Monday, 22 June 2020

Travel and Borders 2020

The international border will remain closed for tourism for the remainder of this summer .  You need
 to make plans , so bet on that .

  I have contacted my American guests, and that is very disappointing to everyone .  So, I now have lots of room on my calendar for people from BC and Alberta and other relatively safe parts of Canada.  

 There have been mixed messages in the news , such as the news report a few days ago saying that Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the US and Canada have agreed that the border will remain closed to non-essential travel until July 21 .  That is a mechanism whereby the month periods are renewed near the end of the term . That might seem to give hope that American tourists will be able to cross after that .  But that is not helpful information .

 The BC government Restart Plan states clearly that international tourism will not start until Phase 4 . 
" Entering Phase 4 is conditional on at least one of three factors being met in B.C.
  • Wide vaccination
  • Community immunity
  • Broad successful treatments " 

 With low numbers of infections in BC and borders restricted we are feeling very fortunate here .  Travel within all of BC is opening up .

  *  Update : BC announced June 24 , entering Phase 3,  non- essential respectful travel within BC is approved . 
The government now expects many hotels, motels, resorts, lodges, RV parks, hostels and cabins to resume operations , with safety protocols. * 

  Travel from Alberta is expected to be approved soon after that, according to comments by Premier Horgan .

 This week, B.C. Premier John Horgan says he'd be happy to see Albertans come to his province.
"Albertans are deeply integrated into the communities on the border, whether it be in the Columbia Valley or the Okanagan and here on Vancouver Island as well," he said.
Horgan said once the modelling numbers come out next week, it should show inter-provincial travel is safe . 

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Saturday, 20 June 2020

Chinook fishing regulations announced

 The fishing regulations for chinook salmon for this season were announced yesterday afternoon.  Finally, you can know how this fits your plans .

 2020 Chinook fishing regulations for our area ( Area 13 , centered on Campbell River )
  •   April 1 to July 14: No retention of chinook
  • July 15 to Aug 31: 1 chinook per day, max 80 cm
  • Sept 1 to Dec 31: 2 chinook per day
(That gives clarity to most readers here, but for some of us there is yet one important part that is still not determined regarding the Tyee rowing area and the adjacent shoreline on the south side of Campbell River town.  There is a general statement from DFO indicating that some terminal areas could get particular consideration . The rational for this fits the existing local Special Management Zone perfectly , as the fish caught here are only local .  We hope that the maximum size will not apply here and that this will be confirmed soon. )  Update June 30 ,  yea ! no max limit for this fishery . 

 There is so much I could say about how excessively restrictive the new regs are. To try to put a positive spin on the regulations, I’ll say that you can be very sure that we will be fishing responsibly, and avoiding the stocks of concern. 
 Fishing has been, is, and will be, very good .  Fishing is crazy good right now . 

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Monday, 8 June 2020

Fantastic June Fishing for Science

 Chris and son Patrick had a short drive up-island to take part in some citizen science fishing .  We are taking tissue samples from which biologists will be able to extract DNA and identify the river of origin of these fish .  How cool is that !  We are also recording the length of these fish and area and day caught .  I have been doing this sampling for years as part of the Avid Anglers program . 

 In the early season this year, and last year, there is no retention of chinooks in order to protect some weak runs that migrate early and spend the summer swimming upstream to the upper reaches of the Fraser . The announcement has been delayed but we expect the regs to be as last year , with retention for chinooks starting July 15 .  It feels odd to have such extreme measures for a line of fish of which extremely few pass through these waters, and in the midst of extreme abundance.  We'll be helping the resource managers to understand which fish are really here , and when. 

 And boy , oh boy , are there fish HERE !   Chinook fishing this morning was as busy as it can get . Patrick had the first fish on before his Dad's line got in the water , and that happened repeatedly.  This is a great sign for the season to come . 

 BC Health has guidelines during this Covid virus time including required wearing masks, and additional procedures like wiping down surfaces with sanitizer .  It isn't too much inconvenience really , but the fellows like to pull down their masks for photos ( telephoto lens ), or if they are in the back corner of the boat at the greatest separation from the helm .  BC has been good about respecting the virus safety measures, there are very few cases here, and the borders are closed or highly restricted, so running across the virus seems unlikely .  But we play safe anyways . 

  The procedure is to net the fish , leave him lie a bit in the net in the ocean to settle down while we get organized , and then bring him to the cooler full of new seawater so we keep his head and gills wet as much as possible , take a sample with a paper-hole punch from the trailing edge of his tail , a quick measure of length and return him to the sea in minimal time , with perhaps a quick pause for a photo along the way .

Did I mention that the fishing was terrific ? !   These are aggressive feeders in their growing years , exciting and rambunctious fighters .  We sampled 16 chinooks of all sizes, the largest at 80 cm length . ( 31.5 inches ) .  

 I also have to mention that the hot lure was the Loony Spoon ,which is just now out of the development stage , designed by Cameron Neufeld  ( ).    Cameron and I have been in touch while he was getting his ideas into a working product .  So it was extra special when it turned out the fish agree that this is really something attractive . I ran a series of lures on the opposite rod trying to find something that worked as well , but the Loony Spoon usually got bit first . It is an unusual lure , shaped a bit like an Apex , but with a better tail wag , and crippled herring action .  It doesn't really matter what I think , the fish like it . 

 If you are interested in this kind of fishing experience, while contributing to the knowledge base for salmon , get in touch .   I'll give a price break for these special circumstances . 

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