BC Fishing Reports banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anybody try to give the explanation,why is there such a small number of summer steel runs in the rivers of greater Vancouver area.Just wondering,never fished for them myself in the summer but from what I read the statistics don't look to good to me.
I'm sure some of you can give a answer to this question,THX :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,520 Posts
Habitat loss has nearly wiped them out! The Capilano and seymour reservoirs are to blame. We need our water! Pretty sad that such great runs are so little. But I thnk that hatchery enhancement is in the process right now to help these become more viable steelhead rivers for the future fishery!



Hotrod
 

·
Retired staff
Joined
·
6,684 Posts
Yeah I'd say that's a big part of it, particularly if you consider the time of year those fish return...low water season... :'( Not much room for the adults, or the youngin's, to hide...

There's also a very limited amount of spawning habitat on the cap, due in part to the extreme shortness of the river, but also by its nature, it's a river that can have severe blow outs followed by severe droughts. I'm sure a few redds have been scoured and washed away over the years.

With the seymour, nutrient content seems to have been a big issue over the years. It has the potential to once again be, and was at one time, a great steelhead river. It seems to be getting better habitat and food wise, but you still need the stock to seed the river, and as that has been so low over the years there's only so much the fish can catch up.

Another reason that likely contributes to the low numbers of summers in these rivers, is how aggressive these fish can be. Summers are far more aggressive than winter fish. Take into account warm weather & low water, I wouldn't doubt that some C&R mortality occurs with the few fish that are caught...only exacerbates the problem.

Maybe in time these runs will bounce back, for now though, I'm not holding my breath...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,161 Posts
Loss of habitat(dams, coq hiway), overfishing, c and r mort, poaching(very real) and various other factors.
Add this to the Ministry of the environments serious lack of interest in providing sport fisheries and you have the current situation we are in. How in the hell could you not make a success of a fish that returns to the river stays 8 months to a year and is a extremely "good biter". I guess all the money from licences from the rape of sockeye filled the void for awhile there, with that fishery thankfully finished, perhaps someone with a smidgen of business sense will see the opportunity that a world famous sportfish could provide.
But hey instead we get lakes stocked with tiny little trout that never get fished and a ton of other lakes closed to the public :naughty:.

Its very hard work finding and catching summeruns, with the exception of their appearance in the fall, when they often stack and follow salmon for a free meal. To hook a July/august fresh summerrun is a great experience, these fish are very strong, and spend a good deal of their fight above the water.
Now if only MOE could see the benefits these fish could provide.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
hotrod said:
... I think that hatchery enhancement is in the process right now to help these become more viable steelhead rivers for the future fishery!
Hotrod
LOL :p

ribwart said:
...With the seymour... It seems to be getting better habitat and food wise, but you still need the stock to seed the river, and as that has been so low over the years there's only so much the fish can catch up...
Habitat restoration and nutrient enrichment IS improving freshwater conditions, without a doubt. Steelhead have the intrinsic ability to increase fecundity when numbers are low and the habitat is available. "Seeding" the river will not ensure improved quantities and especially not stock quality.

Bent Rod said:
Loss of habitat(dams, coq hiway), overfishing, c and r mort, poaching(very real) and various other factors...
Very true, with poor ocean survival at the top of the list.

Bent Rod said:
... Ministry of the environments serious lack of interest in providing sport fisheries...
LMFO

Bent Rod said:
... instead we get lakes stocked with tiny little trout that never get fished and a ton of other lakes closed to the public...
Huh? :wallbash:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,161 Posts
Yes Harps, people go to Weaver to get pissed drunk, cut down trees and take ecstasy, not fish(theres a great way to spend time and money), so forgive me if I am ashamed that the Seymour has a TINY fraction of summer runs than it used to, were you around then??.

