Category Archives: Fishing

Excellent SEHAB Meeting in Langley, BC

Whew, home after a 2-1/2-day SEHAB (Salmonid Enhancement & Habitat Advisory Board) meeting in Langley, BC.

Thanks to all the BC stewardship groups that contributed to this meeting through their volunteer SEHAB regional reps and DFO Community Advisors. And thanks to DFO staff who came to the meeting to share their insights and give suggestions on how the board can be most successful in moving issues forward.

We have put together what we feel is an excellent document of proactive, constructive advice to share with management at DFO Pacific Regional HQ in Vancouver tomorrow.

SEHAB meets three times a year in locations across British Columbia to listen to local stewardship and Salmonid Enhancement Program groups, and share their successes and concerns with senior DFO management.

I have had the privilege of serving on this volunteer board for many years, including several on the executive as secretary and chair of the Communication Committee, and am always impressed by the wealth of knowledge and experience that folks bring to the table.

Let’s Play ‘Spot the Chum’

We’re getting good numbers of spawning salmon back in Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC.  At least good for this little struggling urban waterway.

Here’s a number of shots I took today on spawner patrol. Though I’ve been volunteering as a streamkeeper for some 15 years now, I still find it cool how camouflaged these fish are.

Each one of the following photos has at least one chum in it, and some have several.

chum salmon
The rising submarine chum

chum salmon
The logger chum

chum salmon
The hiding in plain view chum

chum salmon spawning
At least three in this shot

chum salmon
Blending in chum

chum salmon
OK, this dead one was easy to see. 52 cm male.

chum salmon
Hide and seek, heads hidden, tails sticking out chum


Streamkeepers Will be Watching Liberal Platform Implementation

As a long-time streamkeeper volunteer, I look forward to positive change on fisheries and environmental files under the new government. The following is what was in the Liberal platform in regard to “water.” It will take time for change to happen, but the stewardship community will be keeping a close eye on the implementation of these promises.

We will protect our freshwater and oceans.

Canada is uniquely blessed with an abundance of freshwater, and marine and coastal areas that are not only ecologically diverse, but also economically significant: our ocean-based industries contribute nearly $40 billion each year to the Canadian economy.

To protect these valuable natural resources, we will deliver more robust and credible environmental assessments for all projects that could impact our freshwater and oceans.

We will treat our freshwater as a precious resource that deserves protection and careful stewardship. We will work with other orders of government to protect Canada’s freshwater using education, geo-mapping, watershed protection, and investments in the best wastewater treatment technologies.

To protect our freshwater ecosystems, we will renew our commitment to protect the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River Basin, and the Lake Winnipeg Basin. We will also act on the recommendations of the Cohen Commission on restoring sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser River.

To aid in making the best possible decisions, we will restore $1.5 million in annual federal funding for freshwater research – a program that was cut by the Conservatives – and make new investments in Canada’s world-leading IISD Experimental Lakes Area.

Stephen Harper’s failure to meet our international commitments to protect marine and coastal areas puts these areas and our international reputation at risk.

We will make up for Conservative inaction and increase the amount of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected – to five percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020. To help achieve this, we will invest $8 million per year in community consultation and science.

We will also directly invest in ocean science. Stephen Harper cut $40 million from the federal ocean science and monitoring programs. We will restore that funding so that we can protect the health of our fish stocks, monitor contaminants and pollution in our oceans, and support responsible and sustainable aquaculture industries on our coasts.

We will use scientific evidence and the precautionary principle, and take into account climate change, when making decisions affecting fish stocks and ecosystem management.

And we will do a better job of co-managing our oceans, by working with the provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other stakeholders. Together, we will develop plans that make the best use of our marine resources and give coastal communities more say in managing the resources around them.

Putting up Dog Posters Along Byrne Creek

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers create whimsical and funny dog posters to put up along the creek in the fall to remind dog walkers that salmon are coming back to spawn. We have excellent relations with dogs and their owners — they are out there nearly every day and are excellent “eyes on the creek.”

Over the years dog walkers have come to expect the posters, and even start asking about them if they are not up by mid-October.

