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Hey guys,

I good friend of mine is up fishing the Bulkley right now and is reporting some great fishing for steelhead on the fly. They have fished the Kispiox, Copper, Babine too and report that compared to last year, things are looking up with multiple hook ups each day! I wonder why? Commercial fishing has it been curtailed? Let's hope the winter runs make a comeback too.
 

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Yes the commercial sockeye harvest was nonexistent this year due to poor returns, the resulting increase in steelhead numbers is just another huge piece of evidence that all commercial fisheries should have to move to selective methods.
 

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Pat AV said:
Yes the commercial sockeye harvest was nonexistent this year due to poor returns, the resulting increase in steelhead numbers is just another huge piece of evidence that all commercial fisheries should have to move to selective methods.
I heard this also so hopefully the facts do not get ignored. This was my first year fishing these systems for steelhead and I hope to fish them many more times in the future.
 

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Actually there was more Commercial fishing for sockeye at the mouth of the Skeena because there was too many fish for the spawning grounds, which was good (not the netting) cause the fishin was awesome and the limit went up to 4/day. Its when they are netting coho (like last year) that gets to the Steelhead. Had the opportunity to tail some nice Steel on the Skeena in early Aug. while fishin for Springs and they all had net marks on them. But they ended netting around August 7th. So the peak of the run got through.
 

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Very interesting, when I was up there this summer all the locals were crediting the increased early steelhead runs to a lack of commercial sockeye fisheries and the resulting interception. I wonder were they got that info from, I will look into this.
 

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Can't find any conclusive answers here, does anybody know where one could find data on commercial sockeye fishing effort from year to year?

Looked all over the DFO site and found nothing helpfull......... :-\

All I have been able to find is stuff on several stocks of Skeena Steelhead reaching critical conservation levels. I am assuming that these are stocks other than the Fulton supported Babine run.

Any help appreciated! :)
 

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Don't worry Pat, you are indeed right that commercial pursuit of hatchery raised Babine sockeye is the BIG killer of Skeena summer steelhead, this is why the early run Skeena Steelhead are worst hit and the later runs typically are in better shape.

Looks like I have a few days off in late October for the first time in many years, booking a flight right now and am excited as a kid at Christmas, theres some pools I haven't cast in for many years that I am having dreams about.
 

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Pat AV said:
Very interesting, when I was up there this summer all the locals were crediting the increased early steelhead runs to a lack of commercial sockeye fisheries and the resulting interception. I wonder were they got that info from, I will look into this.
I go out there every year from PG for 10-14 days in late july-early august and any weekend i can get away. I aways check the website or with the DFO office in Terrace to see what the commies are doin, when they are out the Skeena can be pretty slow, so I'll just hit the Kitimat until about 2-3 days after comms are done, then it's good fishing again.
http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/northcoast/commercl/default.htm
Thats the site for some of this years fishin, but i cant find past years, use to have 'em. ( Skeena is area 4)
When i was out this year, rumour had it that soxs were going to be raised to 4/day the next morning, but next morning none of the fish shops had an update, so I went to DFO office and got confirmation and asked about the netting and they said due to overabundance there was a selective net fishery......don't exactly know how its selective. As I said before all the Steelhead I tailed for people (cause they thought they were coho and wanted to drag 'em on shore) had net marks. There was alot of Steel early though, probably why last year was poor, the fish weren't ready for spawning until this year. Since they dont follow the same life line of salmon..2/3/4 year cycle, they just show when their ready. Could be attiributed to water temp or feed im guessin (since ocean was colder this year, which in turn produces more feed). They did end commies on Aug. 7th , i think they went until around end of august last year for pinks. Upper Steelhead peak is around august to mid -sept. (on lower Skeena), although there are fish all year. I wish they would just get rid of the Commies and let the Skeena be a Meca for fishermen around the world. Even though I had a great season, finally got the grand slam in 1 day (the chum was from the kitimat though)
 

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Freshly back form Montreal tonight and wanted to ring in on this topic. There are a number of factors that contributed to the much better returns this year. A great resource for monitoring the steelhead numbers and commercial openings is http://skeenafisheriesblog.blogspot.com it is hosted by the Northcoast Steelhead Alliance. Curtailing the commercial openings in critical steelhead migration areas and conducting commercial fisheries that have less incidental mortality rates were a couple of the bigger contributers to the better run we are seeing this year. Also a point of note is the fact that the "in river" fishery has also gone through critical changes in various locations, these changes were made to limit by-catch of salmon stocks that are in peril, such as the Kitwonga River where the returns have been consistently declining. Hopefully these types of fisheries continue, they definitely can't be as harmfull.

Cheers Bill
 
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