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I know this could be a can of worms I am opening here, but I think we should give this a shot. I was recently emailed by a contact at DFO who was wondering if some of our more avid and experienced anglers might contribute their ideas on catch and release fisheries and how to limit their impacts on other species.

Here is what the email read:


I am trying to come to a solution to minimize the impacts on Sockeye and other low run species from certain catch and release techniques. (Notice I did not use the term bottom bouncing or 9 foot leaders)

I know that it will take time to put through suggestions in order to avoid the closure that happened this last summer, but I am hoping that some ideas will come from the avid anglers out there. One idea has been to move towards circle hooks as they appearantly are good to hang onto fish that actually bite, but are impossible to snag fish with.

Again, I do not want to open up the debate, but some creative solutions would be nice. Thoughts?


I DO NOT want this discussion to turn into a gong show debate. I think amongst the group of us we should be able to come up with several legitimate suggestions which might be useful in searching out the answer to this question...

This is not an opportunity to gripe and whine, constructive ideas only please!!!!

Thanks for your understanding...

rib
 

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Short leaderes does not fix the problem, short or long you will still floss, might just take longer. I could see using circle hooks for the vedder and other rivers where the BB is taking hold but to use them bottom bouncing, makes no sense to me. :)

:cheers: Rick
 

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If the point is to minimize catching Sockeye during the summer season, it's really quite simple.

No bottom bouncing PERIOD.
Not one single truthful angler uses bottom bouncing as a form of enticing fish to BITE on the Fraser. With the exception of during clear water fall seasons(which are rare as hens teeth) and possibly during winter for steelhead(which is also as rare as hens teeth).

You want to avoid Sockeye simply allow anglers to use only stationary fishing techniques, this would effect no one except anglers wishing to SNAG fish, pretty plain and simple.

Some will cry foul, come up with ignorant arguments, but fact is with less than 2 feet of visibilty the best way to entice fish to bite would be to let them come to a lure.

I myself use techniques that require the boat to be backtrolled down river, hence I am not stationary fishing. But truth is I only do this as most good spots have people flossing at them so I am seeking new depressions with this technique and could quite easily catch just as many fish, fishing stationary.

There are many options to catch the Chinook that are passing in july and August.
Barfishing the main stem Fraser with Spin glos, kwikies, spinners all work well and all can be fished stationary from the same bars accessed by the flossing crew(no boat is needed and that excuse is weak).

Summer fly fishing on the Fraser is more glorified flossing
Casting spinners and spoons is totally ineffective during poor vis and summer flows.

We are looking at a possible summer closure on Chinooks at this point due to conservation concerns with spawning numbers of summer Chinook.

We best get busy making adjustments to our impact or we will be not fishing salmon during the summer for many seasons.

The staionary bait and lure option is by far the most selective approach and adresses the issue of bycatch of poor sockeye returns while still allowing anglers to enjoy the Fraser during summer.

Our catch rate with stationary techniques makes us a non factor in the big scheme of conservation, so if DFO has any idea to prevent us from summer fishing due to our impact, I will be fully expecting a coast wide closure on migrating Fraser salmon stocks for the meat lodges, commercial boys and FN, anything else is just BS.
 

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If sockeye and spring salmon are what we are trying to protect, then it is time for the populations of fishers including the members on this site and others to understand that we are likely heading towards the day when there are no more salmon of any species and we will not have them to fish for. Many examples of species of birds, game, and fish that have disappeared from this planet can be cited.

If we leave all the other problems of global warming, lack of adequate food sources, foreign countries overfishing the Pacific continental shelf, overfishing by commercial fleets in Canada & the USA, river net fisheries out of the overall picture, I agree with Bent Rod. Bar fishing only!! ....No cast and retrive!! No bottom bouncing!! Period!

Examining the ways to catch and release sockeye is a total waste of time. The only way to keep these magnificent fish on this planet is to quit fishing for them in ways that are totally unethical.

The number of spring salmon caught by stationary fishing methods (bar fishing) has been substantially reduced, and is is almost non existant due to the fact that all the bars are plugged with bottom bouncers. If bottom bouncing was banned, the guides would still catch fish using proven methods that have worked for years, and a lot more people would be converted to ethical fishing methods by finding out that this fish really do bite!!(spring salmon)The back trolling needs to be explored more and I believe it would be practiced by more individuals and guides if proven effective and promoted.

There is a lot to gain by disallowing the bottom bouncing techniques, and very little to lose.