How about the Coq, right on a hiway, people constantly poaching its fish, but we are holding its small run of Steelhead in such high regard, except when we head up there and bait fish for them to steal genetics to seed another river, doing what we claim is so evil. Its only okay for MOE to go against there own policies when they say so. Now we will be using only hatchery fish to seed that OTHER river, another act MOE is adamantly against, unless they say so, starts to make your head spin.

Why a large run of bonkable out of basin summers could not be placed in the Stave is beyond me, might keep some of the young guys from heading up to Weaver to take ecstasy and help them become fisherman. I mean the FFSBC is scrambling for young fisherman, why not give them a real fish to chase, instead of expecting teenage boys to actually enjoy catching 12 inch trout. I do not need a frickin college degree to figure this stuff out, its pretty damn obvious.

Ask any great lakes angler on this board if they enjoyed growing up catching handfuls of introduced Steelhead(rainbows), I think they will clearly tell you they cared not if that fish had pure genetics or not.
Way too much eco preaching in this region, LOOK AROUND, the habitat is hammered, we are in a full developmental boom, we should be seriously considering providing sport fishing for an exploding population however we can. The fact that I am gonna take up Bass fishing this summer says it all.

Maybe the HCTF could go place some lily pads and stumps in "silvermere" for us bass anglers, those fish could use some good cover to hone their skills attacking salmon fry ;D.
 

·
Retired staff
Joined
·
6,684 Posts
harps said:
ribwart said:
...With the seymour... It seems to be getting better habitat and food wise, but you still need the stock to seed the river, and as that has been so low over the years there's only so much the fish can catch up...
Habitat restoration and nutrient enrichment IS improving freshwater conditions, without a doubt. Steelhead have the intrinsic ability to increase fecundity when numbers are low and the habitat is available. "Seeding" the river will not ensure improved quantities and especially not stock quality.
Well Ribolovac, it seems this is an impossible question to answer with just one point or a clear definition of one or even several reasons for low returns. There were many contributors to the decline, and just as many, if not more impeding their rehabilitation. There are some good points here made by several, but I'd like to reiterate one or two as they are likely the biggest players here.

Harps, if you realize I used the term "seed" loosely, you will understand I am referring to that stocks ability to replenish itself and increase the population size on its own, not some typical plea to have our hatcheries try and do it for them.

Regardless of which method were employed, I still don't feel those fish will ever "catch up", ie: ever getting close to numbers we could be happy with, or near maximum yield for the system.

Your point about poor ocean survival, is a very pertinent one in this regard.

Despite the expected higher "realized fecundity" that should occur with habitat and nutrient improvements, that ocean mortality still limits the number of viable offspring returning to get the job done. I am sure that as someone who sounds like he has some population ecology background, you will concede that an increase in fecundity is not intrinsic to just steelhead. Most populations, regardless of species, be they fish, bird, insect or any other, will show an increased fecundity once factors like competition, habitat, predation, food sources, etc are improved in their favor. It's pretty much intrinsic for almost every population you could study on the planet, but we're talking about steelhead, and they fit within one of the many broad exceptions to simple models for population growth ...

Many migratory species populations don't follow these models closely at all, salmon and steelhead being no exception. Thus despite much of the good work that has been done to restore habitat, and increase nutrient content on rivers like the Seymour and others, population sizes remain low with seemingly no improvment.

It's that can of worms, "ocean mortality". So many contributing factors with many seemingly beyond our immediate control, and then there's the ones we haven't even noticed yet. It's an even more complex question than just the freshwater side of the steelhead lifecycle.

So Ribolovac, although it seems perfectly reasonable to expect some of these nice little rivers of ours should have more fish, even if those in charge take proper care of them, it doesn't mean we are going to see any obvious results. What Harps mentioned about ocean survival is probably one of the most important factors to look at. So you look at each individual river, and take care of the freshwater side of things, and likely there's still no obvious change in population sizes, what then? Well, steelhead spend a majority of their life cycle in the ocean.

Try and put a few fingers on the many reasons they don't make it back from there and then you're getting somewhere...

