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Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

It’s Salmon Release Time!

Published on Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

In the next few weekends, there will be a series of community salmon release events across the Lower Mainland in British Columbia. These events celebrate the hard work dedicated local river stewards have done throughout the year. They are educational, entertaining and FREE, so excellent for families with young kids that are looking for activities to weekend participate in.

Nicomekl Enhancement Society Open House and Fish Release in Langley
April 30th, 11:00am – 3:00pm
Take a tour of the hatchery and release 30,000 juvenile salmon. More information…

Fingerling Festival at Noons Creek Hatchery in Port Moody
May 7th, 11:00am – 3:00pm
Over 70 exhibitors will be presenting their local stewardshop projects and there will be 40,000 fingerlings for visitors to release in buckets! More information…

Great Salmon Send-Off at Stoney Creek in Burnaby
May 14th, 10:00am – 2:00pm
Stoney Creek Environment Committee invites all to release young salmon into Stoney Creek. More information…

Chilliwack’s All About Fishing

Published on Sunday, February 14th, 2016

event-01

When I started Fishing with Rod back in 2001, I wanted to make sure that some of my energy and time were devoted to positive contribution to this community. We accomplished that between 2003 and 2012 by hosting Fish for the Future in Steveston. That ended after ten years due to other family commitments and the different direction which Richmond is taking as development of the city accelerated.

This year, we will ignite that flame again by reviving an event which used to take place in Chilliwack. Fraser Valley Salmon Society hosted “All About Fishing” back in the early 2000’s but lack of volunteers ended the event after a few years. With the sponsorship from Tourism Chilliwack, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and Family Fishing Society of BC, I am putting on this event for FVSS again.

Chilliwack’s All About Fishing will happen on March 12th, on the first day of school’s spring break, at the Chilliwack Heritage Park from 9:00am to 5:00pm. We are inviting all of you, new and experienced anglers, young and old, parents and kids, to learn everything about fishing in the Fraser Valley, network with others who share the hobby as you and pass that knowledge to the younger generations. It is a free event! I’ve invited all the experts in the industry so they can share their tips on catching steelhead, salmon, trout and other species.

For more information, please check out the event website and make sure you head to the Facebook event page as well. I look forward to see all of you on March 12th!

Rod

Creating a New Generation of Fish & Wildlife Biologists

Published on Friday, December 4th, 2015

Recently we completed several video for Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, which is funded by the conservation surcharges from your freshwater fishing licences. These videos are a series which highlights an important program which HCTF funds.

As part of its commitment to building a better future for fish, wildlife and habitat in BC, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation funds paid internships for BCIT students in their Ecological Restoration Program.

BC’s rapid rate of industrial expansion combined with the imminent retirement of many of the province’s conservation and ecological restoration professionals has created an pressing need to build the next generation of fish and wildlife professionals to face tomorrow’s conservation challenges. Training for these hands-on professions requires moving beyond the classroom and out into the field. These summer internships provide invaluable real-world experience working alongside professional biologists from HCTF partner organizations.

In this video series, you’ll hear from both students and mentors about the benefits of this program in building capacity for conservation in BC.

Lower Fraser River Interior Coho Salmon Management Measures

Published on Monday, September 7th, 2015

Fraser River coho salmon

If you fish the Lower Fraser River for pink salmon, then you should be aware of some important regulation changes which come in effect this week. These changes include:

  • Bait ban for salmon fishing
  • No fishing for coho salmon and sockeye salmon

The windows of these changes are as follows:

Since 2001, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has identified these dates as the migration period for Interior Fraser River coho salmon, which are endangered. To protect these fish, managers have used these measures to minimize their mortality. Bait such as roe is known to be very effective for coho salmon in the Fraser River, so well that fish often swallow the bait when hooked. This often leads to post-release death, therefore banning the use of bait during this period is required. The Sport Fishing Advisory Committee has also made sure fishing opportunities for chinook, pink and chum salmon remain available during this period, so anglers can still cast lures, fly fish, bar fish with a spin n’ glow for them without impacting the coho salmon run. When you catch a salmon, be sure to identify it first in your landing net before bringing it onto shore. If it is a coho salmon, please release it with care so it can continue its migration safely. With your support, we can keep these fishing opportunities open while protecting endangered species.

