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What do you think is the best option for saving the Thompson River Steelhead?

  • For a hatchery program

    Votes: 21 31.3%
  • Against a hatchery program

    Votes: 12 17.9%
  • Closing the fishery

    Votes: 18 26.9%
  • Imposing tighter regulations

    Votes: 33 49.3%

  • Total voters
    67
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Discussion Starter #1
Now that Fisheries has opened the Thompson River for Steelhead I would like to see how people feel about trying to preserve this fishery.
 

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I voted to impose tighter regs: on water use, adjacent land users and commercial fisheries that coincide with T steel run timing.
 

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Great thread Scoter, All of these have the potential for some improvement, but the poll is missing some likely more impactful options for improving steelhead.
  1. Reduce water consumption for other water user groups (ranchers, farmers)
  2. increase habitat improvements and reduce pollution
  3. Hand over ALL Management of Steelhead (including downstream by-catch fisheries) to almost ANYONE other than DFO:mad:
 

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I voted against the hatchery as this is one of those special rivers that, in my opinion, needs to stay wild. I also voted to close the fishery, not for good but until it has a strong run of fish returning like it used to.
 

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I would be interested to know what the mortality rate is for steelhead that end up as incidental catches in commercial nets. I know that commercial opennings are timed to try to target specific runs of other species, and that incidentals should be released, however, I just can't believe that we don't lose steelhead to the nets in the river. I worked as a river rafting guide on the Thompson and Fraser for 8 years, and I saw days where every single back eddy--no matter how small--had a food fishery gill net in it. That has to have an affect on the steelhead. I would vote for tighter regs and for fisheries--commercial or food--that are balanced around the wild steelhead run like Pat AV. We need to protect the wild stock!
 

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I would be interested to know what the mortality rate is for steelhead that end up as incidental catches in commercial nets. I know that commercial opennings are timed to try to target specific runs of other species, and that incidentals should be released, however, I just can't believe that we don't lose steelhead to the nets in the river. I worked as a river rafting guide on the Thompson and Fraser for 8 years, and I saw days where every single back eddy--no matter how small--had a food fishery gill net in it. That has to have an affect on the steelhead. I would vote for tighter regs and for fisheries--commercial or food--that are balanced around the wild steelhead run like Pat AV. We need to protect the wild stock!
Interested to hear which years you worked rafting the T, specifically want to gather more info to build a timeline on the netting you refer to. I'm sure many have seen the nets, as have I, and agree there are a lot of them and usually in areas that a car cannot get to. I can't recall however if there were always that many or if there was some increase in numbers at some point...

My vote was in tune with Pat's...although closing the fishery is an option to try and save what is left, closing it is not going to save the run. In fact I believe just closing it will still result in the end of this stock unless other things are done to try and reverse the odds our interference has stacked against them.
 

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although closing the fishery is an option to try and save what is left, closing it is not going to save the run. In fact I believe just closing it will still result in the end of this stock unless other things are done to try and reverse the odds our interference has stacked against them.
EXACTLY!!!!!! If the Thompson was still closed this year, this (and MANY MANY other) discussions would not be happening right now. Nice see that some people get that .
 

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EXACTLY!!!!!! If the Thompson was still closed this year, this (and MANY MANY other) discussions would not be happening right now. Nice see that some people get that .
Yes, I think the more info anyone looks for on the subject, the more they will find that the truly major reasons for the decline of Thompson steel are not related to recreational fishing at all. Even by the admission of the gov't scientists that make recommendations to the policy makers, it is clear that mortality due to incidental catch during commercial fisheries is the major cause for the decline...

Take into account other localized factors like habitat, water usage etc in the developmental stages, amongst other factors and it all contributes to the overall decline in numbers. The decline in numbers is alarming, but the contribution of recreational sportfishing to that decline is paltry in comparison to other factors.

So if someone feels that closing fishing will restore the run, please ask yourself, if recreational fishing didn't deplete the run in the first place, why would stopping it restore the numbers?

There is much more going on here than sportfishing, and although closing it may reduce stress on the fish that are left, it is not going to stop the decline or for that matter allow stocks to restore themselves. This means we have to do much, much more than just stop fishing for them if we have any chance of bringing them back to even a shadow of what they once were.

