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Bow river angling management discussion


monger
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Government discussion online Nov 3, 7pm

see here to sign up:

https://mywildalberta.ca/fishing/fisheries-management/default.aspx

Looks like angling restrictions are in the works since that is the easiest thing for the government to control.

Wise to get educated on restrictions that will be introduced. It will be interesting to see how the recreational anglers are effected in comparison to the guiding industry.

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https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/40a348e3-dca0-4431-8142-e01006f3bc32/resource/e554bacc-dcf4-4952-8789-7adc5250b712/download/aep-bow-river-fisheries-management-zone-es1-pp1-2021-10.pdf

 

There are currently two management actions immediately available to AEP Fisheries Management: reduce the angling effort, and/or reduce the number of trout each angler can catch. AEP is working with external agencies and angling groups to identify options that address high angling effort and catch rates. Consultation will occur to identify which options can be implemented. Failure to implement management actions will likely result in further declines of the Bow River trout fishery.

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Professional guides enable the handling of LOTS of fish. I would suggest much more than the average joe on the side of the river. If there is a move to "limit angling effort/number of fish handled". the government better limit the guiding industry that exploits a public resource before the regulations go after recreational anglers. I don't want to see some crap about "rod days" and their associated monetary value being used as a reason to give the guiding industry a pass on limiting their impact.

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11 hours ago, monger said:

Professional guides enable the handling of LOTS of fish. I would suggest much more than the average joe on the side of the river. If there is a move to "limit angling effort/number of fish handled". the government better limit the guiding industry that exploits a public resource before the regulations go after recreational anglers. I don't want to see some crap about "rod days" and their associated monetary value being used as a reason to give the guiding industry a pass on limiting their impact.

Giving the guiding group a pass in the light of their efforts to stop WD is ludicrous.

Don

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The attempts at limiting angling pressure on the Bow will prove fruitless in actually impact on the fishery, this includes guiding. For a river that runs through a metropolis of over a million people it receives light to moderate fishing pressure but its actually the metropolis itself that's the problem. The Bow is suffering a "death by a thousand cuts" scenario caused by human encroachment in the Bow valley and surrounding watersheds.  It's time face the fact the Bow is a tailwater, full of non native fish, infected with WD that will be in a constant state of decline unless it becomes a stocked water. I know many don't want to hear this but it's really the only solution, a trial enhancement project has to be implemented and soon.

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Fiddling with angling pressure is the easiest thing for the government to attack...so of course that is what they will go after. It will be interesting to see what restrictions the government will come up with (seasonal closures, gear restrictions, maybe even booking a time like they have done in BC).

Fish Biol Paul C mention the "economic value" of the Bow. That means the guiding industry.

What about the intrinsic value of the fishery for the thousands of folks who don't need/want to hire a guide? The fish are a public resource, not just a resource used to create profit by a small segment of society. 

Joe public will need to make their voice heard as a STAKEHOLDER so that you can still fish as the guide boats go by. 

Public access/opportunity should trump guiding opportunity for rod days if we eventually get to that scenario.
 

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Bow River Water Management Policy always comes up as a complaint. But TransAlta has made substantial changes to how they ramp-up and ramp-down water flows out of Ghost Reservoir this year. Without exception, all spikes in flow this year are a result of rainfall in or around Calgary. This is totally outside of AEP or TransAlta control. And remember TransAlta has no control over the water discharge mandated by irrigation districts.

Regulation Change - Well overdue. The Rainbow Trout Population has declined by more than 50% from 2003 -2013, and continues to where it may be only 20% of the  2003 population. If the decline continues the Bow River fishery will  drop below its ability to sustain itself. Self restraint is needed - fish once a week rather than 3-4 times a week. Cut out dredging the riverbed with a string of SJW's. And take your cell phone an chuck it in the back of the car. No one cares about the "trophy" fish of 12 to 14" long you caught. If not, expect to see very restrictive regulation change.

Guided Angler v Non-Guided Angler v Shore Angler: The 2018 survey showed an equal split of anglers between the three groups. The question that has not been answered is catch rates for each group. If the guides are doing their job, more fish should be caught by guided anglers. But the angler who owns his own boat could well catch just as many fish, but more often selects a less aggressive stance to fish-catch numbers. There is also an increasing number of shore anglers who fish throughout the year, possibly catching more fish annually than either guided or non-guided boat anglers. Therefore take you pick as to who to blame, but be aware the recapture rates for the Bow River are getting high. 3 - 5 times a year, if not more. Mortality rates increase every time a fish is caught that adds to the annual mortality rate.

Fishery Management Options - Although more than 20 potential threats to the Bow River fishery have been identified, very few can be managed within the current scope of AEP operations. Regulation change, seasonal restrictions and catch limits are all possible. But anglers need to take a more responsible approach to just what a day's angling looks like. Do we need to catch 20 fish each time we got out?  

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Monger:

Fiddling with angling pressure is the easiest thing for the government to attack...so of course that is what they will go after. It will be interesting to see what restrictions the government will come up with (seasonal closures, gear restrictions, maybe even booking a time like they have done in BC).

Fish Biol Paul C mention the "economic value" of the Bow. That means the guiding industry.

What about the intrinsic value of the fishery for the thousands of folks who don't need/want to hire a guide? The fish are a public resource, not just a resource used to create profit by a small segment of society. 

Joe public will need to make their voice heard as a STAKEHOLDER so that you can still fish as the guide boats go by. 

