thompson stlhd [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: thompson stlhd

09-29-2003, 02:21 PM
this years predicted return to the thompson is the second worst in the last 10 years. Estimated run size is 1000 fish or less. Be ready for some tough fishing.

09-29-2003, 06:46 PM
1000 fish? thats better than my 2 home rivers combined, not that 1000 fish is a good thing just saying things could be much much much much worse.

09-29-2003, 07:05 PM
at a run size much less, the river could have an in-season closure placed on it. A river this size should have 10,000+ fish in it. It was estimated that in 1984 20,000+ steelhead arrived at the top end of vancouver island headed for the thompson with about 15,000 harvested in assorted commercial, native and sport fisheries. There was still 4000+ on the spawning beds that next spring. The next year was almost as good and it's been downhill from there ever since. The river was almost closed mid-season in 1997 and this year with a small run size, there could be efforts made for the same thing to happen. You just have to look how poor the fishing was year for most guys and the run size was estimated at 1800 fish, so take away almost half of them and think how good it will be.

09-29-2003, 08:11 PM
The 1000 fish number is predicated on the Albion fish count--let's wait and see what happens on the river before making dire predictions.

09-30-2003, 11:52 PM
Sounds like what the Seymour would get... btw, i've watched steelies in the upper seymour, very very very deep... but OHHHH so lovely

On a side note that river (seymour) would be a beautiful trout river, I wish they'd introduce some trout..... mind you.. don't want to have competition for the steelies now... sighs.. it's such a beautiful river though.....


Scott K
10-04-2003, 11:09 PM
I am not by any means saying that the Thompson Steelhead aren't in trouble because they are, and there should be MORE Steelhead in this river (Jeesh, how many rivers can we say this about?). BUT, it's not like the Albion test fishery nets get huge numbers of Steelhead anyways (like 10-25 a year?). Therefore the return as caught by the Albion test fishery has little relevance in my opinion to what the final tally will be. You're also forgetting that there are similar stocks in run timing other than the Thompson ie Chilcotin, Nahatlatch, etc, which also say something in my opinion about the overall estimation ability of using the test fishery to gage the Steelhead runs. Yes, it can say something small, but who knows with the warmer conditions we have expierienced and rivers with 5-100 year lows currently (The Thompson river itself is having a 100 year low! check it out: )
you don't know how it will influence returns. All in all I hope we can keep our fingers crossed.

With Steelhead coming to the fly angler once every 6 1/2 rod days as per 2 seperate years creel surveys that I have read it's not like the Thompson Steelhead are for the guys seeking numbers anyways. If you EXPECT to catch a Steelhead, the Thompson isn't your river, period. It is big, intimidating and "few and far between" is the word that you should best apply to the situation. And this is even on good years.

Hey Doug, you are a broodstock angler on the Seymour River? I am on the list. The Seymour river would be a beautiful trout river it weren't so full of anadromous fishes. And with the fertilization the river is receiving which started this year from personal angling expieriences I have noted a marked increase in cutthroat trout presence and through snorkelling juvenile presence and size. Unfortunately I personally feel that the mainstem may be becoming inundated with Coho fry and parr which may be competing with the Steelhead. At least this is my speculation based on what I've seen.

10-05-2003, 12:03 AM
No, never heard of it but it sounds interesting, I used to ride my Mtn bike along the river all the way up to the hatchery, some of that water just begs to be fished. It's one of the prettier bodies of water that's for sure, and the idea that you would need to hike to fish it keeps 99% of the anglers away, gotta love that.

10-05-2003, 12:31 AM
Scott, I'm glad someone finally agrees with my assessment of the Albion/Steelhead connection. All I hear everywhere I go is a tale of woe for this year's season on the Thompson. On the other hand why discourage these guys--let them stay home, I'll keep fishing.

Scott K
10-05-2003, 04:10 AM
I am personally not going to give you a Sob story about how the test sets suggest the run will be small when in all actuality it is a half truth, half might be pushing it, with the little relevance I feel it has to actual run size.