I hope people will begin to realize that, but don't take my word for it, look into it on your own, it will ring true in time.
 

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Take into account other localized factors like habitat, water usage etc in the developmental stages, amongst other factors and it all contributes to the overall decline in numbers. The decline in numbers is alarming, but the contribution of recreational sportfishing to that decline is paltry in comparison to other factors.
SO TRUE!
However it is the last rung on the ladder that is most evident and most visible and therefore easiest to blame or at least shuffle blame to.
The Teller at the bank deals with flack about service charges.
The cashier at the gas station deals with the flack from rising gas prices.
The bus driver gets flack for being late (due to traffic).

Most (if not) all beyond their control and determined by other factors and decisions made by others.

There is a much bigger picture.

Scapegoats are easy to find, and though poor or negligent recreational fishing practices have an impact there are so many other factors to be considered and hopefully remedied.
 

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The only difference is that this scapegoat can be extremely noisy, if properly motivated. Take away that motivation (i.e. ongoing interest in the Thompson) and the guardians of the species are gone. Its a little like the sheep dog checking out and leaving the sheep to the wolves.
 

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"but the contribution of recreational sportfishing to that decline is paltry in comparison to other factors."

I don't think the contribution of the sport fishery to overall mortality on a steelhead population like the Thompsons should be underestimated. Steelhead can be aggressive biters, spend a lot of time in the system, and as a result a large proportion of the fish will be hooked, some likely more than once. Some of these will suffer damage and die. When the run is so decimated, any spawners are important, and in my opinion they should be left alone to spawn in peace.
 

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"but the contribution of recreational sportfishing to that decline is paltry in comparison to other factors."

I don't think the contribution of the sport fishery to overall mortality on a steelhead population like the Thompsons should be underestimated. Steelhead can be aggressive biters, spend a lot of time in the system, and as a result a large proportion of the fish will be hooked, some likely more than once. Some of these will suffer damage and die. When the run is so decimated, any spawners are important, and in my opinion they should be left alone to spawn in peace.
I suspect you misunderstand my point Cali...and hope you don't make yours for a lark.

The point I made is just closing it will not allow the population to restore itself. It will not result in the numbers of fish bouncing back in any significant number. I am not saying fishing for them does not have an effect, in fact I have said precisely the opposite. What I have also said, and clearly or so I thought, is that just closing fishing for them is not enough, we need to do more. Not doing more will result in their demise, regardless of if we fish for them or not.

Please reread for comprehension as you have seemingly cherry picked the points I have made.

Thanks.
 

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These mighty Thompson Steelhead survive many obstacles to become adults.Upon returning to thier birth place a few elude the gauntlet of Commie nets,Albain test nets,Fraser river floss fishery,Native Chum openings,and Poachers to finally swim in thier home river.And what awaits them there? The so called Sports Fisherman flocking in droves to the mighty T trying to recapture past glory,chasing legends and living in the past.Telling everyone if we dont pin cushion these last few remaining survivors they will get no attention,nobody will discuss them on the fishing forums,blah,blah,blah...How about us the Sports fisherman leaving these fish, unharrased in thier home river against all odds to Spawn in peace.Take up the fight to save the fish by not fishing them,for that is the responsible thing to do IMHO.Thank you
 

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These mighty Thompson Steelhead survive many obstacles to become adults.Upon returning to thier birth place a few elude the gauntlet of Commie nets,Albain test nets,Fraser river floss fishery,Native Chum openings,and Poachers to finally swim in thier home river.And what awaits them there? The so called Sports Fisherman flocking in droves to the mighty T trying to recapture past glory,chasing legends and living in the past.Telling everyone if we dont pin cushion these last few remaining survivors they will get no attention,nobody will discuss them on the fishing forums,blah,blah,blah...How about us the Sports fisherman leaving these fish, unharrased in thier home river against all odds to Spawn in peace.Take up the fight to save the fish by not fishing them,for that is the responsible thing to do IMHO.Thank you
Well Dennis, You and I have had our fair share of discussion in the past. No disrespect to your feelings on the Big T and the opening, but I do have a problem with the comment about the Fraser Floss fishery as being part of the problem! You take part in this fishery, do you not?

Here is a little food for thought DT.