If some breakthroughs regarding our impacts on the saltwater portion of the steelhead lifecycle were achieved, than I might be optimistic about some of our stocks. In my opinion, we certainly won't see any significant mean increase in population sizes in our lifetime, and unfortunately not likely ever, and I am an optimist.

rib
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thx to you all in putting your best effort to answer my question,Thx Rib for trying to simplyify things with the last post.Hopfully someday, if not in our life time, then in the future generations that are coming,changes that we are trying to make now, are going to come in effect and at least someone is going to enjoy the acrobaticts of those beatiful fish.
Thx :thumbup:
 
Joined
·
243 Posts
As an angler, I'd love to see many of our now summer run free ( or virtually so) rivers stocked with summer fish. They fight awesome, taste great and provide a long lasting fishery that spans for many months. But, where will these fish come from? Do we have any rivers near by with enough wild fish to mine them out for use on other rivers? Can the rivers with self sustaining runs right now stand an influx of hatchery fish on top of them? And what are the implications of having an introduce run of summer fish competing with wild winter fish both for resources while in the river during migration and at the same time on the redds? On a couple of the local runs like the Seymour and Cap, how far gone is too far before they simply dont come back anymore? Where is the line that we draw before we say, these fish are done, and if/when we do say that, what then for those summer runs? Do we hatchery enhance the river with the last remaining summers and hatchery clone the hel out of them to make a put and take fishery? Or let that summer fishery die and focus on the winter runs, because if we want to hatchery retard the river and end up using hatchery fish to make hatchery fish over and over again we come back to the possable negative impacts on the wild winter fish.

IMO, summer steel are, in the Valley, a done deal as far as bringing back viable numbers of wild fish. There's a couple of hold out rivers but huge poaching problems during the summer months for adults and a "trout" fishery (although obviously not in the regs, its still there, just like the adult harvest) are just the beginning of the relentless problems they face. Top that off with fluxuating freshwater habitat, questionable ocean survival, commercial and sport interception both in the ocean and during their freshwater migrations through the Fraser and the picture is quite grim.

As for the lone hatchery river worth visiting, I forsee that run coming to an end as well. No longer will the Coquhalla be a donor river for its fish to top up production. Full on with the using of hatchery fish to make more hatchery fish and its only a matter of time before we end up with a far inferior fish that we might still call a steelhead. Plus, those questions that I have about the interactions of an introduced run of summer fish on a native winter population are very real on that river right now and personally, I'd rater nix the introduced summer portion before the fuzzy cloning of clones begins in full on production in favour of keeping the wild winter portion as healthy as we can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Great points fellas (rib, krypto, rod). In continuing to contribute to this discussion, I don't want to be seen as "attackful" towards anyone (lest I feel the wrath of professori again :-[) but some of my following comments will seem that way but I assure everyone that it is only because of my passion for steelhead and my strong desire to look at the big picture and in a long-term sense.

Bent Rod said:
... the Seymour has a TINY fraction of summer runs than it used to, were you around then??.
This type of inference to 'what things used to be' is very misleading. It is impossible to compare the two, they are two completely different regimes, equivalent to the proverbial: "comparing apples to oranges" - it simply doesn't work. Anthropogenic impacts are not the same as today, look at: decreased ocean survival, more impacted freshwater habitats, more water licenses withdrawing water, increased demand to supply an increasing population with drinking water and electricity, IPP's, climate change, fish farms, burgeoning seal populations, increased saltwater interception by foreign factions, etc, etc... Not all of these issues are Seymour-specific but many are. Many of these things were, at the least, less applicable or less extensive. That's the reason fish numbers were consistently good and subsequently so were the number of anglers, the number of angler days, the higher success rates, and the SUSTAINABILITY of a fishery that was not hatchery augmented.

