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Re: My Skeena report

Ok - I just spent the month (October) in Skeena country. I put in major time fly fishing on most of the river systems. This is my opinion.

(1) Look at the river systems that have been hit the hardest in the past few years. The first to go was the Sustut. The runs are so poor up there now that the one lodge on the river is for sale (or was for sale). Yikes, I can't say that there is excessive sport fishing pressure, first nations netting pressure, or logging/habitat destruction are to blame on that system. So this fish must be perishing somewhere along the way, either in the ocean or in the mainstem Skeena.

(2) The next systems to go were the Kispiox and the Babine. These rivers had terrible returns this year, and similar problems last year. That was my experience as well on these systems for the past 2 years. The Bulkley didn't fare too well this year either - fishing was spotty at best.

(3) The lower systems (Copper, Kalum) and the Nass systems seem to be doing OK, not great, but OK. Again, somewhat spotty fishing, but according to most reliable reports, fishing was at least reasonable this year.

I think you have to take a serious look at the timing of the steelhead runs. Later than usual??? I doubt it - the run seems later becuase in my opinion, the first part of the run is landing up in commercial nets. That's why the Sustut, Babine, and Kispiox have been hit so hard. I speculate the steelhead for those systems end up in the mainstem Skeena earlier than those for the lower systems. That's why they get picked up in amongst the sockeye fishery.

END RESULT: WE ENHANCE THE HECK OUT OF THE SOCKEYE RUN,THEN THE COMMERCIAL GUYS OVERFISH IT, TAKING OUT THE EARLY ARRIVING STEELHEAD.

Need more proof? Look at the year 1998. I was 16 years old that year, and definately not fly fishing the skeena. But if you talk to the locals, they say it was the most stellar year for steelhead fishing in decades. Was it a coincidence that the commercial fishery for sockeye got shut down that year due to poor sockeye returns? I think not.

In my opinion, the science is there. What more proof do we need?? 1998 was a "control" year. The skeena steelhead are in serious trouble and it's time to do something about it. But what??? The commercial guys sure know how to make their voices heard.... shouldn't we recreational fisherman/guides/lodges be the same?? Sport fishing is an industry up north just like commercial fishing is.

Any thoughts?
 

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Re: My Skeena report

Sounds pretty cut and dry to me man! Kinda harsh for a system that supposed to get 70,000 returning steelhead through to all the tribs like bulkly,Babine,kispiox,Copper,Kalum................


Hotrod
 

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Re: My Skeena report

Thanks for the report Rickets ;D a month up north, lucky man. My annual trip to Kitwanga was cancelled because of similar reports. Hope to get back next Sept. I too have noticed how the early fish seem to be fewer and farther between. So many variables, obviously overharvesting, ocean survival & natal stream degradation. Most interior summer-runs of this region are 3,4,5 or even 6 year stream residents, so they depend largely on their rivers, very unlike salmon which are almost completely marine. Steelie smolts grow slowly in the short days of the north and have to live right beside us, not like salmon which have the safety of the ocean. And sadly our valued summer-runs return at the same time as the sox so they get intercepted and forgotten about.

1998 was an annomoly....60,000 returned to the Skeena & tribs, WOW!! Thx Mr. Anderson. Great coho year also. The tight restrictions on the commies that year were repeated in '99 but the returns were much more average...so who knows...but lets hope they cycle back & give us another big year, hopefully next year.
 

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Re: My Skeena report

Yes this has been a dismal year, I've spent three weekends on the Morice this year and one on the Bulkley. All were pathetic in comparison to previous years, runs that I know hold fish year after year were void even the coho were all but missing this year. Last year DFO permitted the sockeye fishery to run into the beginning of september ( the 7th or 8th I believe) and I think it would have had the same effects as this year, however the steelhead and coho runs were a little late and didn't get hit as hard as they did this year on most rivers. It is time they stop gambling with these runs and kidding everybody that the revival boxes are working and losses of steelhead to the commercial fishery is minimal. Just based on the Sustut numbers from last year the DFO should have been weery, I am seriously concerned what devastation has been done to my favorite flow this year. Back in the late ninties when they were curtailing the commercial fishery to protect the inland runs of coho the steelhead fishing was fantastic on the Sustut, from about 2001-05 I noticed every year the numbers got worse and to the point I stopped going into the Sustut, I am sure the Sustut run gets hit the hardest along with the early Morice push of fish. So unless there is some intervention these runs will join the already extinct early runs that have been long since gone. Soon we will not find any steelhead in september and only handfuls in october, all for some UI insurable weeks for the commercial guys. Sad, sad days indeed.
 

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Re: My Skeena report

even the coho were all but missing this year
Last year in the coho were non existent down here in the South but this year has been outstanding! As you know, salmon runs fluctuate from stream to stream, system to system and from year to year so let's not panic. As for steelhead, the news is not so good. One would expect the Skeena system and it's tribs to be at least decent.

Anyone know how the Nass system made out this past October or is it still in progress. Or, maybe the run is late?
 

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Re: My Skeena report

Time to kill the commercial fishery for salmon all together. You would think that the pathetic government would have put this through already. This has been going on for too many years now.
 

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Re: My Skeena report

All the government cares about is the politics of commercial fishing (ie: what Jimmy P. contributes to the parties). Would kill to end comm. fishin, but that wont happen...........at the very least gillnetting should be illegal in BC. Why cant they go out with a purse seine, collect the fish their allowed and release the others unharmed, gillnetting just kills everything! Maybe its time to start a petition.

Attached is a pic of a monster steelie sent to me from a guide on the Kalum......what a monster :happy: yet looks like it has some net marks on it :pissed:

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee95/Tacheeda/Picture_059.jpg
 

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Re: My Skeena report

That steelhead is a pig if i ever seen one! Sad to see these rivers up north are going down hill these are the rivers i used to fish as a child are my home rivers and spent many years on them! Hope something get done about it befor it's to late!

CK
 

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Re: My Skeena report

If your planning a trip, you might want to go in March or April....Late April and early May some very large Chinooks enter the river and many have been caught over 50lbs. in this early run over the years....Most of these Steelhead enter the river in Dec. Jan. & February, then spawn during the months of March April May which makes it prime time for fishing....I would recomend a guide if you have not been before......Ortho 8)
 

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Re: My Skeena report

I've been up there a couple times with some friends of mine both for salmon and steelhead. But I didn't realize there was a Chinook run that early up there. For sure need to brush up on steelie technique before I try again though. :eek:
Lots of fun though reading the water and trying different things up there. It was an annual trip but we backed out last year due to the flooding and want to go again next year. Hopefully we can find the right places after the flooding and changes to the Skeena system.
 

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Re: My Skeena report

That fish is a hog!! WOW!!! :eek: :eek:

I think that at least a moratorium on commerical fishing for that system is in order. From other reports I've gotten from people who fish that system every year and have for a long time, the returns are getting dangerously low.
 

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Re: My Skeena report

I remember as a kid fishing the morice river i'd use tiny spin&glo's and nail sockey after sockeye those days are now gone! welll almost! And we bar fished the skeena and cought all kinds of fish in sept-oct! This is 20 years ago! Things change so much! The dollys in that system back then were huge!

CK
 
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