Fly Fishing Forum - View Single Post - Reply from CA Oceans and Fisheries about Skeena netting
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Old 08-12-2002, 03:34 AM
tonyd tonyd is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: southern interior of BC
Posts: 169

I just returned from a 2 week trip to Terrace.The reason for the "big push" of sockeye is because the river has been netted off for a week.There was a 3 or 4 day commercial opening that started right when we arrived and then another 2-3 days later.We expected to catch litterally hundreds of sockeye and pinks at that time as that is the way it normally is if you know the right bars.We fished Ferry Island alot for 6-8hrs each morning before heading after some chinook in a boat.On our whole trip I caught 6 pinks and 2 sockeye.Not exactly what we travelled 14hrs for.We were always the first on the bar(3:30AM) and had one of if not THE best water.There was almost NO sign of fish aside from a small school of pinks one evening.No one else on the bar(considered to be the best sockeye bar on the river by most) was doing any better.I saw several steelhead landed in the slower water as well.The fish take 7 days to make the trip up to Terrace so that,combined with the commercial netting,made for a 2 week period with VERY few fish in the whole river.The only fish that seemed to be present in good numbers were the big chinook at the Hog Line(mouth of the Kalum River).These were the only fish able to make it through the netting.After a week of slow fishing we made the trip down to Prince Rupert.Along the way we stopped at every bar and piece of slack water we saw and glassed the area with binos in hopes of seeing some sockeye flipping but there were none.On the way from Rupert we stopped at Port Edwards to watch the commercial fleet come in.It was rediculous!I've never seen so many boats in my life.Another frustrating thing is knowing that alot of the boats aren't even local.Because the openings of the Skeena,Fraser,Nass,etc are all at different times,the fleets from the south coast simply migrate up there before or after their opening.Basically there are way more boats netting the area than there would be if the openings to all the rivers were at the same time.After talking to some of the fishermen,and several sportfishermen there,we were told that the entire mouth of the river was pretty much netted off and that NOTHING gets through until the opening is lifted.As we neared the Skeena mouth the next morning we could see the barrage of boats in the distance.I agree with Dana,DFO is constantly putting sportfishers last and will basically feed you a bunch of BS to keep people happy.The fishing while we were there was pretty bad and we ended up fishing for trout in some of the smaller rivers and going up into the Nass to find fish.The chinook fishing on the Nass was spectacular though and worth the drive.I really don't have a problem with commercial fisheries,only the way they are allowed to operate.Being able to close off the entire river and prevent sportfishers(who bring alot of money to the local economy) from sharing the resource is crap.How are they sharing the fish when nothing can get into the river?Considering all the netting is done on the sockeye,and the steelhead move with the sockeye,I don't see how they can ever say that these stocks aren't being seriously impacted.Nets don't discriminate,regardless of their size.Don't believe anything DFO tells you as they will always put the commercial fishery first anyway.By the way,the water was extremely high when we arrived but dropped quickly and is now in great shape.The Copper looks in wonderful shape,but access is very limited(lower river only).We never fished it but saw several anglers fishing the lower stretches.There are some steelies showing now and someone with a good dirt bike could find some fabulous water to themselves on the upper river provided they can get past the gate.If we hadn't made the trek to the Nass our trip would have been a very big dissapointment.If I were to go back,and I plan to,I would make sure that the commercial fishery was done(at least for the sockeye) as it can be pretty frustrating casting into empty water day after day.Chances are the worst is over now.Hopefully steelhead numbers won't be too low.
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