Sockeye wrapping up for 2006

4 09 2006

FOC opened the Fraser river to recreational fishermen from The August long weekend until the end of Labour Day weekend this year. Just a bit over 1 month of available sockeye fishing.    The weather was great.  Almost every day was hot and sunny, and for the most part the fish were there when I fished.  The commercial boats had two openings and the natives had various openings all throughout.   You could definitely feel the effects of the commercial nets (they are like a wall across the river).  The native nets had some effects as well, but because they were pretty constant, it just lowered the overall flow of fish ALL the time.  Many fish came with net marks and/or seal bites.  Once the fish hit a net, it often gives a seal the opportunity to go for a quick bite.  These fish some times get free and we (the rec fishermen) get to catch a half eaten fish – yeach, although for the most part, when the commercial nets weren’t having an effect, many bright chrome fish came in.

Fraser sockeye fishing isn’t “traditional” fishing.   These fish are harvested by running a long leader with hook through the fish’s mouth, and hooking it “in the mouth”.  These fish don’t get a chance to actively attack your “presentation”.  They are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time (as far as the fish is concerned).  Your goal as the fisherman is to find the channel in the river in which the fish are swimming, and make sure your hook is there.  The number of people that come out for this fishery make it more of a social event than a fishing event.  Sometimes you get guys that aren’t good at the social aspect, so you get small verbal fights break out over lines crossing etc.  It’s quite humorous at times 🙂  All in all, the people I have fished near have been polite, clean and well mannered.  We’ve had a good time, and enjoyed each other’s company.  You’ve just got to have the right attitude going in!

One thing that concerns me though, is to see this time of “fishing” being applied to rivers that are quite clear, where the fish will attack a well presented bait or wool.  This “harvest” mentality is spilling over into the Coho fishery of the Vedder and Chehalis rivers, as well as their Steelhead fisheries.  If you are taking a friend sockeye fishing, or you are a tackle shop, it really is your moral obligation to explain to your friend what type of fishing this is, and to explain how to do some “real” fishing on the other rivers, with the various associated reasons.

I’ve had a fun summer, and have landed 17 sockeye and 1 spring (c.a. 15lbs), and it really makes you appreciate what we have here in BC. (Thanks, God, for the bountiful fish this year!)  Now it’s time to change my set up, and get ready for float fishing the Vedder for those beautiful chrome bullet Cohos.

Here’s a small photo gallery from the past month on the Fraser.  Enjoy:

Sockeye Fishing in the Fraser River

11 08 2006

I was just looking at last year’s post.  In 2005 they didn’t even open the recreational fishery until September 1.  This year I’ve already had 5 days on the river.

Sure the fish aren’t exactly pounding up the river yet, but it’s nice to get an earlier opening to help reduce the daily fishing pressure on the river.   The coming weeks will likely keep getting better!

Tight Lines!

Grizzly Cam!

20 07 2006

Check out the Grizzly Cam

Operated by the Pratt Museum, it shows grizzlies up at McNeil River falls Alaska.  It runs during Daylight hours.  Very Cool.  Watch the Grizz fishing and hanging out.

Blackwater Lake – May 21-22, 2006

23 05 2006

What a beautiful lake! There is lots of wildlife around. We saw a yearling black bear about .5km from the site, and 3 deer along the road in. Very nice. (made a mental note about the bear and fishing…)

There are only about 4 spaces at the forest service site, but upon our arrival at 1030 on Sunday we were able to scoop one. Since we were sleeping in the truck, there wasn’t exactly a huge need for space, and it was just a good fit for us. We got the new FishHunter out, and inflated its myriad of valves, and had 12 feet of inflated luxury ready to launch.

We walked the boat over to the little floating dock, and proceeded to an area approximately 30 ft off the shoreline where the water went from about 10 ft to 30 feet. Perfect. We dropped anchor, and started casting. Red Docs and Carey specials to start. This was Mrs D’s second time out flycasting, so for about the first hour we dealt with the basics again, and hence probably didn’t have the fly in the water as often as I would have liked. We could see 14-16″ fish jumping about 1′ out of the water. I kid you not. These suckers were like little orcas! Variously there would be sploosh! (Not splash, like a little fish makes, but “SPLOOSH!”) We were having no real success there, so we decided to troll. We dragged the Carey Special and the Doc Spratley (red) around on the VI and III lines in a nice circular pattern around the lake, looking like a weird caravan with the other 3 boats and U tubes on the water.