What I am going to do is tell you the straight up truth that this is probably the most difficult Summer run rivers in BC to pursue a fish on the fly (in fact you're probably better off fishing rivers with no Summer run Steelhead for Summer run strays sometimes). Imagine flogging the water for days on end. The run you're fishing is 600 feet accross of relatively stagnant water or slower moving water, you never seem to be able to get your fly as far as you want it or think it should be, your knees ache and quads are sore from dragging around cleats and a staff all day, and the long faces you encounter as you hit the pub for another night almost make you want to take a Prozac with the beer you're drinking. It is an intimidating situation to be in and I want everyone to know the truth, which is supported by creel survey data that I quoted above, about how difficult this river is for anglers pursuing these fish on the fly. It's not like you can do the baseball pitchers famous fix for a bad day or stretch either. There is beer, yes, you can get S'faced, yes, but there aren't even ugly women - that's the kind of Hole Spences Bridge is.

Many feel the expierience on this river has been compromised in the past many years due to overcrowding. Just tell people the truth and if they're hardcore enough to still keep coming just wish them the best.

Best of luck.

10-05-2003, 10:29 AM
Although I don't get up to the Thompson and have never had the pleasure of fishing it for steelies I still do head out to the vedder and chehalis/harrison system. My wifes best friend and her family have a cabin at the mouth of the Thompson I can use any time I want, I just don't know where to fish the Thompson, but foul weather, no fish, ice on my nose etc... I don't go fishing to kill a fish, I go fishing for the experience, for the fresh air, the scenery, and for the same reason I play the lotto, just incase..... So, although not on the Thompson, I'll be out when everyone else is sitting at home eating a hot meal.... and I'll enjoy the experience for what it is.


10-05-2003, 10:38 AM
Scott, (it's Al) I will be out on the river as usual this fall. If conditions are extremely bad for the fish, I'll still run a line through the water, but I will nip the point from my hook. I have fished the Thompson every year since November of 1974 except when my health made it impossible in the late eighties and early nineties. I can't claim any huge success on this river, but I manage to catch the odd fish. All things considered, I think I would fish knowing even that my chances were zero. How better could I enjoy the beauty of Fall, the frosty mornings and the gradually warming afternoons. Drop me an email if you still want to come up to Hilltop.

10-05-2003, 02:19 PM
the walp biologist's can prove a direct connection with the albion test fishery and run size, also due to run timing, they can predict with relative great accuracy the deadman and bonapart rivers run size. Scott , if you received Mr. Bison's e-mail, you will see that catch ratio's all fall in line with run size. There can be exceptions, but they are quite rare. I guess in the end we will see what is counted next spring in the spawning creeks and until then it will all be up to individual opinion on what size the run will end up being.

Scott K
10-06-2003, 12:44 AM
First off, there are approximately 11-12 separate stocks that compose the interior Fraser Summer Steelhead group (The Thompson represents 4 of these stocks – Bonaparte, Nicola, Coldwater/Spius, and Deadman).

In the past few years the Albion test fishery has seen the following interceptions. Note that the Chum test fishery starts on Sept.1 ever year and I made my cut off date Oct 30th for both test fisheries for gathering info from them although the Chinook test fishery typically ends Mid October so I have listed the dates I have compiled info for that and what they have gotten in their nets for various dates. There a few of this grouping of that come into the Fraser after October but there are also I’m sure some Winter runs in that mix as well and I can’t tell which fish are from which stock so that is why October is the cut off date in this case.

Please note that peak of migration for this Steelhead grouping is typically between the third to last week of September to about the third week of October at least from the below years of test fishery I've viewed.

