single barbless hook - no double or trebles.
  • A conservation license to fish the Bow River and possibly all foothill zones. 
  • Seasonal closures - possibly going back to an open season of June 1 to Oct 30, but include the city reach on the river.

An offset to these restrictions should be stocking lakes and reservoirs locally to those who want to fish year round an put fish on the fryer.  

 

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Fishteck, how exactly are you involved in fisheries management? 

The reason I ask is because of your comments on the “Artifishal” post where you mentioned you thought the crowd over-reacted with respect to the potential impact of fish farms on wild stocks, the cost of fish hatcheries to society, and rationalized fish farms as “ a commercial cost efficient food source”.  The literal decimation of socially, culturally and economically valuable wild salmon and steelhead stocks, to the tune of millions of fish, in order maintain of cheap source of protein hardly speaks of the "enlightened" conservation ethic you seem to be promoting here. 

That made me take a closer look at what you’ve been saying here and in the related Bow river threads.  I am paraphrasing so feel free to take me to task if I misquote, but you’ve effectively said that stocking the Bow to supplement declining stocks is off the table, changing industry practices is unfeasible, and the only practical way to preserve fish stocks is for one of the primary stake holders of the resource (anglers) to be excluded (through a combination of voluntary abstinence, by increasing the cost to access the resource, or with regulations limiting access).  However, you are OK with increasing stocking and/or angling effort on other water bodies in the province.  All of which will have the combined effect of reducing the recreational value of the Bow and the other streams of the east slopes, making them more susceptible to being further impacted by industry in the future.

So who do you represent?  Are you speaking on behalf of anglers or are you working to influence angler’s opinions on behalf of some other group? 

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Danhunt:

Two completely different arguments here.

Fish farming and the "Artifishal" argument is rooted in a belief that any commercial interests are corrupt and that they need to stop. Very similar to intensive farming operations worldwide. By stopping intensive fish farming operations it is hoped wild salmon stock will recover allowing for society to feast on wild populations of salmon. Unfortunately the wild salmon population has probably passed a level of recruitment to sustain human demand for salmon. Exactly the same in livestock management where if intensive livestock management was stopped, the world wide human population would probably starve to death. I worked in the animal health industry for many years and had the opportunity to visit a number of salmon farms on the west coast. Some good, some less and came to conclusion  that change was needed and how change could be made to meet everyone demands for meat production and ultimately protection of the environment. Therefore root out the abusers and support those companies who do a good job. Often economics of production will result in the latter.

The Bow River trout decline is a totally different situation. Although economically angling the Bow contributes in excess of $25 million to the local economy annually and all 4 East Slopes Zone more that $300 million to the Alberta economy, the importance of water supply for agriculture, hydro power generation and flood control have far more economic and social importance than recreational fishing. Add to this, society needs for clean water and waste water management and control would suggest many possible influencers of fish population  enhancement and controls are taken off the table. Unfortunately all of the above are outside the control of fishery biological control and management policy. and are driven more by economic considerations and social needs. Unfortunately the current water management policies and those that are being proposed for the Bow River basin do impact invertebrate life, fish habitat and fish feed availability. And during the spring and early summer can have a dramatic impact of angling success. I have argued with many individuals within the Bow River's water management regulator group for ways to protect the fishery, but outside of better control of daily fluctuations, federal and provincial statutes will need to change. So what is left, stocking the Bow River to meet angling demands, or regulation change to protect the fishery. Historically, stocking flowing rivers was discontinued in western north America many years ago with a shift to environmental enhancement and fishing regulation change.  The choice will most likely be anglers to make. But if regulation change is forthcoming it would seem logical to stock contained water resources where regulations could be more relaxed to meet the needs for more fishing opportunities. 

So where do I stand on these issues and who do I believe I represent and influence. I am a recreational angler who has been involved in a number conservation groups over the years, but have been disappointed in commitments to recreational angling opportunities. The Bow River needs a voice of reason, no vested interest, just protect the fishery for those who wish to throw a line across a rising fish and maybe catch a few under the surface. I have the time to research the multi-disciplined viewpoint on these issues and hopefully present a basis for discussion.  But most importantly protect the Bow River wild trout population for future generations.  Everything else is secondary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2019 was my first summer of retired life and I had envisioned a lot of quality days on the water. My 2019 days on the water were the lowest since I started keeping a diary in the 80's. I for the first time ever made the hour and a half trip to the mountains to fish and found the high country over loaded and every access with multiple vehicles already parked there. I went home with out wetting a fly. I even did it twice.  I suppose the new normal isn't for me, the state of things has severely reduced my days on the water.  