We have permission from Burnaby Parks to put these posters up, and we use zap-straps to attach them to trees without harming them.

yumi dog posters
Yumi preparing a poster

yumi dog poster

yumi dog poster
Yumi’s latest creation

maho dog poster
Maho’s dog poster

yumi scream dog poster
Gee, wonder where Yumi got the inspiration for this one? : -)

dog poster bridge
Attaching a poster to the footbridge


Tour of the Working Fraser River with Burnaby Board of Trade

It was a lovely afternoon for a tour of the working Fraser River with the Burnaby Board of Trade and Port Metro Vancouver. It was sunny and warm, and in addition to the tugs, barges, cranes, containers, and ships, nature put on a bit of a show, too.

I saw several salmon jumping, and a sturgeon rolled just at the surface of the water. An inquisitive harbour seal also put in a brief appearance, not to mention herons, cormorants, seagulls, and more.

You can check out my Flickr album here.

Fraser River Tour Flickr Album

Byrne Creek Lamprey

There have been some questions about lamprey on the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers mailing list.

Byrne Creek Burnaby LampreyHere’s one that I shot just below the stop log in the sediment pond on July 30 this summer. It was about 15 cm long, give or take a few.

They may seem icky for their snake-like appearance and because many are by nature parasitic, but they are part of the great scheme of things, and have coexisted with salmon, trout and other fish for millennia.

We have observed them spawning in Byrne Creek, in the lower ravine, and in the sediment pond. They are actually quite beautiful to watch when they are mating for they dance and twine together.

Coho Smolt Release on Byrne Creek

Our DFO Community Advisor released about 5,000 coho smolts in Burnaby, BC, south slope creeks this morning. Byrne Creek, on which I volunteer, got a total of about 3,000 of those.

coho smolts
The yearlings are transported in a special tank and then transferred into the creek in buckets

coho smolts
A closeup of the seething mass of life. It appeared that we lost just two or three out of the thousands

coho smolt
DFO is now saying to clip the adipose fins on hatchery coho again, which means streamkeeper volunteers will be able to distinguish hatchery from wild coho when they return to spawn in a few years.

lush growth
The habitat was looking lush following this morning’s rain

lush growth

wet blossoms
Rain beading on blossoms

lonely blossom in the rain
Lonely blossom in the rain

Chest Wader Fashion Shoot

I got these new rubber/PVC chest waders for 50% off at Canadian Tire recently. Thought I’d show them off :-).

chest waders

chest waders
Work it! That’s it! Hold the smile!

I have a set of fancy Browning chest and hip waders (bought at blowout prices at Surplus Herbies)  that have “stocking” feet that require separate boots. I have felt-soled boots for them, but sometimes a simple one-piece rubber outfit is better for muddy in-stream streamkeeping work.

New Fishing Licences a Sign of Spring

I bought a BC Non-tidal Angling Licence and a Fisheries and Oceans Canada Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence today, both with salmon stamps. Such licences expire at the end of March, and renewing them around this time of year has become a rite of spring.

I am by no means an avid fisherman, but I enjoy hiking, camping, nature photography, streamkeeping and other outdoor activities, so I like having the proper licences if the opportunity arises to wet a line. I have a couple of inexpensive rods and reels, and a small tackle box with an assortment of enough lures and accessories to be suited to most fishing in western Canada.

I have a cousin who loves fishing, and I’m always learning when I go out with him.

I have store-bought canned fish in the cupboard and frozen fish in the freezer, so I figure if I’m eating fish I might as well kill some myself. It’s a reminder that cans and plastic wrap do not insulate us from nature, though nowadays lots of folks have no idea where their food comes from.

Sockeye Fishing on Fraser River

Caught two sockeye on the Fraser River today – the recreational daily limit. Large one just over 7-1/2 pounds, smaller one about a pound less. Cut the bigger one into two “roasts” and a couple of fillets, and the smaller one into cross-cut, bone-on-center, inch-thick steakettes for salting and freezing for Japanese-style broiled breakfast pieces. Thank you sockeye for your sustenance.

And thanks to my cousin who invited me out in his boat,  rigged me up properly, and taught me how to bottom bounce for sockeye!

paul holding sockeye salmon