1999 (spawns spring 2000)
Chin T.F. (Aug 1-Oct16) - 6 Steelhead
Chum T.F.(Sept 1 – Oct 30) - 22 Steelhead
Total: 28 Steelhead

2000 (spawns spring 2001)
Chin T.F. (Aug 1- Oct 18) – 20 Steelhead
Chum T.F. (Sept 1 – Oct 30) – 56 Steelhead
Total: 76 Steelhead

2001 (spawns spring 2002)
Chin T.F. (Aug 1 – Oct 19) – 28 Steelhead
Chum T.F. (Sept 1 – Oct 30) – 44 Steelhead
Total: 72 Steelhead

2002 (spawns spring 2003)
Chin T.F. (Aug 1 – Oct 20) – 18 Steelhead
Chum T.F. (Sept 1 – Oct 30) – 24 Steelhead
Total: 42 Steelhead

2003 TO DATE (spawns spring 2004)
Chin T.F. (Aug 1 - Oct 5) - 3 Steelhead
Chum T.F. (Sept 1 - Oct 5) - 7 Steelhead
Total to date: 10 Steelhead

Maybe someone could enlighten us with exact escapements so we can see how much correlation there is.


10-06-2003, 09:34 AM
here is the run size for the last 10 years from the info you reported are
1998 , 28 sthd caught 3rd
2000, 76 caught 1st
2001, 72 caught 2nd
2002, 42 caught 4th
and this year 10 (now 11) 9th

so I would guess that the catch at Albion does relate to the run size. It is figured off of catch per unit effort so let's wait until the end of the season and see how big the run really is. I do know that early season effort so far is drawing blank days by the guys that I know that fish up there.

10-07-2003, 12:46 PM
the latest update (oct.7/03) now has the run size at 900 fish. Boy, are things looking up for thompson steelhead. let's really hope that the test fishery is wrong this year.

10-07-2003, 11:37 PM
Having taken some nasty and near fatal spills in the Thompson, it kind of has me spooked. I can't think of a worse river on the entire coast, although the Campbell River might give it a run for its money.
I know a guide who will not let his clients wade any deeper than their ankles in the winter on the Thompson.
If there's no fish, I'd rather catch no fish on a river with better footing.
Bob, the Thompson Phobe:tsk_tsk:

Scott K
10-07-2003, 11:54 PM
Bob, Just out of curiousity, who is the guide on the Thompson who won't let his clients wade in any deeper than their ankles in the winter?

Yup, she has some slippery rocks, as well as mother nature seems to have configured the rocks in a way that trips you up sometimes as well so you gotta take 'er real easy.


10-08-2003, 09:29 AM
you must tell us more of this guide on the Thompson.

10-08-2003, 09:30 AM
Bob, I would like to find a guide for the Thompson, would you mind sening me a name and phone number.


10-08-2003, 09:52 AM
It is illegal to take money for guiding on the Thompson.

10-08-2003, 10:02 AM
I get the impression that you fellows were trying to get Bob to spill the beans, would have been nice to see the offenders name right here in lights on the www!!!!:devil:

10-08-2003, 01:28 PM
Hey All,
There is no offender except me possibly. The guide is a good friend of mine and my lips are zipped when it comes to my friends.
Actually, all he said was that he would never wade any deeper than his ankles and then maybe not wade at all near deep swift pools, especially along some rocky bars he knew. Certainly not where the bar ends.
He never said he guided on the Thompson.. I incorrectly just assumed that little piece of info. He's a fine man and I know he would never break the law.
Sorry for the misunderstanding. My fault to make any assumtions even though they might seem logical. Sorry.
Bob, the Somewhat Embarrassed

10-09-2003, 11:22 AM
Thanks Bebop. Very perceptive Moonlight


10-09-2003, 01:32 PM
rickwbr, if you truly want to find someone illegally guiding the Thompson come up and I'll show you some--they're not hard to find. Playing games on the forum does nothing to stop it, better to give people the good word right off.

10-09-2003, 06:52 PM
Thanks bebop,
I am so happy to have made your aquaintance on the Bulkley and thank you again for helping me load my boat on top of my truck. I am going to figure out another way of doing this without having to ask someone to help (winch?).
But you were there, a fine example of a B.C. flyfisherman. Thanks, and I got me a Redington reel and extra spool for $145 US. Can't wait to see it come in the mail.
Bob, the Indebted:)

10-10-2003, 01:39 AM

I have been trying to find solid evidence of illegal guiding on the Thompson for years, so whenever i hear talk of it I want to know more. Please inform me of the proof you have, and I would be more than happy to report these people.