Coho salmon and pink salmon

 

Knowing the differences between a coho and a pink salmon may sound simple on paper, but beginners often find it difficult when seeing them for the first time by the river. If you are just starting out, don’t be afraid to ask for second opinions if you are unsure about your catch. Always double, triple checks your fish before deciding to retain it. Experienced anglers should understand these challenges for beginners and assist and educate those who seem to need guidance. Coho salmon (top in the photo) have small spots across their back and the top portion of the tail. Pink salmon (bottom in the photo) have larger “thumb-print”, oval spots across their back and the entire tail.

If you are interested in reading more about Interior Fraser River coho salmon and its recovery program, please check out this document.

2015/2016 Lower Mainland Freshwater Fishing Regulation Changes

Published on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

As we enter another new fishing licence year, some freshwater regulation changes have been implemented in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Region Two). Regulations are reviewed every year and some changes are often made to accommodate angling quality and conservation. Here are some major changes which you should be aware of before going fishing:

Night Time Fishing Closures

Until now, daylight only fishing regulations have only been limited to salmon in some streams. Starting on April 1st 2015, daylight only fishing will also apply to all species for the non-tidal portion of the Fraser River, Lower Pitt River and Harrison River. This means you can no longer fish at night from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise.

Fraser River night time fishing closure

This change was first proposed late last year as a way to reduce poaching of white sturgeon, which often takes place at night. By having complete night time fishing closures in these three main systems where sturgeon fishing usually takes place, conservation officers hope to catch poachers more easily and see a significant reduction on sturgeon poaching.

The changes have been controversial because representatives of most sport fishing organizations have opposed it, believing this is yet another loss of sport fishing opportunities which the community will never get back. By having a blanket fishing closure, families can no longer enjoy fishing for other species such as Northern pikeminnow by the camp fire at night in the summer. Most of the poaching also take place in the tidal portion of the Fraser River (downstream from Mission, regulated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada), where it remains open for night time sturgeon fishing. It is hoped that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will soon follow these changes which the province has made, otherwise it kind of defeats the purpose of this closure.

Releasing Big Wild Trout and Char in Selected Lakes

Wild trout and char over 50cm long now have to be released at Chehalis, Chilliwack, Cultus, Harrison, Lillooet Lakes. There has been very little understanding on the trout and char populations of these lakes, which are connected to the Lower Fraser River. Some have long believed that anadromous coastal cutthroat trout and bull trout travel between these lakes and the Fraser River.

Cultus Lake coastal cutthroat trout

A good example is this hatchery-marked cutthroat trout caught at Cultus Lake during the pikeminnow fishing derby several years ago (above photo). Hatchery-marked coastal cutthroat trout are only released in several Northern tributaries of the Lower Fraser River, therefore this fish must have travelled from one of these tributaries, through the Fraser River, up the Chilliwack/Vedder River before it reached the lake.

By requiring anglers to release large wild trout and char at these lakes, we can further protect the vulnerable anadromous trout and char stocks of the Lower Fraser River.

Ross Lake Brook Trout Retention

Until now, anglers are required to release all native char (bull trout) at Ross Lake where the Skagit River drains into. In recent years, brook trout, which have been stocked in a couple of lakes connected to Ross Lake in United States, have become more abundant. They can now be found in both Ross Lake and Skagit River when targeting rainbow trout and bull trout.

Ross Lake brook trout

Biologists fear that these introduced fish will have a significant negative impact on the native fish populations, therefore retention of brook trout is now allowed at Ross Lake, up to five fish can be kept by one angler per day. The challenge now is to make sure anglers will identify the chars which they catch correctly. Bull trout and brook trout can look somewhat similar to those who have never caught them before. If bull trout are mistakenly retained, then this regulation change can potentially backfire.

Other Region Two regulation changes can be found in this PDF file (highlighted in blue in the water-specific table).

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