There is a remote chance that one or more of the sockeye that you have clunked over the head in the past may just have been 1 of 15 fish that return to a little tributary in the Shuswap watershed. Very well could have happened! Yourself being an avid sportsman with some passion flowing through your veins. How would you feel if that was the case and knowing that fish was 1 of 15 to return back.

The reason why I say this is that 99% of the anglers that fish the T take great pride in her and are the ones to take a step forward and battle for her and the treasures she contains. The mykiss if hooked and landed are revived and released properly unlike the poor sockeye of summer and fall that received the rock shampoo!

I know that you think the Mighty T should be closed to angling, that's fine and I respect that! The funny thing is that every river in this Province is in a grave condition in one aspect or another! Its all how an individual looks at it!
:cheers: sage
 

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These mighty Thompson Steelhead survive many obstacles to become adults.Upon returning to thier birth place a few elude the gauntlet of Commie nets,Albain test nets,Fraser river floss fishery,Native Chum openings,and Poachers to finally swim in thier home river.And what awaits them there? The so called Sports Fisherman flocking in droves to the mighty T trying to recapture past glory,chasing legends and living in the past.Telling everyone if we dont pin cushion these last few remaining survivors they will get no attention,nobody will discuss them on the fishing forums,blah,blah,blah...How about us the Sports fisherman leaving these fish, unharrased in thier home river against all odds to Spawn in peace.Take up the fight to save the fish by not fishing them,for that is the responsible thing to do IMHO.Thank you
Agreed......... the sportsfisher is supposed to be the caretaker for the resource. I attended meetings for 12 yrs regarding the Thompson fish and came away with the realization that this run is doomed because of all the outside pressures on it. It was then that i made the personal choice to not be part of the problem.
 

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...The so called Sports Fisherman flocking in droves to the mighty T trying to recapture past glory,chasing legends and living in the past.Telling everyone if we dont pin cushion these last few remaining survivors they will get no attention,nobody will discuss them on the fishing forums,blah,blah,blah...
Hi Dennis,

I have read similar comments from you a number of times lately in other threads. The difference this time is you state that someone is "telling everyone if we don't pin cushion" them "they will get no attention"...I find this troubling because I have not heard anyone say we need to go and fish for them, nor have I heard anyone say that people have to fish them otherwise "nobody will discuss them on the fishing forums, blah, blah, blah".

What I have heard from you however, is that you don't think the Thompson should be discussed on forums at all, despite the fact that there are several threads on this forum this year and in years prior that you either particpate in or start yourself asking about the Mighty Thompson. Yet here you are again posting despite your current stance the T should not be discussed. For the record, I think you are wrong to try and promote the idea that people should not talk about the T, but I am appreciative of the fact that depsite that stance, you cannot help yourself.

Now, there is one point I think your really need to understand, and unfortunately, this is one case in which I don't entirely agree with sage2106lb...(sorry sage)

I don't entirely believe 99% of anglers going up there take pride and care about the resource, etc, etc...I am not saying they don't care, what I am saying, and this is key, is that there are a lot of anglers going up the the T now that have never fished it, or have maybe only fished it once or twice...amongst some more experienced anglers they flock up there in droves wide eyed and bushy tailed hoping to experience the famous Thompson. They do this with barely a clue of why the T is in decline, nary a thought to the politics, the facts, the various mortality rates associated with the perturbations. There are a lot of anglers going up there that do not know about the issues, are not aware of the history, and have no idea of the rationale behind the position you take...

...and yet you condemn them for it as though they know enough and are simply being deliberately unethical in their actions and are somehow reading your words each day here and should feel shame for ignoring them. You wag your finger at them with a hauty, holier than thou attitude chastizing them as though they were hypocritical champions of the resource. Yet many of them haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about because they are new to it all and know no better.

You do the T a great disservice by labeling those otherwise unknowing anglers going up there in this manner, this get in their face attitude you publicly post here turns their ears off to you and you lose the opportunity to get them thinking about the issue for themselves. You do an even greater disservice trying to silence discussion over the T, as that furthers the ignorance and apathy, preventing the next generations from carrying on and taking up the battle where you have seemingly given up.

The greatest disservice you do however is saved for last....despite your passion and obvious goodwill towards the T fish, you channel all this passion on the subject into repeatedly talking down to people who read about the T here in this forum. You do not bring awareness to the plight, you barely mention factors contributing to their decline that far and away kill more fish than the sportfishery does, and you champion closing the sportfishery as though in doing so that is the solution, the T will be able to recoop it's numbers and magically everything will be better.