There are a lot of good rods on the river that bottom bounce, but they do so because no laws are being broken at the present time....If they had this method removed, they would still catch fish. We would, however have the river returned to a bit more of a peaceful place to be during the summer months and not the rediculous and sometimes dangerous gong show that happens because the fisheries both Provincially and Federally do not have the jam to make a change.............With respect..........Ortho 8)
 

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Firstly, I agree that flossing must be stopped (not bottom bouncing - as that can be an ethical way to fish in certain situations and depending on gear setup - see the latest BCO Sportfishing magazine). Flossing is not limited to bottom bouncers, you can floss fish using numerous techniques and different types of gear.

However,,,,,

If the intention is to protect sockeye and other low runner stock from angling pressure this has to be a "conservation measure". How can we impose conservation measures solely upon the heads of the common angler when in fact the commercial and FN fishery are still allowed to harvest on the same river system during the time these fish are in the river? The impact of the angler is insignificant compared to the harvesting done by commercial and FN fisheries.

This is a can of worms and always will be until DFO gets their act straight. If they want to protect stocks at certain times of the run, then close the river down during those times - completey!

I am trying to come to a solution to minimize the impacts on Sockeye and other low run species from certain catch and release techniques.
Interest groups have tried to get an unbiased test of catch and release methods and survival rates for sockeye thereafter but the DFO has shot down those efforts. So the impact of catch and release isnt even truly understood yet.

Even if circle hooks are the chosen method or bar-fishing only or leader length limits are imposed who is going to enforce it? We cant even get proper enforcement of current regulations on our rivers.
 

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Well I guess I might as well jump on the band wagon ...

I totally agree with Rick, Rod, and Ortho .... no method of cast, drift and retrieve should be used during times when these "threatened/protected species" are active in the river. Only stationary fishing methods would be acceptable. It would be very easy for DFO to regulate, even from a distance, and you wouldn't have to worry about leader length.

It totally amazes me how others justify "fishing" (if you can call it that) for these fish by comparing the sports fishery to other fishing segments. Whether catch numbers are relevent or not, you are not talking about apples and apples when you relate sports fishing to commercial or FN. Notice the word "sport" in Sport Fishing. Unlike these other segments a "standard" sports fisherman (unless a guide) would not base his livelyhood on catching fish (at least I hope not). I thought one was a recreational activity.

I totally emphasize with feelings guides have when the rivers get shut down completely due to the fishing ethics of certain people.

Furthermore, if your looking for other ideas on conservation ....

Perhaps a yearly quota (15 or so) on the back of your license (same as Springs) should be inplemented. Like with Springs, you need to write down your catch immediately and if not .......... well you know the end of the story. It may certainly stop the "multiple trip" Sockeye fisherman when an opening happens. In reality, when is enough ........ enough??

I am not keen on circle hooks, although I must admit, I have limited knowledge (only what I've read) and have never used them.

As I have already stated, I am not in favor of closing the river down completely. Quite honestly, I really enjoy my time out on the flow, doesn't matter what I'm fishing for. I consider catching a fish a bonus, and is not the expected outcome. No better place to be with quality friends on a beautiful day.


GOFISH 8)
 

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Well Rib i think you are going to be opening a bag of worms. BR's and Berg's post pretty much sum up I would think most old school fishermen on the river think. I don't agree with circle hooks, but like Gf I'm not familiar with them, as I've only read articles on them. As BR put it BBing in the Fraser only works at very limited times of the year, so why condone it?. Rick is right, a person can floss fish with a two ft. leader, but I do think putting a limit on leader lengths would be a good start. If the fellow has to fish all day know to get his fish instead of hitting a unlimited amount by using a 9 ft leader, they may be discouraged from even going. I do believe their are a lot of flossers out there that are reformable to bar fishing, but just lack the knowledge.
Springer fishing Now this one just simply pisses me off! There is absolutely no reason what so ever to floss these aggresive fish, yet that is what is happening still. Impose a reg supporting stationary techs, ie plunking, bar fishing and back trolling on the main stem of the fraser, although I do enjoy spinnin the mouth of the vedder in sept with a mepps or vibrax, so it could be a tough on to regulate.
One of the things that also hits a nerve is people that fish for socks and catch them all day long 30 or 40 fish, hand their rod off cause their arms are sore or they are board,then they bonk two for home. This is what aggravates me, sockeye is'nt a sport fishery it's all about meat. I Know it would be nearly impossible to impose , but catch your two fish and go HOME. Why put more fish through undue stress than needed, and of those 30 or 40 how many are correctly revived???.
What about enforcing the reg it is unlawful to intentionally hook a fish in any part of the body other than the mouth. The whole unethical fishing plague is so rampant on all the local flows that would'nt that be a easier approach to focus on ethics and enforce them. I think our sport is definately at a pinicle in which popularity of the sport could ultimately also be it's demise. I wish I could look into a crystal ball and see what is in store for the Thompson over the next few years.I bring it up because as a teen years ago The T was like the holy Grail for steely's. Not many from down here would fish it but the stories were always great, Now over the last few years it has exploded in populatity and it seems like every TDH is heading up there these days
One last point, I would love to say don't open sockeye at all, but if last year was any indicator of how fishing pressure on a spieces could increase look at the extra pressure put on the springs last summer. If that keeps up they will be next on the list for low runs.
As Steely put in enforcement is the key, put the rules in place and enforce them, hell why not use ticket revenue to raise funds for additional C/O's on the flows
Man I feel better now :cheers:
Cheers,
Crazy D
 