If you like to compare though, try this one:
Any idea when the steelhead numbers started to decline on the Seymour? (Hint: what year did the steelhead hatchery augmentation begin).
Catch per unit effort decreased 5-fold within four years of the first release of hatchery steelhead, meaning it took five times more effort (measured in days) to catch a fish than before hatchery augmentation, and it has never recovered to pre-hatchery levels. Despite the annual release of tens of thousands of smolts in recent years, 50 might return, indicating ocean survival somewhere in the neighbourhood of 0.5%. Sound economically feasible and worth it? MoE tried to pull the plug on the program and instead focus on habitat restoration and nutrient enrichment. The public outcry was overwhelming and MoE had no choice but to allow it to continue (on a political level it is votes that keep them employed after all). Habitat restoration and nutrient enrichment has occurred since then and the preliminary data suggests up to 7-fold increases in fry and parr abundance. Will this amount to improved returns... it ceratainly won't hurt, but the other variables that can be altered or changed (such as dam impoundment and Water use plans) have to also be addressed on some level.

Bent Rod said:
...instead of expecting teenage boys to actually enjoy catching 12 inch trout. I do not need a frickin college degree to figure this stuff out, its pretty damn obvious.
Rod, do you fish interior lakes stocked by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC? These lakes are stocked for a reason, because it is economically feasible and it supports many well-used fisheries that produce fish in excess of 6 pounds. These fish can actually grow past the 12" or 'catchable' sizes at the time of stocking :eek:. I can assure you that fighting these fish on a 5wt. fly rod is a helluva-good-time.

Bent Rod said:
...Its only okay for MOE to go against there own policies when they say so. Now we will be using only hatchery fish to seed that OTHER river, another act MOE is adamantly against, unless they say so, starts to make your head spin.
Hatchery use depends on the classification of a river, if it is deemed to be 'wild' MoE does not support hatchery augmentation. If it is classified as 'hatchery augmented' - different story. Better?

Bent Rod said:
... ask any great lakes angler... I think they will clearly tell you they cared not if that fish had pure genetics or not.
I've never asked them so I won't make assumptions but I guess that is the fundamental difference underlying my stance in this, all too often, debate - I do care. I care that these fish and their genes have survived millions of years, including multiple ice ages and likely many other catastrophic natural events, and yet in such a short time (on the evolutionary time scale) our impacts have forever changed their future. In the big picture, do we further exacerbate declining numbers by hatchery augmentation so we can bonk a fish? Change the genetic makeup of a species just to fight with a fish? Or to keep our customers happy?

Despite the grim outlook for summer steelhead, I don't think hatchery augmentation is the ultimate answer.
What is the answer? I don't have it or someone else would have thought of it already and steelhead may not be in the situation they are in right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,161 Posts
Nice post Harps.

On the trout fishing front. I have spent a large portion of my life chasing trout on interior waters and am fully versed in the magic of fighting rainbows on light fly gear. Last I checked it was a 3 hour drive for for a mom or dad to take their son to the interior, providing they have a 4x4 to get into the decent lakes.

But how this relates to providing young anglers with an easy access fishery for trophy fish (you know something over 5 pounds) is moot. I am talking about providing fisheries that will develop anglers and keep them striving to become lifelong fisherman.

For me and many others, we became obsessed with fishing when we had our first taste of salmon and steelhead.
Simply because it was easy to access(think many small streams of the LML) and it was exciting and challenging all at the same time.

I can tell you without a doubt the people who are devoted to fishing and will have children devoted to fishing are a shrinking commodity. We simply are not giving the public the type of exciting fishing that will make them keep coming back.

Look around at places with great angling communities, Washington, Oregon, California(yes believe), Ontario the midwest. These places all have 1 thing in common, they CREATE fisheries that draw anglers out and create an industry that fosters a healthy lifestyle and brings money to communities.

