Is the Dean going to die? - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 09-19-2005, 09:31 AM
Bob Pauli Bob Pauli is offline
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Is the Dean going to die?

Unfortunately this year, poor Dean River fishing is due to human causes.

A fishing partner on the Dean stopped by Fisheries & Oceans Canada in Bella Coola on the way home, and talked with the officials. He was told there were only three enforcement officers for the area, and by inference, commercial regulations could not be enforced.

Another person in the FOC office, not an employee, said there were approximately 100 commercial salmon fishing boats intercepting Dean Channel fish during the prime steelhead run and none were following regulations.

The regulations are that linear nets are to be placed one meter below the surface so steelhead can escape, and that in the case of purse seining, the steelhead are supposed to be "brailed" [removed from the net before hauling aboard]. Neither of these regulations are being followed by the commercial fishermen, and there is no enforcement because local FOC folks suffer reprisals when citations are issued. Specifically mentioned reprisals were burning of homes and beating of officers' children [by children of fishermen].

Steelhead are a three year cycle. It won't take long to finish the Dean.
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Old 09-19-2005, 07:35 PM
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Eric Eric is offline
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Any ideas about what we might be able to do about this situation?

I've contacted a couple of people. Nothing back yet. If I learn something useful, I'll pass it on.

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Old 09-19-2005, 08:06 PM
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juro juro is offline
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I am speechless... this is barbaric.

Can we try to appeal to the provincial government?
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Old 09-19-2005, 11:06 PM
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One of the members of this Forum is Art Lindgren, who literally wrote the book on the Dean (_Steelhead River Journal: Dean River_, Art Lindgren, Frank Amato Publications, Inc, Portland, OR, 2000: ISBN 1-57188-116-6). I hope he will post his thoughts on the best way to protect the Dean steelhead or at least the best way to get involved in their protection.

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Old 09-20-2005, 01:17 AM
Moonlight Moonlight is offline
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Bigger problem than you might think!

Have you ever considered that there has been a Gillnet Fishery (not to mention Seine Fishery)in the aproaches to the Dean Channel for well over 60 years and during that time we have had some very excellent Steelhead fishing? There is certainly a problem with the number of returning Steelheads throughout there range but I doubt that a few atecdotal comments by "folks" in Bella Colla are going to break the case for all to see the true culprit.
As a matter of fact the so called FOC when under a previous name spent more than a few Dollars Canadian to create a series of Spawning Channels just East of the Mouth of the Dean to enhance the Summer Chum population so that the Gillnetters could have acess to a bounty of Chum in the Dean Channel and its approaches from Sea Forth Channel at Bella Bella on the West to Namu on the South.
Personally I am certain that there is a lot more going on here than over harvest by commercial interception. There is something very wrong in the ocean and I hope that at some time in the not to distant future the sport fishing (West Coast Folks) will conspire to find out what is wrong out to the West of land?
But hey it so easy to just blame the 'others!"( apologys to Jane)
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Old 09-20-2005, 01:24 PM
speydoc speydoc is offline
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For a differant perspective I am going to post my observations - I do not fish the Dean for steelhead, but have been going in to target chinook on the fly for the last 4 years in the third week in June. Most of the Canadian residents I fish with have been doing this for 15 to +30 years so there is a lot of experience with this fishery. The impression I get from talking to these guys is that the chinook numbers have been slowly, but steadily decreasing - the early steelhead that used to show up at this time of the year are now very rare (I have yet to take a chrome steelie on the fly in any of my 4 weeks) The observation is that +40lb chinook have been almost totaly absent in the last 4 to 7 years, coincidentaly these figure match the huge booms in numbers of lodges (floating and otherwise) that have come into operation on the Canadian coast - as each client is only allowed 4 chinook they are known to target the +30lb fish.(think of how many lesser fish are caught and "released" prior to the bigger fish being harvested) This year we observed gangs of 3 to 9 seals harrasing the fish the whole way up to the canyon on each tide - despite anglers using bear bangers and chasing them with boats - the impression it that there are not more seals but that they are being forced up the rivers by competition at sea. Unfortunately sportfishing has become a very lucrative commertial venture for the lodges.
In contrast I must record my observation after talking to one of the commertial fishermen based out of Bella Coola - he and another commertial guy(based out of Langley) took my party and our river boats into the Dean. They were strugling to find enough fish (chinook) in the Dean channel to cover the costs of their fuel and were typicaly getting about 12 fish each time they went out - in past years typical catches would be in the hundreds. The guy from Langley said it was so poor that he would not be bringing his boat up from the lower mainland again. The guy from Bella Coola started suplimenting his income a few years ago by running anglers into the Dean because of declining catches.
So in summary - the chinook fishery is also in decline, the culprit does not appear to be commertial fishing, but rather the commertialization of the sportfishery by the expantion of lodges on our coast (currantly I believe there are no limits on numbers or size/capacity of these lodges)
Comments gentlemen?
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