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Ocean Flyfishing for Salmon Perhaps the most under-rated fishery in the world

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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-29-2004 10:10 PM
juro Horseheads (grey seals) here on the Cape Cod shoreline are constantly taking fish off the line or more often once they are released the seals jump on them. On two occasions I have had seals eat my sand eel fly, which I promptly popped off (I fish 100% barbless hooks voluntarily).

I was field testing the Atlantis on the second instance and I have to admit for a few seconds I thought it was the fish I had been waiting for... dOh!
08-29-2004 08:03 PM
Fish Spotters.

Like my fishing partner the seals are excellent fish spotters ( as in they can see them) as opposed to running around with a magic marker making dots on there flanks!
Marine mamals in view signal fish are near. Thefish would be there anyway but with so many miles to chose to fish in the sight of a few seals narrows the search of the wise. But you already knew that, you just didn't say it.
08-29-2004 06:30 PM
Bootsy We see seals 40-50 miles up the Skeena river , following the salmon in every fall. Very strange to see them pop up in the river. They don't really seem to effect the fishing. It actually seems better when they are around.
08-21-2004 02:25 PM
Moonlight NI the interaction with these critters around large man made barriers is a real challenge to overcome. The Goverment Locks in Seattle and any number of Dams on the Rivers around the NW are classic examples of the Lions ability to adapt to changes in there enviroment.
I, like I said, don't begrudge them there place on the Ocean but I at the same time see no reason not to eliminate problem animals that "stray" into these isolated situations where they unnaturaly utilize these barriers to all but decimate a particular run of fish.
As to my somewhat caviler attitude regarding feeding the Lions my just released fish. When you get right down to it they would eat the same amount of Coho anyway its just easier for them to pick off the winded ones so in reality its a no loss situation.
I have had quite a few run ins with Stellar Sea Lions in the Gulf of Alaska they are close kin to the California Sea Lion and even though they are a protected specie there numbers are on the decline. Several studies are being prosecuted to determine the cause of there decline. A great number of folks cite the huge Pollock Trawl fishery as the culprit but the recent studies point out Heavy Metal and PCB's as being extremely suspect in the decline.
One side effect of the Marine Mammal Protection Act , besides the rebound in Seals and California Sea Lions, is the tremendous explosion in Great White Sharks along the West Coast and in the Gulf of Alaska.
I didn't like the weather forecast this AM so I am getting my fishing fix today tying up some of Lelands poppers and some more Clousers. Certainly didn't feel that you were trying to start a pissing match about the value or lack thereof of the Sea Lion population which of course is out of our control and as about as easy to complain about as the weather
Cheers to you too sir.
08-21-2004 12:12 PM
North Island But wait there's more . . .

I am not trying to engage you personally. I just want this info out there to raise the awareness or provoke discussion. Also I am sure many members are already aware of these facts.
08-21-2004 12:04 PM
North Island Moonlight,

Here in the strait seals and sealions are consistantly using this as a method of hunting. As I said in the previous post this situation has become common place on most fishing grounds around Vancouver Island. Further to the point for the past 15 tears there have been documented reports of seal populations feeding in estuary and in far up river (15km) areas. Not only for the fall migration of adult salmonids but also for the out migration of steelhead and coho smolts. Some rivers experiencing the problem are the Qualicum, the Puntledge, the Salmon, the Nanaimo just to name a few.

It also has been documented that animals with this behavior teach their offspring this hunting method. Making it a self perpetuating problem that grows annually. Speaking of growth, the pinneped population has grown massively in the last 15 years, especially the California sealions. Combine these facts with decreases in salmonid returns, especially in rivers with no hatchery enhancement, and it would appear as though one piece of the puzzle has been identified.

Do I begrudge the occaissional non human marine predator his take? No, I can see a situation that will need to be addressed yes IMO. Good luck Fishing tomorrow is my wish for all of us.

trying not to be too sanctimonious
08-20-2004 11:17 PM
Moonlight I doubt that these run ins are out of balance with "Nature", but they are interesting enough to report when one encounters them. When you really think about it what is really out of balance is "probably" folks like me who are catching fish and making them a "bit off " and a little out of breath so that the Seals and Sea Lions can harvest the ones that bite flys!!!!!
So am I guilt ridden? No! Do I worry about my ability to impact the few fish I encounter? No!
Do I begrudge the occasional non human marine predator his take of the multidude of Pacific Salmon? No! Am I a bit obtuse? Yes!
And more importanly I will be out on the morrow doing more of the same.
08-20-2004 10:56 PM
North Island Run ins like these are a very common occurrance in these parts. Perhaps the sealion and seal populations are getting a little out of balance?
08-20-2004 01:41 PM
Useful Information........

Here's a good site for Marine Conditions
Had an interesting run in with a very large male Sea Lon yesterday. I hooked a coho that was running and jumping around my skiff when there was a "Huge-boil" right where my coho had rolled and instantly my reel was screaming as they seldom do this side of Baja. I considered breaking the fish (Lion) off but to do so would have been like stopping a SkilSaw with your bare hands. It was looking like I might be loosing my entire line and backing so in desperation I started the engine and gave chase. I really don't know if it was effective but a short time later the run stopped and I reeled in all my backing then all the shooting line then all the head and the leader and even the fly, with a Coho's head attached severed right behind the gill plates. I guess the Lion read about not eating brains and didn't want to get Mad Fish Disease

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