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Author Topic: Decline of Gold River Steelhead  (Read 651 times)

CohoJake

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Decline of Gold River Steelhead
« on: July 25, 2019, 09:20:13 PM »

https://hashilthsa.com/news/2018-12-10/threat-steelhead-extinction-forces-closure-gold-river-winter-anglers

Reading about the decline of Gold River steelhead makes me teary-eyed.  I was lucky enough to have my dad drive us up there when we first were taking up river fishing back in 1992, and it was where I caught my first steelhead.  The first trip we had hired a guide, but the river was really low and clear, so he showed us where the fish would hold (and we actually saw quite  few steelhead), but we had to take another trip back a month later after a good rain to finally catch some fish.

What has happened to this river where anglers would have 20+ fish days?  Now only a handful of fish are returning, they estimate possibly less than 100. 

Unlike the interior Fraser stock, these fish aren't running the gauntlet of flossers, seiners and gill nets, yet the population is still collapsing.  EveryDay or any other Islanders care to chime in?  Is this reflective of the island as a whole (but maybe not so bad yet)? :'(
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avid angler

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Re: Decline of Gold River Steelhead
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2019, 10:58:57 PM »

An acquaintance of mine attended a meeting about this a few months ago. It sounds like the gold and Heber summer runs are doing fine and only the winter run is collapsing. I originally thought logging would have been the culprit but theoretically both populations should be dying but thatís not the case.

Personally my theory is that perhaps the pinniped predation issue is hitting the winters harder then summers. The summer runs are entering the system with thousands of salmon which take the pressure off the steelhead. In the winter time there is only steelhead migrating so they will be the main target of pinnipeds.
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CohoJake

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Re: Decline of Gold River Steelhead
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2019, 07:20:05 AM »

An acquaintance of mine attended a meeting about this a few months ago. It sounds like the gold and Heber summer runs are doing fine and only the winter run is collapsing. I originally thought logging would have been the culprit but theoretically both populations should be dying but thatís not the case.

Personally my theory is that perhaps the pinniped predation issue is hitting the winters harder then summers. The summer runs are entering the system with thousands of salmon which take the pressure off the steelhead. In the winter time there is only steelhead migrating so they will be the main target of pinnipeds.

I'm skeptical of the pinniped theory, as this this guy: https://steelheadvoices.com/?p=596  The author of this post believes it is very related to the extreme droughts that started in 2015, but that doesn't explain the dismal returns before this year.  I would assume the summer steelhead runs use habitat that is much farther upriver, so maybe their habitat is relatively un-damaged by logging (and less susceptible to washing out), but the lower river habitat is heavily degraded.
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RalphH

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Re: Decline of Gold River Steelhead
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2019, 09:08:11 AM »

In the recent past,the Gold has experienced returns so low they approached extirpation, yet they recovered to some extent at least. Many river systems seem to have this sort of highly variable pattern. 
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CohoJake

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Re: Decline of Gold River Steelhead
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019, 10:02:20 AM »

In the recent past,the Gold has experienced returns so low they approached extirpation, yet they recovered to some extent at least. Many river systems seem to have this sort of highly variable pattern.
Do you have more specific information about this?
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RalphH

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Re: Decline of Gold River Steelhead
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2019, 08:25:27 AM »

I will have to look for it. Also I am not saying this is normal. Nothing is normal these days.
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SPEYMAN

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Re: Decline of Gold River Steelhead
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2019, 04:01:46 PM »

Does anyone know if there is still some netting on the Gold. Was some just below the A frame bridge some time ago.
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RalphH

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Re: Decline of Gold River Steelhead
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2019, 09:08:02 AM »

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