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I took a drive down to Peg Leg today to check out the mayhem. It didn't take long until I stumbled upon this:



Now hopefully everyone on this site realizes what is wrong with this picture. Of course there are some people who will not, hence the reason this picture was taken. The fish in the middle is a WILD coho, which of course are closed for retention. Moreover, this fish (although impossible to confirm without looking at its DNA) is likely an ENDANGERED interior Fraser coho.

Shortly after I took this picture, I witnessed another fish being dragged up onto the beach and sadly that fish too was another WILD coho. The angler who caught it did not take the time to identify the fish before beaching it. Before the rock shampoo could be applied I intervened and informed the angler that it was in fact a coho he had caught. The angler refuted saying it was a spring and it had spots then went to show me how it had black gums. Of course it didn't. So as quickly as it was dragged out, I made sure the now shake and baked coho made its way back into the river. Sadly I doubt it will survive.

Its very upsetting to see someone, who supposedly knows how to identify fish, beach fish before properly identifying it. Even worse is the fact that I had several other people come to the anglers defense stating it was a spring.

The sad fact is that as long as DFO is willing to leave this 'fishery' open into the fall, there will be bi-catch. If you choose to participate, please take the time to identify your fish before you beach it and to make sure you are properly able to distinguish between sockeye, springs, coho and steelhead.

Here is a quick guide for anyone wondering:

(I don't really have any clear pictures of sockeye so if someone would like to post one that would be great)

Usually the first thing people look for are spots on the back, which could be any one of three species of fish at this time of year (4 during pink years).

The most common 'spotted' catch at this time of year are springs, which of course are open for retention. The can be identified by their black gums, spotting along the back, and spots on both the upper and lower lobes of their tails.

Here is a photo showing the black gums:



Here is a full length photo of a spring. Although this isn't the best example, you can see the spots on the upper and lower lobes of the tail.



Another possible catch at this time of year are steelhead. These can be identified by their heavily spotted square tails (top and bottom lobe), spotted backs and white gums. Also, as they mature their cheeks will turn rosy. Here is a full length photo, a tail shot and a close up of a head showing the white gums.







Finally we get to coho. The easiest way to identify a coho is by its white gums and by its tail which will only have a few spots on the upper lobe.

Here is a full length photo of a coho. You can quite clearly see the few spots on the upper half of the tail as well as the white gums.




Hopefully this was helpful to a few anglers and hopefully this will help to prevent similar photos to the one that I opened this post with. Remember, to always identify your catch before taking it out of the water and that when you are not sure of the identity of a fish its best to release it. It is your responsibility to know your fish species do not rely on the people around you because the sad fact is, that many of your fellow anglers out on the bar don't have a clue.
 

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Yes beauty expose Biffchan! Now I don't feel so bad about advocating the closure of this fishery. I sure got some flack from some members saying that they have never impaled a wild coho or steelhead in the side of the head with 2/0 hook in their many years of flossing sockeye. Doesn't mean many other once a year 'anglers' haven't. I hope they are still able to get out while the socks are open and that their jobs are not getting in the way. Of course I wouldn't know being from the Central Okanagan and I don't have a job.


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Shut the damn fishery NOW DFO, we know you're reading, freezers are full, Sockeye commercially aren't worth crap right now. It's very obvious the only reason anglers are fishing right now is to allow more commercial rape. Years of listening to DFO claim concern for Interior Coho and hitting me with bait bans only to see them talk of keeping Sockeye open til September 19 makes me puke. I guess we gave up on Cultus Sockeye, Thompson Steelhead and late summer Chinook as well :mad:.
 

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excellent post. I myself have a plastic folder in my bag with pictures of different species everytime i fish. Being a newbie, this will help me identify the fish that i caught. The more i get out there the more i can identify salmon species. I even test myself whenever i go to Superstore. :)
 

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:thumbup: Excellent post Biffchan, too much GREED out there running this fishery! Shut it down and go back to the old days when sockeye was only open in the chuck.
 

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Nicely done Biffchan...Beauty post! Too bad the subject matter has to be what it is...

Like I said when we spoke over the phone, the nature of the fishery is such that even if the many "anglers" out there were conscientious about their catch and wanted to try and identify their fish before dragging it up on the beach, those damned long leaders prevent that...seems everyone is so afraid to lose their fish they can't help but drag it up there before performing their due diligence. 12+ ft of leader makes it pretty tough for them to identify their fish while it's still in the water...Ideally a sockeye flosser would have someone restrain and identify the fish in the water for them before deciding on what to do with it, unfortunately as you point out, many wouldn't be able to identify them anyways. I am sure many of those who pushed for the sockeye fishery to open to recreational anglers so many years ago are regretting it now. I think it should be closed for good and never opened again, but I doubt very much that's realistic with the competeing interest groups and the "sportfishing" protest fishery that went on some years back...It's a sad state of affairs.

