Bar fishing on the Fraser River on Aug. 10, 2015. (Chilliwack Progress file)

Fishing groups demand test fishery on the Fraser River for chinook

‘We cannot overemphasize the frustrations and growing anger within our communities,’ reads letter

B.C. sportfishing and guiding groups are pushing for a bar-fishing test fishery for chinook salmon on the Lower Fraser River.

Six sportfishing groups fired off a letter last week specifically requesting a meeting with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to discuss the idea.

The groups are hoping DFO will authorize a “test fishery” permitting them to selectively target late-summer chinook, from the mouth of the river to Hope, using “bar fishing” methods.

“We cannot overemphasize the current frustrations and growing anger within our communities,” the letter states.

The source of their frustration is the lack of a single salmon-harvesting opportunity for recreational fishers on the Lower Fraser, due to conservation concerns.

The groups’ letter makes it clear they will continue to support conservation efforts unreservedly “despite the tremendous economic loss and loss of important family-bonding time” on the water that those efforts have wrought in recent years.

The letter proposing a “bar fishing test fishery” was signed by reps of Fraser River Sport Fishing Alliance, B.C. Federation of Drift Fishers, Fraser Valley Salmon Society, Public Fishery Alliance, Fraser Valley Guides Association, Vancouver Sport Fishing Guides Association.

The bar-fishing method they’re advocating for targeting chinook, also called spring salmon, uses different gear than bottom-bouncing or flossing to target sockeye salmon, and predates the Fraser sockeye fishery. Bar fishers fish from shore using a shorter leader of three feet maximum and heavier weights. They use a single, barbless hook from a fixed fishing rod, and a lure known as a spin-n-glow.

“It doesn’t get more selective than that,” said Dean Werk, president of the Fraser Valley Salmon Society, and owner of Great River Fishing Adventures.

They’re asking for a one-fish limit per day for anglers, with cessation after retention.

“This method has demonstrated virtually zero impact on other stocks of concern,” the letter-writers wrote.

Timing is a factor right now. A DFO-authorized opening for Sept. 1 would be justified since earlier chinook stocks of concern will have migrated through the river, and the target species would be more plentiful: late summer chinook.

“Our request for an opening would also coincide with the announced Sept 1 tidal opening, as well as ongoing net fisheries,” the letter continued.

“Granting a restricted public chinook fishery would help to demonstrate that DFO recognizes and values the public fishery and wants to work with the community toward opportunities when conservation concerns abated.”

But Werk said the letter effectively “puts the federal government on notice” that there is significant frustration out there that an opening would address.

“Protecting and fighting for the future generations share of the public-owned resource needs to be on everyone’s radar,” he said.

A request for comment from DFO on the proposal for a test fishery did not yield a response.

READ MORE: Demonstration fishery called for in 2017

READ MORE: Low returns mean few openings


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

DFOfishingFraser RiverFraser Valley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File Photo/Black Press
District of Kent to receieve 5G upgrade

Rogers Communications announced the expansion of their network

A pair of crashes on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack have snarled traffic in both directions.
Pair of crashes snarl traffic between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Traffic delays eastbound, large westbound backup

Final numbers won't be known for weeks, but turnout was down across the board in the Fraser Valley and B.C.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
Election turnout down across Fraser Valley and B.C.

Even after thousands of mail-in ballots counted, turnout is likely to fall below 50% in many ridings

NEWS FILE PHOTO
Voters in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission and Langley may head back to polls in 2021

Election of local politicians in BC vote would trigger by-elections in several Fraser Valley cities

Contributed Photo/Marina Dunn
Community Camera: October, 22, 2020

Submit your photos to news@ahobserver.com

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil forfeiture office alleges $2M Surrey home was used to launder cannabis money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

Most Read