Nobody was having any luck. We all changed various flies, and sink tip/float cast/troll. Nothing. Around 1400 we decided to anchor, and took advantage of the warm day with light breeze to catch a few z’s (having woken up at 0530 to get here). What a great way to sleep. 30 odd feet off the shore, the sound of loons calling, and a light breeze and warm sun. We woke up after a refreshing 30 minute nap, and kept at it until about 1630. Nada. At least we weren’t the only ones skunked. Misery loves company 🙂

We landed the boat and went back to the truck. We set up the sleeping bags, and hung out a bit away from the mosquitos. Dinner was a nice Lipton pasta, alas without the fresh rainbow trout for a compliment, so we had to live with canned mushrooms. After dinner we went for a walk down the main road to have a look around and to show Mrs D where the Scout Cabin is which is nearby. We walked over to the cabin and to our surprise one of my scouting colleagues and his family were staying there for the weekend for a family outing. Great place to stay! We hung out and had some “grape juice” and generally were happy to get away from the bugs by being inside 🙂 2030 came quickly and we had to get off to sleep so we could get out on the lake in the morning to hit it again. We were tucked in to sleep around 2115 and sleep came quickly after a long day of fresh air and activity.

There had been some ligth rain over night, but everything was pretty dry when the alarm beeped at 0530. It was tough getting up, but we after a short wrestle with the idea of sleeping the day away, we were up and having breakfast of eggs and tuna fish. We headed out to launch bright and early. We were on the lake by 0645. There was a light mist rising from the lake, and a pair of loons was around. The male was out fishing, and the female appeared to be sitting on a nest. She let us get up to around 15 feet away. We got a few good pictures, and then left her to the eggs. We flogged the lake for about 4 hours that morning, but were only rewarded by the views of mountains, osprey, woodpeckers, and jumping fish. Nothing on the line for us.


We packed up, and headed out at 1130. We talked to someone who had come down from Birkenhead lake, and they had seen someone with a 5lb ‘bow out of the lake. Wow! Nice that SOMEBODY caught fish 🙂 It was a bit of a wagon train heading out from the lake, since all the Birkenhead campers were also leaving. The 7km took longer than it should have. Once we started down the winding scenic part of “99” things looked up, and we even got a glimpse of a mother bear and her cub hightailing it across the road. Nature! (Which also reminds me. We saw a red headed woodpecker that must have been about 1kg…the thing was huge, and sounded like a raven when flying. My best observation from the ‘Net appears to be “pileated” )

We stopped at the good ole Pemberton hotel for some down home hospitality (one poor waitress and about 30 odd guests waiting for service). We were happy to get our food, and get moving. The last time I ate there I remembered the burgers to be very good. Not so much anymore. With the deterioration in food quality and the slower service it wasn’t so memorable. In our haste to get moving it appears that Mrs D left her fleece jacket there. Bummer. (We called them later…they are going to send it down! Brownie points for the Pemberton Hotel!)

Thanks to the road improvements, the drive down to Vancouver was fast, and smooth, being able to pass large campers through the 4 lane sections. It will be nice to see the road when it’s completed, despite the fact that it will bring more and more hoardes to the previously untrampled wilderness areas. Gas in Squamish was “Cheap”. $1.14/L at the pump. About $0.03 cheaper than home, so the Tundra happily drank it up. These trips aren’t exactly cheap 😦 From Squamish home it poured on us, and we realised how lucky we were to have had the good weather we did when we were up on the lake.

Funny thing about the fishless trips. They make you want to go right back and try again. I’m looking forward to my next chance to try and capture one of those Blackwater ‘bows.

Hong Kong Day 8 (January 1, 2006)

3 01 2006

Happy New Year!