Dennis, given your proclaimed knowledge of the T, presumably you know as well as I and many others do by now the real reasons for the decline and likely demise of the T fish. So I cannot comprehend what you are suggesting here...Put your heads down people, don't talk about it, certainly don't fish fro them, and everything will be ok...It makes no sense to focus endlessly on those ideas as the solution.

To take that stance is to quietly let them fade away into memory. Simply not fishing for them will not restore their numbers, the population will continue to decline until it is gone.

Please divert some of your energy now into detailing the next steps, tackling the major factors contributing to their decline, promote awareness of the issues, not an ignorance of them.
 

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Very interesting discussion here! For those that feel that they don't want to participate and be "part of the problem" - I respect that decision. However, as Ribwart indicated, sportfishing is not the reason why the Thompson River steelhead is in trouble. Sure - it might not help, but closing this fishery to recreational fishing would be like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. Remember, its the sportfishers who really care about the resource. Sure there are poachers and the like, but there are a multitude of underlying causes that are the real problem. The tradegy here is that governments seem powerless to take any real action to address these "root causes", and addressing the recreational fishery is one of the easiest, yet ineffective methods, to save this magnificent race of steelhead.

Now please don't get me wrong! I don't condone allowing a sportfishery where the numbers are significantly low to the point where desparate measures are needed. I don't even fish the Thompson myself. But I think more attention should be drawn to addressing commercial fisheries (international, local and native) and protection of habitat and restoration.
 

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WOW!!! This Dennis T character sounds like a real pleasant guy, time for an attitude adjustment. Nobody cares about your opinion, and it is certainly not humble. The anglers are definately not the problem these fish are facing.
 

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WOW!!! This Dennis T character sounds like a real pleasant guy, time for an attitude adjustment. Nobody cares about your opinion, and it is certainly not humble. The anglers are definately not the problem these fish are facing.
Easy Nate, Dennis may have an opinion that is not as popular here as others, but he has every right to express it. Remember that if he and Tofinoguy choose not to fish the Thompson and yet still want to defend and protect these fish, they are a powerful ally, and not the enemy. There are two enemies to focus on; other user groups who impact on the survival of this most magificient of sport fish (water users, suburban creep, resource extractors, and commercial fishers and poachers of all race and creed) and apathetic government agencies who are influenced by powerful lobby groups. We WANT Dennis and TG's opinion to ring out. Not as loud as ours who wish to continue to fish, but loud enough that the politicians recognize that this is a serious issue that we will never let go of and will hold them accountable for.
 

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Easy Nate, Dennis may have an opinion that is not as popular here as others, but he has every right to express it. Remember that if he and Tofinoguy choose not to fish the Thompson and yet still want to defend and protect these fish, they are a powerful ally, and not the enemy. There are two enemies to focus on; other user groups who impact on the survival of this most magificient of sport fish (water users, suburban creep, resource extractors, and commercial fishers and poachers of all race and creed) and apathetic government agencies who are influenced by powerful lobby groups. We WANT Dennis and TG's opinion to ring out. Not as loud as ours who wish to continue to fish, but loud enough that the politicians recognize that this is a serious issue that we will never let go of and will hold them accountable for.
Try looking at it this way - from my many years of being involved with this process, going to some of the meetings and getting consensus from people on all the different boards i believe that there are several factors against the Thompson Steelhead which i will list in their probable order of harm subjected on those fish.


1/ the Ranchers of the Nicola Valley. They ned that water for their 2nd cut of hay ...........they aren't gonna give that up

2/ the natives of the Fraser valley and the Canyon with their nets ............... 'nuff said about that

3/ the Chum fishery - in the Fraser itself, it's mouth and off the sw coast of Van island............... the data speaks for itself

4/ general ocean survival

5/ catch and release mortality by sport fishers ............. yes, the least amount of impact on the fish but still there


Yes, i don't fish it anymore but i used to religiously and carefully landed a lot of them and only had 1 die and it was on a suspended jig with hundreds caught on bait. Some of the flyfishers with their inadequate gear playing the fish out too much kill way more than gear does.
 
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