Fraser salmon fishing resumes but not for sockeye

Run size boosted to four million, 16 million pinks expected

  • Aug. 29, 2013 6:00 a.m.

Sports anglers may be dancing on the shores come the weekend as salmon fishing reopens for stocks other than sockeye.

An improving run of sockeye salmon returning to the Fraser River has prompted fishery managers to reopen fishing for other salmon species that had been closed to guard against any accidental bycatch of sockeye.

Pacific Salmon Commission officials now estimate around four million sockeye are on track to return due to more fish arriving later than anticipated.

That’s still below a pre-season forecast of 4.7 million but it’s much better than a few weeks ago when salmon watchers feared just two million would return.

Recreational angling for chinook, pink and chum salmon opens Friday morning below Mission and for pink and chum above Mission starting Saturday morning.

First Nations also have the go-ahead to fish for chinook, chum and pink on the lower Fraser for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

A limited commercial fishery for pinks is also expected.

Water temperatures have cooled somewhat from dangerously high levels earlier in the summer but fishery managers still expect 70 per cent of returning sockeye will die on their journey upriver to the spawning grounds.

As a result, all of the fisheries are directed to release any sockeye that are caught.

“We are getting early reports of fish arriving at the spawning grounds in good condition,” said Jeff Grout, DFO regional resource manager.

Sockeye run on a four-year cycle, so the fish now migrating are the offspring of the disastrous 2009 run, when just 1.6 million sockeye returned, prompting the appointment of the Cohen Inquiry.

There had been high hopes that this would be the year that stock begins to rebuild.

While DFO officials say there are now signs that will happen, they say the return and the river conditions are still far from what they had hoped.

The pink run has also been upgraded, from 14 million to an estimated 16 million fish, and that number is expected to climb further.

Fishery officers have been sweeping the river for sockeye poachers.

So far 10 boats and 66 nets have been seized with 29 investigations underway that are expected to lead to charges.

Tom Hlavac, from DFO’s conservation and protection branch, said the majority of suspected poachers caught are First Nations, but added others are non-aboriginal.

– Jeff Nagel

Just Posted

Chilliwack boy drops puck at Canucks fight cancer game

Carter Johnston, 11, fighting osteosarcoma and has a growing, prosthetic leg

Fundraiser supports Davidson family, legacy fund announced

Support continues in honour of fallen Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Sto:lo interpretive centre in Chilliwack opens with celebration

Beautiful new space and info panels on Coqualeetza grounds created with Canada 150 grant

Chilliwack’s crime rate the worst in the region

Overall and property crime rates are highest while per capita funding is the lowest

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey, White Rock

Most Read