Today was to be a big travel day, so we headed off around 0900 to get a jump on the day.  We took the bus down to Central,and then the Peak Tram up to the top of Victoria Peak.  This peak tram goes up 500m in about 10 minutes.  At one point, you are sitting at a 45 degree angle to the buildings outside.  Very weird. Up at the peak, there are a variety of shops, and the everpresent McDonalds (I think they are more frequent here, than they are in Vancouver!)  We wandered up to the 3rd level observation area and had a nice view over the back of the peak, and one of the reservoirs that HK uses for their fresh water supply.  We considered having breakfast up there, but after looking at the prices of the restaurants (other than McD’s – which I’m not going to stoop to, while here in Hong Kong) we decided we could wait.  We found the Lions Pavilion lookout, and took various pictures of the Downtown core and environs. The also everpresent haze was annoying.  It reduced the sharpness of some of my pictures, but we did end up with some superb shots.  I also got a great picture of a black kite flying overhead, since overhead wasn’t so far up from here 🙂

Central from Victoria Peak:

We took the doubledecker bus down from the peak, and I tried to shoot a few more pictures as we descended.  Amusement park rides have NOTHING on this.  Twists, turns, lurches!  Yeeehhaaa!!!  I got a great picture of the 10th tallest residential building in the world “HighCliff”  At 77 stories, it’s a LONG way to go down if elevator breaks down!

Having descended safely from the peak, it was time to head out to Cheung Chau (長洲/长洲), Mrs D’s father’s ancestral home.  We walked from the bus stop, past the IFC (88 story business complex – highest in Hong Kong),

and went over to catch the ferry to Cheung Chau.  The Ferry is a catamaran system, and you sit inside, and have small windows for your outside viewing pleasure.  This meant that it was easy to feel queasy from the roll of the ocean.  As the vessel got up to speed,it must have a hydroplane, as things smoothed out somewhat.  The Mrs and I took advantage of the 30-40 minute trip to catch up on missing sleep.

When we got to Cheung Chau,it was lunch time, so we found our way to a little noodle restaurant which was no more than a bunch of tables and stool seats under a series of tarps, and had some fish balls in soup with noodles.  (I swear this city LIVES on fish balls).  With something in our bellies, we proceeded to wander the streets and alleys of Cheung Chau.  There are no cars on the island, so there were many bicycles to make up for it.  You had to be careful to make sure you didn’t wipe some poor cyclist out when you decide to look at the stall on your left instead of right.  The stalls were full of locals selling various touristy goods, as well as fruits and vegetables, and dried fish.  Lots of different types of dried seafood. 

We visited a Buddhist Temple, and photographed some of the interesting art on the outside (they wouldn’t let us shoot inside for some reason).  After the temple, it was across the narrow part of the island over to a sandy beach.  We were close to where Mrs D’s dad grew up, and she explained a lot of the local aspects of the island.  Apparently many Hong Kong people come over to the island and rent a room for the weekend, and enjoy the beach. 

On this “cold” 18C day, the beach was empty.  Not the case in the summer time apparently.  Mrs D’s dad’s family actually has a small shrine here on the island, so we stopped by, snapped some pics, and Mrs D burned some incense.  Very interesting.  Her family obviously has a LONG tradition on this island.

Fishing boats tied up at Cheung Chau:

1430 came along, and it was time to go off to see the giant bronze Buddha on Lantau island.  Onto another ferry (this one much smaller), and chug across the straight to Lantau island.  Once there we took a coach style bus up to the Bronze Buddha at Ngong Ping. ( ) The Po Lin Monastery and Buddha are located at the top of the mountains.  The bus ride up passes by a very large reservoir, and the one lane road often has cows wandering on it, and other busses coming down!  Yowch!  (I’m glad I don’t drive here!)  We got to the base of the stairs to the Buddha by about 1630.  I looked up the stairs – they seemed to go forever.  Were we going to be able to make it up there before the 1730 closing time?  Well… Up we went. and up, and up.  Stopping to take a picture or two along the way, we kept hoping that the next steps would give better views, and lighting than the one previous. 

The Bhudda is 220 tonnes, and is about 26m high!  It took 10 years to build – being unveiled in 1993.

We got to the top, and were dwarfed by the enormity of this bronze statue.  You could really feel the size.  We took a number of interesting photos, and headed back down.  Once we were down, we went over to the monastery, where the Shaolin monks had been giving Kung Fu demonstrations in the morning, and one of them was doing some exquisite painting at the time.  Very detailed.  Excellent work.  The temple area, which is open to the public had some beautiful gold leafed Buddhas and they allowed photography, so we got some memorable pictures of the temple.  When all was said and done, it was almost 1800, and we had to hurry, as we were late for dinner back at Hat Ka Hut, down in Causeway bay. 