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well I remember the days of my youth spent sitting in a lawn chair waiting for that bell to ring while bar fishing. GOOD TIMES! you sit and talk all day getting to know the people around you instead of getting in screaming matches with them because they "popped" your fish off your line. If i saw BBing banned it would not bother me in the slightest because there are many other ways to catch salmon. However maybe adding a limit restriction on sockeye would be another way of going also say maybe 10, 20 maybe. and having to tag off before you cast your line back into the water just like with chinook. and i agree taking away lure fishing is just mean because unless you find some slack water where fish pile up like crazy on the fraser its pretty hard to floss with a lure but can be great for fishing creek mouths ;D


HOOK
 

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Birdman, last season when many of us were catching fish on spinners :thumbup:, the fact you were able to do this was completely based on the Fraser being super clear, which is VERY rare.

On top of this most anglers were having great catches with the same type spinners on anchor, in fact that was the way most were fishing them.

Having a staionary lure restriction would not impede great August Chinook fishing.

Also, I think during september and fall months some forms of cast and retrieve fisheries(float,fly, lures) could be allowed with a leader restriction in place.

We all enjoy fly fishing and float fishing and other forms of active fishing and no one wants to see these fisheries lost.

That is the very reason why we must STOP the flossing from prevailing, so we can protect the true sportfishing techniques that were fought so hard to have access to.
 

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Ok,,,I just want to be a little more clear on this one.

I dont agree with any un-ethical fishing techniques. Thats a given and I hope none of you think I endose the use of long leaders and flossing. But here is what I think about the options,

I am trying to come to a solution to minimize the impacts on Sockeye and other low run species from certain catch and release techniques.
I take this to mean we want to limit contact with sockeye and others, to protect them

NO KILL FISHERY - only for sockeye? only for anglers? if so then you could still see those flossers out there claiming to be fishing for other species. DFO cannot enforce the angling method unless its illegal. Comm and FN will continue to intercept in nets.

Making the angling method illegal (bar-fishing only, circle hook, or leader length) - enforcement is not technically difficult but if the number of DFO officers doesnt DRASTICALLY increase it cannot be realisitically enforced. DFO numbers arent likely to increase much. Also fish will still be intercepted by Comm/FN nets. Circle hooks may be a good idea but people are crafty and I'd like someone to prove that fish cant be snagged with them if using long leaders and flossing techniques.

Yearly quotas decrease - probably a good idea anyways except that it wont affect those guys like CD stated that just fish all day "releasing" fish until the end of the day when they take their 2 home.

Shut down the river to ALL Salmon fishing during key times (ie. early stuart) - IMHO, enforcement is easiest as no one allowed to be fishing during that time. Also stopping comm and FN from fishing during these times will have the most positive benefit of allowing all fish to pass unhindered. I know this may hurt some people financially in the short term. However if we are serious about saving the fishery and we want to allow the max number of spawner's to reach their destination I believe this to be the safest/easiest option. It will also still allow multiple ways of fishing during non-key times.

I still think one of the keys is to at least start to enforce the regulations on the book now and also treat the rec angler, commercial, and FN's equally.

Unfortunately ethics cannot be enforced by law agencies unless the ethics involve a legal infraction as well.

Regardless though, ethics need to be taught, and I think a key teacher in this case could be the tackle shops. Joe Blow goes to the tackle shop asking for bettys and the typical gear for flossing. At this point the ethical tackle shop owner needs to inform the customer that this isnt a proper way to fish and maybe refrain from even selling that type of gear. Perhaps they could also hand out brochures on releasing fish etc. Education is key, but that requires a sacrifice from people who would be willing to teach it and reach out to the common angler - seminars on river, etc..

