‘There’s a lot more fish coming,’ fishers flock to fraser for sockeye madness

It’s early afternoon on Aug. 9, just two days after the Fraser River opened for recreational fishing. At the edge of the Fraser, just west of the Agassiz Rosedale bridge, rubber-booted fishers dot the sandy Rosedale shoreline, waiting patiently for a pull at their lines.

It’s nothing like the madness depicted on Chilliwack’s Island 22, but most of the fishers out on Tuesday afternoon are avoiding the impending weekend crowds.

At least that’s what Alex Sergeeff is doing. The Port Coquitlam fisher is waiting for friends to arrive with a boat, but said he isn’t sure if the fishing will be much better than it was two days ago – when they came out and had zero catches.

“Fishermen, they love to just be out on the water,” he said. “[If] a person comes out here to catch fish they might as well stop at the little stand there and buy some fish – it’s cheaper.”

“But it’s only going to get better. The Stuart run went by already, now we’re waiting for the other rivers to open up.”

Still, Sergeeff doesn’t think the Fraser will see anything like the last super sockeye run in 2014.

“We’ll probably never see another run like that again. That was just too many fish.”

Fraser River Lodge owner Frank Staiger is happy the river is open and agrees the catches will pick up once commercial netting stops near the mouth of the river.

“Usually when the nets are out, you catch what’s between the net and yourself,” he said. “There’s a lot more fish coming, we’re not there yet.”

Anglers didn’t know the Fraser was opening until July 27, but they might have had a hunch since the last run occurred four year prior.

The large run estimate for 2018 is between seven and 13 million sockeye salmon heading back to their natal streams in the Fraser. But that’s dependent on ocean temperature and in-river conditions that can impact pre-spawn mortality.

Fishers are allowed to catch two sockeye and four chinook salmon a day until Sept. 3, 2018.

“It means everyone is going to have the opportunity to catch fish,” said Dean Werk, president of the Fraser Valley Salmon Society, in an interview with Black Press reporter Jennifer Feinburg.

“A short food fishery is great for the economy, and people get some fish to eat,” he added. “It allows recreating on the river and spending time with family and friends.”

Peaceful waters

Federal DFO officials stagger fishery openings on the Fraser using the priority protocol of conservation first, followed by First Nations fisheries, and then commercial and recreational fishing.

The Fraser River Peacemakers group is encouraging “good river etiquette and sportsmanship” as the sockeye run sees fishers of all backgrounds and experience levels vying for their chance at the water.

“Fraser River Peacemakers members will be visiting launch sites to speak with aboriginal and non-aboriginal fishers in the coming weeks, to encourage them to exercise courtesy to one another while fishing is underway,” Ernie Crey, Peacemakers co-chair and chief of Cheam First Nation told Black Press.

Anglers are encouraged to pull their gear while drift nets go by and Stó:lo fishers are asked to warn anglers before making a sweep of the water.

Werk told Black Press that anglers need to ‘get in and get out’ when it comes to snagging the daily limit of two sockeye. “It is easier to manage the fishery if folks don’t stay all day in one spot. A quicker turnover on the river of anglers makes for a safer and enjoyable time on the river for all user groups.”

READ: Sockeye seekers asked to get in and get out after fishing their limits

With files from Jennifer Feinburg.

Just Posted

LETTER: Bouquets to my neighbours for helping me heal

Christene Fitzgerald thanks her Agassiz neighbours for helping her out after a fall

Harrison Festival fundraiser dance to have ’70s theme and features Chilliwack band

Chilliwack band The Vacationers to perform at May 31 Harrison Festival Society’s fundraising concert

Seabird Island opens 50th annual festival

The weekend festival will see First Nations teams compete in soccer, three-pitch and canoe races

LETTER: Agassiz’s amazing new pump station

Edward Monro talks about Hammersley Pump, but also the need for driver support on Mount Woodside

LETTER: E-Comm makes connections for ambulance

E-Comm’s executive director explains why ambulances aren’t in their jurisidiction

VIDEO: Powwow shares culture at Seabird Island Festival

The 50th anniversary of the festival saw its first powwow

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

Most Read