Public access/opportunity should trump guiding opportunity for rod days if we eventually get to that scenario.

The direct economic contribution of anglers to the Calgary economy was documented in a presentation to the City of Calgary - River Access Strategy in 2016 was estimated at $ 24.214 million with projection up to 2024 of $33.129 million. Table 2 attached. Certainly this forecast has been blown away by Covid restrictions in recent years. Nevertheless, the guiding industry represents less than 5% of the revenue generated from the Bow River. There has been considerable debate over these data from within the guiding industry as it does not include the expenses of the guided angler. But the majority of guided anglers are locals, and will have purchased fishing equipment outside of the guided trip. But even if the total angler costs are assigned to the guided trip, the contribution is less than 10%.

Even within the Alberta Fishery Management Objectives, commercial interests (guiding and outfitting) are ranked as less important than the protection of the environment and recreational activities. This would certainly indicate that the recreational angler is of more importance to the decision making process than the guiding interests. And would suggest that any regulation change will focus on the benefits to the recreational angler and the fishery itself.

Table 2: An Economic Forecast of the Growth of Calgary and District Recreational Fishing Activities.

Year

  2016

 2018

  2020

2022

 2024

Guided Trips 

 2,000

2,100

  2,310

2,541

2,795

Float Trip/day

 $ 600

$ 636

  $ 675

$ 715

 $ 758

Guide Revenue

 $ 1,200,00

 $ 1,335,600

 $ 1,557,310

 $ 1,815,823

 $ 2,117,250

Increase over 2016

 

 $ 135,000

 $ 357,310

 $ 615,823

 $ 917,250

Bow River Anglers

 12,000

 12,600

 13,230

 13,892

 14,586

Expenses / Year

 $ 2,018

 $ 2,078.54

 $ 2,140.90

 $ 2,205.12

 $ 2,271.28

Rec. Fishing Revenue

 $ 24,216,000

 $ 26,189,604

 $ 28,324,057

 $ 30,632,467

 $ 33,129,013

Increase over 2016 ($)

 

$ 1,973,604

$ 4,108,057

   $ 6,416,467

 $ 8,913,013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well another statistical analysis thrown in our faces. The interesting thing about the graph is that it is blank for the time period centered on the flood in 2013, and the last two data points indicate an upward trend. Then I wonder about the historical 4 km stretch, all my historical stretches where I had my best catch rates prior to 2013 are completely changed, with no holding water. I used to fish around an island that had 4 good holes above, in the middle and below it. There isn't an island anymore and all the holes are gone. Since the flood fishing the Bow for me has been terrible. But last Tuesday I tried a stretch I have never fished before and came upon a pod of rising fish, caught 9 and hooked and lost about the same amount all were rainbows. Not big but by my estimate they were all healthy post flood fish, and to my un-biologist eye none of them had any hook marks, other than from my size 12 hook. The thing about statistical analysis is the word anal is in it, and I don't know if you heard about the statistician who drowned wading the river where it averaged 3 feet deep.

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I hope you are correct Fishteck. When money is involved in Alberta,  the environment tends to lose out big time. Economic value of the river means little to me. I would however like to see the trout numbers return to pre-flood numbers. Hopefully people can stand up for the fish without an agenda of making money off of them.

Changing fishing tactics, ignoring staged spawners, and limiting one's personal impact is something we can all do. It is even possible to throw your worms away and catch a fish.

 

Trailhead, I agree the river has not been the same since the 2013 flood. The number of quality holding spots in the river has decreased and sedimentation has been detrimental. Today there is a lot more long "lakey" sections. I had hoped successive spring run-offs would have improved things, but the river is not changing that much.

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Here's some simple and cost effective solutions:

1. Increase all out of province and foreign country fishing licenses. Match the British Columbia model by making the Bow a 'classified water fishery' and charge these individuals per day as well. Limit all out of country fishers to a maximum of 3 days on the water per season. License all guides as they will simply pass these costs onto their sports who will willingly (or grudgingly) pay. All collected monies will go into a fund dedicated solely to conservation, science and enforcement of the Bow River fishery.

2. Eliminate all motorized boats. The great majority of these users speed to the best fishing holding water. They also disturb the bank and silt up the river.

3. Insist on single, barbless hooks.

4. Absolutely no bait.

5. Massively increase all fines.

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I have never understood the ‘ban motorized boats’.  Yes I have a jet, and yes I exercise a lot of courtesy around other boats and shore anglers. To say that I ‘speed’ to the best holes is a ridiculous statement- I use the boat to access the river and prefer not to do all day floats - I go out, fish for a few hours and take off. If anything I am spreading angler pressure around. I also think it is an absurd argument to say the wake I produce does any additional damage to a river that fluctuates tens or hundreds of cms on a daily, weeks or monthly basis depending of precipitation or dam outflow. I also cannot understand the argument that a motorized boat disturbs fish any more or less than the daily armada of drift boats. I originally bought a jet as I did not enjoy floating down in a mass of 20-30 other boats like a dragnet. Motorized boats cannot access 1/2 of the ‘local’ water and no one on here can say there is a marked improvement in that section- it is just aimless finger pointing at a target they chose to dislike. 
 

yes we have an ever increasing angler pressure problem and I do support giving the river and its residents  a break. An increase in out of province fees that go towards conservation initiatives is one I can get behind, as would be section and seasonal closures. 

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