Warm water delays chinook

Recreational fishermen await fishery opening during mid-summer heat wave

The Fraser River is warm, and the chinook salmon run is weeks behind, as the fish wait to spawn.

Temperatures have soared to 40 C and beyond in the B.C. Interior, breaking records. That, combined with no rainfall, has water levels dropping in rivers around the province. Warm water is potentially life threatening to the ocean-going fish, stresses them as they spawn, and they will wait to enter fresh water until it cools.

Once they start spawning, they can’t return to the ocean.

But the late opening is a source of frustration for sports fishermen, and for the businesses that rely on them.

Some question whether it is necessary.

Randy Morgan, at Hatch Match’r Fly and Tackle in Maple Ridge, said the chinook numbers are decent at the Albion test fishery, and river guides fishing for sturgeon report that they are seeing a lot of salmon.

“The water is still decent. They just won’t let us go,” said Morgan, referring to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

It may be a hot summer, but it has become the new normal for the DFO to keep recreational fishermen away from salmon until late in the summer. They used to start fishing May 1.

“Mommy and daddy always make us wait,” said Morgan, adding that this year is supposed to be a good run.

“The recreational guys take the brunt, every time.”

Morgan said recreational fisherman may be victims of their own success. About 12 years ago, bottom bouncing became a popular technique, where anglers can hook a salmon in the mouth without getting it to take their lure.

He said the ministry should look at banning the practice, which would reduce the number of salmon recreational fishermen could take, and keep the fishery open for bar fishing from the Mission Bridge to the mouth of the Fraser.

He said recreational fishermen police themselves.

“Bar fishing, you don’t catch as many fish, but at least you’re on the river,” he said. “Now, we all sit and wait. People can’t plan their holidays.

“We’re all sitting in limbo.”

The late run will impact native bands.

“It will be a hardship,” said Katzie First Nation Chief Susan Miller. “We rely on fishing to sustain our families.

She added that salmon harvesting is a time when families get together to share in traditional work, and teach their children how to fish.

Miller estimates that the band will be lucky to have openings by August.

Pinks will be running in September, and while they are not the preferred salmon because of their soft flesh, Morgan said they are alright if packed on ice as soon as they are caught, and cooked within a day or two.

 

Just Posted

Maple Ridge man to the rescue twice in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Maple Ridge magnetic hill defies the law of Newton

It is a stretch of road where cars roll uphill instead of down

Driver from 2005 vehicle dragging death in Maple Ridge dies

Grant De Patie killed while working at gas station

Crown drops one Vernon assault charge against Curtis Sagmoen

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will still stand trial on one count of assault causing bodily harm in December.

Start of Maple Ridge B-Line bus service may be delayed

TransLink says new service could start next year, some time

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Two men charged in Lower Mainland grocery store stabbing in 2018

Coquitlam RCMP say the incident is ‘believed to be targeted’

Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

Four people spat on in ‘random, unprovoked’ assaults: Vancouver police

Police ask additional victims to come forward after woman in a wheelchair spat on

Most Read