We met up with Uncle number 4, Simon, Vicki, Christine, Barry, and Justin for dinner.  I think I prefer the Dim Sum to the regular dinner at this restaurant.  After dinner, it was back to the apartment, and an hour to get reorganized before heading out to Lan Kwai Fong.  Phew!  A great circle tour of the Hong Kong area, What a whirlwind!

Night came, and it was my turn to venture out by myself.  I was armed with my Octopus card, and a cell phone.  Mrs D let me have some HKD so that I could buy some drinks, and a taxi if needed.  I left the appartment, and caught my bus OK.  Then, I sat on the bus, watching everything closely as it passed by.  I didn’t want to miss my stop!  I made it to Central.  I found the MTR and called Baggy.  “I’m at exit J – where are you?”, I said.  He said, “D”.  Urrgh…more walking.  I finally hook up with Baggy, and it’s good to see a familiar face so far from home!  We headed up to Lan Kwai Fong, in search of some dancing and partying.

We got to Lan Kwai Fong, and walked up and down the “bar streets”  The bars appeared to mostly the sit and chat type of bars. Not the “Get your party on!” type of bars.  I had been cautioned before not to look for “Nightclubs” as they are “Gentlemen’s” bars, where one can get a little “company”.  We were ok for that, as there didn’t seem to be any around here.  For that matter it seemed to be mostly tourists, and for the most part everyone was simply sitting around drinking at 2200, not partying.  I suggested that I had seen some “clubs” down around TST east, so we hopped on the MTR and arrived.  Where? I dunno.  I was sure I knew the area.  Not so much now 😦  We wandered a bit this way, and a bit that way.  Then we decided to ask for some help.  Aha!  we were heading the wrong way.  Oops.

We got to the area that I knew, and we started finding “Nightclubs”, and wine bars…No partying.  Bummer.  We approached somebody on the street, and I think he thought we were going to mug him.  He had the “deer in the headlights” look.  Anyway he said “If you want the party action – Lan Kwai Fong!” Urrgh.  We wandered a bit more, and then decided to head BACK to Lan Kwai Fong.  Back on the MTR, and “Poof!” back to Lan Kwai Fong.  We decided to stop at one bar and at least have a drink.  It was midnight, and I was itching for a cold beer.  Pints of Carlsberg please.  They were cold and tall! Excellent. Oh, and the bar was closing in 30 minutes, so this was last call.  Great.  From this bar, we went back to a bar that had a live band playing.  It was 80’s tunes, and the stage area was packed with people pulsing to the rhythm. FINALLY!  at 0030 we FOUND some partying!  We stayed and sang along with the band to all the music, and grooved, and checked out all the good looking girls.  At 0200 we decided to call it a night, as I had no idea what Mrs D had planned for me the next morning.

Baggy ordered me a cab, and I think the cab took the longer way home.  Oh well,  it wasn’t too bad.  I really couldn’t hear much, as my ears had a very loud hissing ring going.  It had been REALLY loud in the club.  When I got home, I realized that I smelt like an ashtray. I miss BC’s non-smoking regulations.  Shower at 0230 in the morning, and pass out – not from drinking, but from the long, long day!

Orcas surpass Polar Bears as most polluted.

12 12 2005

Orcas have surpassed Polar bears in a category which they probably didn’t want the title – Most polluted animal 😦

WWF Article

C’mon world!  Let’s try and get SOMETHING right!

Fish Farming damage exposed on US network prime time televison!

12 10 2005

Pink salmon fry with sea lice attached.  This fish will die.

Did you see Boston Legal on October 11th?  They raised the issue of Pink salmon being killed by sea lice from Atlantic Salmon farms!  This is great..  American exposure to the problems caused by fish farms.  Lot’s of buzz in the Pacific fishing world about this episode.  Even some East Coast blogs are talking about  it!

Lots of information about the sea lice issue can be found.  The fish farms are fighting back, and things are heating up.  There’s no such thing as bad PR?  For the sake of the fish I hope this is NOT the case for the farms.

Even though the Boston Legal episode was a bit light hearted, it is a VERY serious issue, and one that Britain and Norway faced a long time ago, almost destroying their sea-run trout populations where fish farms existed.  This has GOT TO stop, or it’ll be Tofu with salmon flavoring in our future 😦

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