I'm not sure of my answers solving anything or whether there is a single "silver bullet" to fix this issue. There probably needs to be a multi-faceted approach to eliminate something (flossing) that has taken a few years to take hold. There definitely needs to be dialog like this though and I appreciate Rib for bringing it up though and hope we can all agree that something needs to be done.

:cheers:

Just looking forward to those quiet mid-week days on the river this winter steelheading,,,,, :thumbup:
 

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ribwart said:
I know this could be a can of worms I am opening here, but I think we should give this a shot. I was recently emailed by a contact at DFO who was wondering if some of our more avid and experienced anglers might contribute their ideas on catch and release fisheries and how to limit their impacts on other species.

Here is what the email read:


I am trying to come to a solution to minimize the impacts on Sockeye and other low run species from certain catch and release techniques. (Notice I did not use the term bottom bouncing or 9 foot leaders)

I know that it will take time to put through suggestions in order to avoid the closure that happened this last summer, but I am hoping that some ideas will come from the avid anglers out there. One idea has been to move towards circle hooks as they appearantly are good to hang onto fish that actually bite, but are impossible to snag fish with.

Again, I do not want to open up the debate, but some creative solutions would be nice. Thoughts?


I DO NOT want this discussion to turn into a gong show debate. I think amongst the group of us we should be able to come up with several legitimate suggestions which might be useful in searching out the answer to this question...

This is not an opportunity to gripe and whine, constructive ideas only please!!!!

Thanks for your understanding...

rib
This has noting to do with First nations! Maybe you should read it again. If people keep going off about FN doing this and FN doing that, nothing will get done and we will be worse off in the end. We need to worry about ourselves and what we do! :)
 

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If you really want to know how big this can of worms this really is....consider the following.........Our Provincial Gov't is promoting our fishing resources heavily on all possible tourism sites.......They promote and support all the "teach a kid to fish" and the various other father/son fish days.....they advertise heavily along with many of the guides in BC in overseas publications....They WANT people to come and fish in BEAUTIFUL BC. Everyone wants people to come and fish in BC....Fish the mighty Fraser!!
And so they come.......some fish ethically......others floss and long line fish, others toss flies into hoards of sockeye that are passing by and think all this fish are biting.....Granted, some do but they are few in numbers compared to the ones that are caught in total.....They spend a lot of money and everyone goes home happy.........Yeah that is good for the economy, but not so good for the salmon.....Why promote a dwindling resource? Why promote a resource that is in grave danger?

Now,what about the local sport fisher and his/her chosen methods.

The Provincial Government or Feds for that matter could care less about the local sportsfisher. We are offered no special priviledges to fish a resource that is shared with a few others....It IS a resource, just like our forests.....They were poorly managed in this Province and continue to be at the expense of a lot of fish....The salmon are also a large resource and they are doing the same thing with it
Sure we saw a few extra officers around this summer/fall......How many of these officers wrote citations? How many of these citations went to court?....What do you suppose the revenue would be for all these "infractions"?.......Very little!!!
Did it solve some problems? I guess it depends what the problem was.

The resource (at least the one in the Fraser) needs to be better managed by all levels of Gov't., by the professional guides, the sportsfishers as well as the first nations....Getting them all on the same page is a difficult task at best, and will likely never happen unless a mediator acts on behalf of all parties interestsd as well as the resource. Fishing methods need to be changed, not the hooks.

I am not advocating a full closure, but selective closures might be a start, just like last year. Bottom bouncing needs to be removed as a method of harvest on the Fraser. If harvest is not restricted to still fishing or backtrolling only in the mainstream Fraser, with a few variences at certain times for casting lures at creekmouths etc. the gong show will continue and benefit no one when the salmon are gone forever.(They could have openings and closures and times attached to these variences etc).....They could have separate days for guide boats only and other days for public fishing just as they do with the commercial fleets..

The can of worms gets even bigger if you consider the following........
Lets get rid of the "betty's" and the long leaders and allow float fishing in the Fraser.
The typical setup would mirror a chironomid set up in stillwater.
Set your float so the terminal gear is approx 6-12 " off the bottom. Short leader cast upstream into a concentration of fish, and bingo.....a new and exciting way to catch sockeye!! Legal too, I might add.
This method was personally observed and obviously being tested and highly productive on the Vedder/Chilliwack this year in fast flowing pocket water where small concentrations of fish will follow their "highways" up the river......Fishing...no! Ethical.....no! Snagging/flossing/lining.....YES! Why do we allow this to continue?
It will, undoubtably spread over to the Fraser.

