Well sorry for the late report today. I didn’t want to send out the report until I knew what the regulation changes were going to be come July 15th. I had it on good authority that DFO was not going to honour their opening on the 15th to 1 chinook per day and to expect an announcement on Friday afternoon. We didn’t know if it was going to be a continuation of the no chinook retention regulations, a hatchery only regulation, or a size restriction. The email finally came out at 4:30 and the regulation is a size restriction. In all the areas that were slated to open up on July 15th, they will indeed do so, but the chinook must be larger than 62cm but cannot be greater than 80 cm. So effectively it is a slot limit of 62-80 cm. Here is the DFO announcement and their reasoning behind it.
The problem I have with this decision is multi faceted. First off they could have easily made it one under 80 cm and one hatchery chinook over 80 cm. This would allow you to keep some of these large hatchery chinook that we are catching that have absolutely nothing to do with interior Fraser River stocks of concern. They are from the USA or are from local hatchery programs, not the interior chinook the DFO keeps talking about.
Below is a picture of a nice hatchery fish we landed just yesterday that measured out at 23 pounds and is starting to get a touch darker. This is not an interior Fraser chinook of concern. In fact it was hooked inside of Howe Sound and odds are it is a hatchery fish on its way back to the Cheakamus. No scientific or logical reason for this fish not to be harvested and it was well over 80 cm in length.
Secondly the interior chinook stocks of concern are all above the slide now. That is why they have the opening date of July 15th. If there was truly a concern, why did they already have the date set for the 15th and why has there been 94 gill nets openings in the Fraser for First Nations since April 19th?
Once again DFO is allowing other user groups to have direct impact on endangered stocks while they use the user group that encounters these same stocks at less than 1% as a media tool. They have to look proactive, so lets put in a slot limit to manage the 1%. This action will literally have 0 impact on chinook numbers approaching the slide. That big push of fish is long gone and had to get past 94 gill net openings. Managing us for a further 15 days in the marine environment is truly going to have no impact, but it does make for a great press release for them. Meanwhile they have no plans on how to actually save these chinook. They will manage them into the ground as they have other runs.
The third thing about all this is that we shouldn’t even be talking about this. The science shows that we should have been open for 2 a day all April, May and June as our impact on stocks of concern is historically 1% or less. Don’t forget that fact. At the very least it could have been hatchery only in that time period and there were lots of those fish around, it would have worked out, but we didn’t even get that.
So where can you retain chinook come Monday morning? Well for our local waters you can keep 1 a day from 62-80 cm in Area 28 and Area 17 and some parts of Area 29. So check out these maps, get educated and get fishing. One thing you should do is update your map card as it will show management area lines and RCAs and Sponge Reef Closures.
Here is the actual DFO verbiage:
Strait of Georgia – North – Areas 13 to 17, Area 28 and Subareas 29-1 and 29-2: 00:01 hours July 15 to 23:59 hours July 31, 2019, 1 Chinook per day with a maximum size limit of 80 cm; 00:01 hours August 1 to 23:59 hours August 29, 2019, 1 Chinook per day; 00:01 hours August 30 to 23:59 hours December 31, 2 Chinook per day.
There are other areas that will open, but I referenced ones that are relevant to our local spots. To find out what other areas are open you will need to look at the area map for your region and attached regulations. DFO Management Areas.
I am actually down on the boat right now typing this report, so here is a picture of what I was using on Thursday.
The top flasher in the picture is an Oki Tackle Betsy with a Yamashita Double Skirt in UV White on a 28 inch leader. This has been awesome for coho in the top 50 feet. The second flasher is a Gibbs or Oki Green Onion Glow and the third flasher is a Gibbs or Oki Purple Onion Glow. I have been doing well on UV Green or UV Purple Rhys Davis anchovy teaser heads with 5.5 or 6.0 inch anchovies and a 6 to 7 foot leader. Keep in mind we have been getting our chinook relatively shallow like 50-100 feet and this is what has been working where we are fishing. If you are fishing deeper, like over on the Gulf Islands, you would be better off with more glow in the flashers, some glow spoons and hootchies, and all of these were covered in previous reports. Chinook fishing is still hot, so I encourage you to get out there this coming week and get some for the BBQ.
Time for a quick coho chat now. It was pretty awesome and then in rained, the river came up, and the fish went up the Cap. It is still very early and there are lot more to come. It should pick up as the river is now back to a low level and the fish will start to stage from Point Atkinson to the river mouth. There was some decent coho action these past few days from Cowan to Roger Curtis, so that is a good sign.
The winds look great this weekend, as does the weather, so get out there and have some fun with all these chinook and coho. If you want to give DFO a piece of your mind, these are the decision makers and they need to be held accountable. Send them an email, they are starting to pile up for them, and if we all send them emails and letters it does make a difference. Let them know you wont forget the worst chinook management in the last 30 years and will vote accordingly come October.
Jonathan Wilkinson firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Thomson 604-666-0753 email@example.com
Rebecca Reid 604-666-6098 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Grout 604-666-0497 email@example.com
See you in the shop or the water,