Re: Steelhead Society of B.C., Northern Branch, proposal to establish fly fishing only on certain rivers in Region 6 – Skeena.
The Steelhead Society of British Columbia’s January 2015 newsletter outlines the Society’s continued diligent and relentless efforts, with many projects all over B.C. to preserve and enhance B.C.’s fragile wild steelhead populations. Well done and our hats off to all these members who dedicate countless hours without compensation to these worthwhile projects.
At the society’s upcoming AGM on January 24, one of the proposals outlined in the newsletter “which is at the exploratory stage, is to establish a fly fishing only regulation for the Copper (Zymoetz) and its tributaries from about mid October until the angling season closes on January 1. The reason for this proposal is that during mid-October summer steelhead are starting to school up in holding water and they become much more vulnerable to excessive catch and release numbers. It may even be necessary to have a hook size/fly size restriction to reduce the catching effectiveness of a larger fly and hook penetrating a vital artery.”
Locals should be concerned with this proposal.
Firstly, whenever a species is at risk, the sensible and usual action is simply to close the area. How solving a problem by allowing one group fishing privileges while denying another is beyond comprehension. The fact is a fly fisher can and will out fish a no bait gear fisher any day. If one group is to be banned for the reason as stated, the obvious solution is to ban the fly fishers; however this is just as preposterous as to what is being proposed.
Secondly, these regulation changes are time consuming and involve laborious negotiations with many different levels of government departments thus once implemented are difficult to reverse. New regulations also have a tendency to creep. For example, recently banning non-Canadians on certain days and waters, now banning certain Canadian groups, what/who is next?
Thirdly, and the most important reason to be concerned, further restrictions will deny many youth from enjoying this sport. Fly fishing is more expensive at the entry level, more difficult to learn with the many different knots and lines, and more difficult technique wise than gear fishing. My two children grew up camping and fishing in the Skeena region.
We have hundreds of photos of them enjoying the sport and the outdoors. I am convinced one of the main reasons they were responsible youths and now are well rounded adults is because of their fishing and outdoors experience.
They would have been denied this if the rule was fly fishing only.
If fishing is open, let it be open to all, particularly youths, not reserved for one select group.
The Steelhead Society’s many projects can be viewed at http://www.steelheadsociety.org/ and their Newsletter can be found under the News tab.