What I am saying is 12" stocker trout are not cutting it, perhaps it is time for the FFSBC to look for a way to create fisherman with fish that will excite them to evolve.
I truly think bass would make much more sense if you wanted a fish that would keep anglers evolving. These fish would at least grow to decent sizes in the LML, and do by the way.
Take a lake like Wolf or Grace, release bass,crappie and perch or some other baitfish, and watch as those bass turn into 4-7lb trophies in our long warm season climate. Do you think people would appreciate a 5 pound bass over a 12" trout, the answer is obvious.
But really Steelhead are a perfect fish for this as they have long return times, are extremely sporting, draw out obsession in anglers, and are actually much more adaptable than people let on.

All I am saying is not enough is being done to create steelhead fisheries.

I think a person such as yourself who makes a living doing habitat work, will obviously be biased towards that being the end all be all of fish management. I would undoubtedly be the same way.
But clearly the amount of habitat work we are afforded is not cutting it and perhaps cannot provide the improvements needed that will see Steelhead runs even slightly improve in the LML.
I would rather see all monies going to help those Thompson fish out than be spent on local waters destined to be destroyed by habitat loss and pillage at the hands of developers.
Case in point is the Idaho Steelhead fishery, booming numbers of hatchery raised Steelhead are returning there every year, a very large percentage of Idaho anglers partake in this fishery. Under severe loss of habitat the Idaho bios have excepted the enevitable and have created a fishery very worth partaking in.

We have to accept that when we humans massively impact an environment, we often have to step in to repair it or do what it takes to sustain it. In this case (local Steelhead fishing) it's pretty clear doing small habitat work as the only option is basically killing any hope of fishing for steelhead in any river except ones with hatchery augmentation.
My position is we try and create some Steelhead fisheries through more serious augmentation, yup, hatchery clones if you will.

Others position is to try and eek out dollars for habitat projects that may only slow the inevitable demise of the Steelhead. Which is nice if you enjoy looking at a handful of spawning Steelhead on a redd, but does nothing for creating or enhancing sportfishing.
Lets be clear that its not always about the bonking, many anglers myself included just enjoy catching a Steelhead.

I guess the future will tell how this all turns out. I feel strongly that we will be travelling to places with augmented Steelhead to fill our Steelhead void, OH WAIT we already are, Stamp, Vedder, Seymour,Alouette. Not alot of guys fishing the mighty Cogburn and its depleted run of wild Steelhead.
 
Joined
·
243 Posts
I truly think bass would make much more sense if you wanted a fish that would keep anglers evolving. These fish would at least grow to decent sizes in the LML, and do by the way. Take a lake like Wolf or Grace, release bass,crappie and perch or some other baitfish, and watch as those bass turn into 4-7lb trophies in our long warm season climate.

Huh? Bass will keep anglers evolving, how so? If we, as you suggest, begin to ignore their negative impact on our native species and begin to promote bass fishing, what will these anglers evolve to? Not salmon, not steelhead, not native coastal cutthroat in a tiny stream or a native rainbow in a low land lake, we bassed out all those fish, remember. Where are you coming up with these fantasy numbers for the poundage on these phantom bass? Sound good although kind of like, hatchery fish have no negative impact on wild populations and habitat work will fix all of our salmon and steelhead problems. Anyone can throw around imaginary numbers to make their position sound good. How's this, steelhead numbers have climbed 96% since the advent of the wheel. Dumb? Ya but so are your made up bass numbers.

I think a person such as yourself who makes a living doing habitat work, will obviously be biased towards that being the end all be all of fish management. I would undoubtedly be the same way.

You are the same way. Your complete advocation for MORE hatchery fish at the possable expense of wild fish just might be part of your needing to put more fish on the ends of peoples lines due to the way that you have chosen to make your living. Guides need fish, the more the better. Theres nothing wrong with that but dont pretend to wash your hands of any alterior reasons for pumping hatchery fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,161 Posts
Placing bass in lakes not connected to any salmon bearing waters is both a great idea and would definately create a more exciting fishery than a 12' trout could ever provide. You can look to many island lakes that have bass that easily go 5-7 pounds and rest assured that these large bass provide great sport for many anglers.

