River Watch Programs [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: River Watch Programs

08-11-2002, 03:54 PM

Michigan started these programs a couple of years ago on andramous rivers with heavy runs of steelhead and salmon to help ensure illegal methods of fishing are mitigated.

Any other areas of the world have something like this.

Note the DNR trains volunteer anglers to perform this in high angler density areas, such as below dams. The volunteers are call a DNR or police officer to confront anglers violating the law.

Pere Marquette Riverwatch Program established - August 6, 2002

Law officials from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced a Riverwatch program on the Pere Marquette River and the lower portion of the Big Sable to help ensure the success of the fall salmon runs there. Riverwatch Programs, now in effect in various popular salmon fishing areas throughout the state, are designed to train and utilize volunteers to be present on certain rivers during peak salmon runs, and to notify authorities of suspicious activities.

The Riverwatch Programs have proven very successful elsewhere in holding down the number of violations often associated with the large number of salmon that crowd some rivers each fall, said Sgt. Ron McCarty, DNR Conservation Officer. Training sessions for Pere Marquette Riverwatch volunteers are scheduled Friday, Aug. 9, from 7-9 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. to noon. Both sessions will be held at the Ludington State Park Visitors Center. Volunteers need only attend one of the sessions, but the training is mandatory for anyone wishing to be a part of the Riverwatch Program.

The Pere Marquette and Big Sable are world-class trout and salmon rivers that draw large numbers of anglers each year. In particular, the Pere Marquette has portions of its watershed designated as prime trout habitat, and special regulations impact segments of the river. Advance registration is not required for the Pere Marquette Riverwatch training sessions. For further information, contact Sgt. McCarty or Conservation Officer Jim Espinoza, at 231-775-9727.

08-15-2002, 09:16 PM
No other countries or states with this type of program ?

In Europe they have "river keepers" on trout and salmon rivers not sure if their responsibilities include watching the methods used by the anglers for their legality.

08-16-2002, 07:46 AM
U.K River Keepers come in two flavors - those employed by the National River Authority who check licences, methods and also look out for water problems, fish kills etc. Then there are those employed by riparian owners to keep out the un-invited and look after their particular piece of river. I'm not aware of any voluntary based programs.

Both work to aprehend and prevent poaching.

08-16-2002, 01:43 PM
Hal, do you have any more info on the Michigan program? How is this different from tips lines for state fish & game departments? Sorry it took so long to reply, somehow I can't post from my old username anymore.

beau purvis
08-16-2002, 02:27 PM
doesnt B.C. have this. seems like i met one on the gold last winter.

08-20-2002, 09:34 PM

These river watch programs are only on prime river areas where salmon congregate, namely below the upstream limit dams where the fish are very vulnerable to snaggers and linning techniques. The volunteers are trained by the DNR on what to look for and then patrol the river for violators during peak times of the spawning period. If they see a violator they call DNR officers who are in close proximity to approach the violators.

I would not want to be the one doing the night shift though which is where the illegal methods are more readily applied. Some dangerous characters out there for sure during salmon season. Would have to increase my life insurance policy coverage if I drew the night shift river watch.

Actually I would vote to outlaw night fishing on all andramous fish rivers if I had my way. Ever try to fly fish at night on a dark river it is not easy.

I am glad they have started these since I am sure it will deter some of the illegal angling that is still going on.