The Spring salmon populations in Fraser this year were well below the forcast and many were flossed, especially above the Agassiz/Rosedale area....They need protection, too! Bar fishing techniques are proven effective and Spring salmon will readily take a lure in these sections of the river. No bottom bouncing

Ethical, legal, fishing methods need to be explored and discussed and the rules need to be put into place and enforced, including gear choices and hooks. Right now, none of them are being handled well at all........I am not even going to touch the commercial fishery, offshore fisheries, and the many other hazards the salmon face prior to returning to the rivers and their offspring's return to the ocean..too many other factors.

How to reduce the bycatch of sockeye in the river?....Leaders, hooks and gear have nothing to do with it. Eliminate the pursuit of the sockeye....A moratorium on the fishery is required at all levels.....but......highly unlikely when you see what the rest of the world pays for a sockeye salmon!....I don't think the type of hooks play a large role, but the methods of their use sure do.

A can of worms?........Hell no, more like a whole barrel full!

With respect, Ortho 8)
 

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This has noting to do with First nations! Maybe you should read it again. If people keep going off about FN doing this and FN doing that, nothing will get done and we will be worse off in the end. We need to worry about ourselves and what we do!
:confused:

I only mentioned Commercials and FN's in light of the fact that if this topic is related to a conservation measure to save and protect stocks then all stakeholders on the river need to be considered. I never said they did anything, only that they and Commercials must be considered in the overall picture. If the Commercials and FN's are not included then we can use all the circle hooks in the world and the difference will be negligible. We have to control the harvest completely, end-to-end. And,,,If this is not a conservation measure then what is it?

Have we got to the point where even the mere mention of FN brings the politically correct axes down upon our necks?
 

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This is not a FN debate and to bring up into this debate takes away from the task at hand. We are looking for ways to fix our problem with snagging on our rivers. Everyone knows what the FN is doing on our rivers, or their rivers but that has nothing to do with this topic. I just don't want this topic to drift in the wrong direction as these debates always do!! :)
 

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Well put Rick, the F/N issue is a totally seperate hot bed and one we as sporties cant control.
Ortho I agree with you on the fact even if they short float they will find a way to snag fish.It does come down to ethics and the individuals respect and understanding of this resource. I would say many here would support me in saying the flossing population that typically comes out in Aug does'nt give a rat crap about preserving a species or what conservation means. look at the posts on the vedder over this last fall how many different members posted about flossers on the water how many coho and springs were flossed out of the vedder this past season?? I agree I would also like to see how many violations were written and what were the amounts of revenue generated by them. Why could they not set up on hot flows and areas and enforce the regs in hand. we know the fraser heats up from in the end of July and Aug then the masses switch to the vedder and other local flows. Why not follow the fish, when the river is busy, work it hard and go after violators agressively, do the math on it if they wrote out 300 tickets @ 125 a pop that's 37500 to aply to one c/o's wage. I know there are more expenses involed in the break down of it ,but I think you see where I'm going with it. look at the upper vedder this past summer they were up there making a presence known at people were thinking twice about what they were doing.
First and fore most in my opinion they have to clearly define what is acceptable ethics on the flow and what is not. What is intent and and what is accidental. If they can do this they can enforce the regs on those who are out there to intentionally snag fish
Crazy D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, I'm glad we put this in the 50 post+ members forum...I have read through each and every post now and all have made points that strike home to me in one way or another. As a mod, and the starter of this thread I think I will refrain from some long winded post expressing my thoughts on the matter, as most of them have been expressed here already by you guys. Instead, I am going to try and direct this discussion a little bit, cover the bases so to speak so that when the contact at DFO reads these posts via email, he sees not only our initial ideas, but also the thought process when we elaborate and explore the suggestions.

But first things first. The author of the email mentioned circle hooks. I know that some have you have stated that you have never used them and only know what you have read of them. I am in the same boat. I have never used circle hooks either. I wonder if any of the other anglers here can shed some light on their personal experiences with them...?

Here's some points maybe we could start with before we begin to dissect some of the previously mentioned ideas...

Firstly, I am still skeptical as to whether they would serve the purpose...but am open minded about it. I would like to hear more on the circle hooks efficacy. Does anyone have some more to add about them...?

Second, obviously closing the river completely is an option, but how realistic is it really? Ideally from a tourism, economic and commercial aspect it is the least desirable option. The purpose is to find some solution that allows the river to stay open. I think the idea of stationary lines have a great deal of merit. However, if we can set that idea aside, for just a moment, can we come up with any other ideas...?

I'll leave it at that for now, hopefully we can brainstorm a bit and then maybe come back to a few points and try and help contribute to finding the solution to this problem...

Thx,

rib
 
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