Steelhead rules designed to limit foreign, non-guided fishermen

The Ministry of Forests, Mines and Natural Resources is slapping more rules on the Skeena River, which will come into effect April 1, 2012.

Fish are a limited, albeit loved, resource here — and the steelhead is one of the most globally popular inhabitants of all.

But keeping healthy stream counts and fishery quality takes regulation, and the Ministry of Forests, Mines and Natural Resources is slapping down more on the Skeena River, which will come into effect April 1, 2012.

“There are a  couple of things … maintaining the quality angling experience and also addressing issues around resident angler priority and maintaining resident angler priority,” said district fisheries manager Andrew Wilson. “When there are fees, they will be attributed to the foreign anglers first and residents last.”

There are four classifications of sport fishermen who are regulated: B.C. residents without a guide; Canadian anglers without a guide, foreign anglers without a guide, and anglers with guides.

Changes to these regulations include hiked fees for non-residents, both Canadian and foreign; extended steelhead stamp requirements, which are intended to moderate and monitor fishing; policy which will spread guided anglers over the whole season to keep river crowding down; increases and decreases to the number of allotted fishing days for guides, and new times and zones for Canadian anglers where foreigners won’t be allowed to fish.

Changes will see an extended classified water period from July 1 to December 31, extended mandatory steelhead stamps from July 1 to December 31, more guided rod days by 586 days amongst 12 new guide licences in a zone from Flint Creek  to Chindemash Creek, resident only in two  “hot spot” zones on Saturday and Sunday from July 1 to December 31, one with guiding and one without.

These changes were made on the heels of a working group focused on improving the steelhead fishery in the Skeena watershed. The group involved local anglers, guides, tourism operators, business community members, non-Canadian anglers and First Nations.

But there is concern from locals that increased pricing for foreign anglers might not change their fishing habits.

“A steelhead angler is a steelhead angler and he’s going to fish for them no matter what they cost,” said Bruce Bystrom from Misty River Tackle and Hunting, who explained that because this region has the top steelhead fishery in the world which people travel for, hiking  prices represents a fraction of costs paid to get here.

Local guide Stan Doll, who has 40-plus years of guiding experience, said foreign non-guided fishers should be of top concern.

“There’s lots of rules that are made for guides, they keep us honest,” he said.  “But they don’t really apply to the every day Joe.”

“The main problem is the Copper is overrun with unguided non-residents,” he continued. “They’re destroying the fishery.” Most of Doll’s clients are from the United States and Europe, he said, and they pay about $5,000 to lodge, eat and fish without their flights included.

There are currently five registered guides on the Skeena, said Doll, who split 128 fishing days between themselves and each day counts for one guest.

But many foreigners travel and lodge in local hotels, RVs and campgrounds, he said, saving money on fishing that way which removes a barrier for many.

Currently, non-Canadian residents pay $60 CAD for steelhead stamps and $80 for a licence. Classified waters cost extra

“If there’s people everywhere, the quality of that fishery is gone, and that’s what people pay for… going out and seeing the wilderness,” said Doll. “If we allow people to keep going in here and paying 20 bucks a day to go fish the best rivers in B.C., there’s a problem.”

Doll, who helped write the regions fishing rules back in the 1980s, said regulation will need to be in place to ensure people stick to the rules.

“There is no provisions specifically for enforcement,” said fisheries manager Wilson. “(But) it will be reviewed. It’s not done and dusted never to be looked at again.”



Just Posted

Global climate strike makes its stand in Terrace

Approximately 50 people rallied in front of city hall to bring awareness to climate change

Bear shot by police in Stewart neighbourhood, residents say

Gunshots were heard in the dark, alarming and angering neighbours

Skeena Voices | Walking between two parallel roads

Lynn Parker found knowledge a powerful tool for reconciliation

Terrace Community Forests harvests $750k for City of Terrace

Money was given in recognition of National Forest Week

Coast Mountain College opens new health and wellness centre in Terrace

College’s eventual goal is to open up the gym and programming for public use

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read