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It is kind of sad isn't LastBoyScout. Years ago I got started on learning the finer points of lake fishing just to get away from all people. It is a fun game and the rewards can be significant

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The increased volume of anglers is annoying, but it’s only going to get worse. You can’t really blame them though, it’s a really fun hobby

 

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There is nothing corrupt about the concept of farming fish for food (or any other intensive livestock operation), the corruption comes when it is done at the expense of the public interest or (in the case of terrestrial based intensive livestock) unless the animals are being raised in a less than humane manner or fed an improper diet.  If poultry producers (just a for instance, nothing against them and I’m not suggesting this is how they actually operate) were indiscriminately spraying waste, feathers, entrails, parasites, viruses and chemicals in the surrounding environment how long would they be allowed to practise those farming methods before they were forced to change?  Especially if those methods impacted wildlife on a large scale? 

As far as the inability of commercial fishing of wild salmon (including hatchery augmented runs) to meet consumer demand, I have to say so what?  Where does it say we (Canadians) have to sacrifice a public resource in the name of private interests, especially for an industry that is 90% foreign owned?  There is also no biological requirement that we as a species eat salmon in order to survive.  In fact, the two most populated countries in the world (China and India) got there without salmon ever being a significant part of their diets.

I would agree that there are other stressors like climate change, open ocean survival, etc that come in to play but the decline of the Fraser River Sockeye, as an example, lines up pretty well with the increase in the size and number of net pen Atlantic salmon farms off the west coast of BC.  I know there are steps being taken to develop land based closed system salmon farms and if/when they do, if those practices are ultimately sustainable, then I will have no problem with farmed salmon.  As I understand it, the technology to make it work is available now, it is just too costly to economically viable at this point.  If the salmon farming industry were forced to practice more sustainable farming methods that were more in line with other types of intensive livestock production, then the consumer would be forced to pay for the true cost of the product.  At that point letting consumer demand for the product regulate production would probably work.  As stated previously, right now it’s just a cheap source of protein and, based on conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues, I believe the general public only has a passing interest and/or knowledge of the risks involved.

On the one hand, I applaud trying to take a balanced and holistic view of the needs of society and how fisheries and recreational fishing fits in to the bigger picture.  That is a mature and reasonable thing to do.  On the other hand, that is not the world we live in.  The political will that controls these kinds decisions is steered by which special interest groups contribute the most to their election war chests and/or by which groups hold the most sway over public opinion.  Mining, forestry, agriculture, etc all have their own lobbies and they don’t need our (anglers) help.

As I have said previously, I am not against special licensing, increased fees, angling restrictions etc if they are necessary as part of the larger picture.  However, I do not believe they are effective on their own their own.  If you need an example how this plays out look at the Thompson River Steelhead.  When I last fished it in 2005 the run was down from the historical 10,000 + fish to an estimated 1500.  At that time angling restrictions in the form of zero retention, a bait ban, single barbless hooks, reduced angling seasons (in some years, no recreational angling at all), classified waters designation and a special conservation surcharge were all in place.  In the nearly 15 years since I last fished it the returns have fallen further from 1500 to 86 fish in 2019.  Why?  The same factors as the Fraser River sockeye plus the bycatch in the lower Fraser gillnet fishery for chum salmon, which still goes on.

To tie it all together, the issue in BC is the same as the issue in Alberta – conservation.  And, unfortunately, conservation without addressing the root causes of the problems (what ever they are) will have little appreciable impact over the long term. 

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I have a question that other may be able to answer. There are trout streams in the states that get hit as hard or harder than most streams/rivers within 2 hours of Calgary (streams close to Denver/Colorado Springs come to mind). How do these streams manage to be so productive despite intense angling pressure and water demands from agriculture? 

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