Here's a pic of a sockeye for you Biffchan, I borrowed it many years ago for another post, my thanks to the photographer whoever you were...



...I myself have a plastic folder in my bag with pictures of different species everytime i fish. Being a newbie, this will help me identify the fish that i caught. The more i get out there the more i can identify salmon species...:)
I have to say Matrix, that's an enlightened and responsible approach bringing along the fish id pics...much respect for that, (and some rep points too...).

I've added a link here to help emphasize Biffchan's points about identifying your fish before you take it out of the water and making sure fish not open for retention get safely released: (Please note: There will be a number of pictures in the thread below that you can use to do a self test on your species identification skills...)

"Coho and Springs Identification"

Awesome Post Biffchan,

I think this one needs to be promoted to an article on the home page too...

:cheers::cheers::cheers:
 

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Yeah it's pretty hard to identify your catch when you can't reel the last 18 feet of your line in because a 3 oz betty is hanging off at that point.
Everyone does the flossin' moonwalk as it's the only way for them to land a fish single-handedly.

Maybe if bottom-bouncing can't be eliminated as a fishing method on the fraser, length from weight to hook, or "leader length" regulations could be implemented.
Some of the set-ups I saw out there yesterday, were just obnoxious. It is a poaching free-for-all out there folks!
 

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I used to carry these small fish ID booklets called Know Your Fish, Fraser River Systems Salmon ID Guide published by the Fraser Valley Salmon Society and Fisheries & Oceans Canada and hand them out to new anglers I met on the river. They were a handy quick reference to ID your catch, sadly I only have a few left. Wouldn't it be great to see these being handed out again on the rivers. I have tried real hard this year to avoid the flossing debates on the forums as it is just flogging a dead horse. Anyway here is a pic of the fish ID booklet. BTW Biffchan I had to add to your reputation for your post.
 

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Excellent stuff biffchan. Unfortunately it is anglers like yourself who are forced to do the DFO's work for them. By all accounts there has been absolutely zero presence by them on the river this season which is appalling considering the state of not only sockeye stocks but especially by catch stocks as you have pointed out. Once again we are forced to govern ourselves and hope that the message gets out to those who don't educate themselves. Again, nice work!
 

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I went back out to check things out for about an hour today. It didn't take long until I stumbled across this:



After taking this photo I asked the angler if he knew what kind of fish he had killed. He told me that the other fishermen around him had told him that it was a sockeye. I kindly informed him that it was a coho and that he should not have kept that fish. I also informed him of the consequences should he be checked by a conservation officer. I then explained to him how to tell the difference between the various species of salmon and that he should always check to see what type of fish is on his line before beaching it. He seemed very receptive to my words as it was very clear he was quite new to fishing. Sadly I doubt ignorance would qualify as an excuse in court.

I also ran into the creel surveyor. I informed her of the coho from the past two days. She said that her bosses would be very interested to hear and that stuff like this is what will get the river shut down. Hopefully forever.
 

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Section 19 of the criminal says"Ignorance of the law is no excuse>

hotrod
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What happened to the guys head? Just kidding! Where is DFO? I think the fishery is all about the almighty dollar right now.The commies making money,the processing plants providing jobs,the natives selling fish at roadside stands and all the tourism dollars being injected into the local economy boosting local businesses here in the Whack in tough economic times.That being said, the bycatch unfortunately is the price being paid right by the coho,steelhead and Cultas lake sockeye.I wonder how much bycatch is ending up in all the nets out on the river?
 

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Kids must have no quota on their own

"""I also ran into the creel surveyor. I informed her of the coho from the past two days. She said that her bosses would be very interested to hear and that stuff like this is what will get the river shut down. Hopefully forever. """"

I'd make a parallel-closing the highway to prevent the speeding...

One should better look into the day catching limits for the KIDS!!!
A family of 6 (4 kids between ages 5 and 10 ) take home12 fish a day, Next day again. I see them on tha bank... Nice people provide them with the opportunity to land the fish pulled 1m from the shore.
Alien kids are in the quota of their parent.
Look arround - you will see what is it all about.
Same happens on Vedder - multiple families, multiple kids, BBq's.
DFO should look into kids quotas - on salmon- as this is quite ugly and is not the best way to educate people on conservation, ethics, law...
 

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If people are ignorant enough to land fish that they have no idea on identification of two very different species of Salmon then maybe its time for the DFO to look into a graduated licensing like a C.O.R.E program for hunters, I realize this is something that will never happen but people who are just raking fish and not even identifying without a worry of prosecution should not be fishing in the same waters or anywhere near me.
 
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