I am not advocating clowns who introduce bass to streams or lakes that spill into them ,simply suggesting that bass themselves are a hugely popular gamefish for many reasons and can provide sport that tiny trout cannot.
Simple to stock, easy to find things they eat and they will live in waters many fish do not favor.

As for your assumption that bass cannot attain size locally, use logic, we have a long growing season, of course these fish can get large. Add some baitfish to the mix and you have the makings of good sport.


As for my feelings about hatchery Steelhead opportunities, it is not based on guiding aspirations but on having Steelhead opportunities for more people and spreading out the pressure we are now experiencing.
 
Joined
·
243 Posts
Placing bass into waters that dont connect to salmon bearing waters and will still provide a long growing season and large fish... where are these lakes locally? Because we were trying to find a fishery to supplement the local salmon/steelead, or lack there of, fishing right? Get more local anglers into the game just as you said here, I truly think bass would make much more sense if you wanted a fish that would keep anglers evolving. These fish would at least grow to decent sizes in the LML, and do by the way. I think what you are forgeting is that there are also large trout available in the LML as well.

Use logic to see that bass can get big ::) Use the same logic to see that trout can get big. Use that logic once again to see that we shouldn't write off our local native fish or their future so someone can toss a crankbait for a fish that doesnt belong here in the first place.

How fast you try to avoid the situation that you have put yourself in when someone makes it personal on you just as you have done to harps. More fish = more oportunity to guide. Now that is simple logic in favour of hatcheries.
 

·
Retired staff
Joined
·
6,684 Posts
So.....how 'bout those canucks...? ::)

Wow, a thread that started on summer steelhead, turned into fisheries stocking strategies and Bass versus native fish...hmmmm, for now I have gone through and edited several of the posts here, and removed one or two as they were detracting from the discussion. Let's keep peoples real names out of it, forget the whole clique/sin bin references, keep the arguments clean and not make things quite so personal, however hard that might be.

After a hard days work, I may come back and split this topic up, but for now we'll leave it as is.

As for the discussion at hand, I am not an advocate for pushing bass fisheries. I would like to see native fish over bass any day. Having said that, now that there are a blooming number of bass fisheries around, I don't see a problem allowing those isolated ones, ie: not connected to "salmon bearing waters", to be exploited.

I would however, rather see more quality fisheries established for trout in the local lakes, although there are opportunities for larger fish in lakes around the LML, these cookie cutter 8-12" trout don't do it for me. Nor did they do it for me when I was a kid...I'm sure they don't inspire much out of kids these days either, at least those over the age of 10. Which is probably the time we'd rather see our kids getting inspired by fishing rather than the number of things that can get them into trouble as they hit their teens.

Are hatchery steelhead the answer though...? I don't think so. Sure, stock hatchery steel and returns will improve numbers wise as long as the program keeps running, but stop the program and soon thereafter the numbers start to go down again. Would it be reasonable to start stocking a river or two that are nearly devoid of fish anyways...? Maybe, but how do you make that decision...? Which run is going to be "given up on" in favor of a hatchery based fishery...?

Which rivers do you choose...and is that really the best option...? Here we were at the top of the thread talking about ocean mortality, but how much is actually being done to reduce it so that our returns can increase...? Is anything being done to solve that riddle...?

We have commercial fisheries by several interest groups, possibly interception of our fish by foreign fisheries, and likely a few other factors I can't think of right off the top of my head...

If we did something to improve our steelies chances out in the chuck, and suddenly found one or two strategies allowed for higher returns, we wouldn't even be having this discussion right now...

Is anything being done to figure out that piece of the puzzle...? I sure hope so, because I'd hate to have to fish for bass over steelhead if a solution were there and we didn't even bother to look for it.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, keep the arguments clean and try not to get too off topic...
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top