The real reason of the Thompson collapse

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by Fishmyster, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Fishmyster

    Fishmyster Active Member

    I have been trying to get this out there but it doesn't seem to be taken seriously. Please watch the video thru the provided you tube link.

    Not that anyone wants to believe it but the Thompson river shows signs of ecological collapse!!! This phenomena of missing stream taxa is consistent with all of the collapsed fish populations coast wide. The video is not a hoax and is intended to inform anyone who doesn't get a chance to observe in the field.
    There seems to be a lot of people hell bent on blaming fish farms, murdering seals, stopping chum gillnetting or starting hatchery enhancement to save the Thompson steelhead. Everyone is believing in all these destructive entities because that is what has been solicited to you all over and over again on the net. All of you please understand that none of this will bring back a population of steelhead to what was once a great fishery unless there are invertebrates in the stream for fish to live, feed and grow off of. Unless you are raising an algae eating strain of steelhead hatchery augmentation will not create any lasting fishery without a healthy food web for them to be reintroduced back into(as proven with the Stamp river).
    If anyone has observations and or videos contrary to my observations please bring them forward.
    I will be making and have more videos to share but want to know what everyone else sees in the streams we all love to fish?? Maybe I am missing something and would be happy if someone could prove me wrong so please feel free to interact on this subject.
    Dogbreath and IronNoggin like this.
  2. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    Excellent Observations Ken!
    Is it alright to share this around?

  3. Fishmyster

    Fishmyster Active Member

    Yes Matt please share. My intentions are to bring awareness to the computer based angling and scientific community.
    SteelyDan likes this.
  4. littlechucky

    littlechucky Active Member

    Very interesting.

    Makes sense to me.

    I'm no expert on the needs of the various species, but haven't the S. Thompson chinooks been doing (relatively) better of late? No sure if they share the same habitat / food supply.

    So maybe (likely) one of many factors.

    What is cause of this and is there a solution?
    bigdogeh likes this.
  5. bigdogeh

    bigdogeh Well-Known Member

    Not an expert, but that time of year I don't think I'd expect to see a whole lot of invertebrate activity. I wouldn't doubt that waters prob only a few degrees above freezing. I've fished the Thompson that time of year and it's not uncommon to see ice forming on your line and eyelets. I would expect the invertebrates to have burrowed into the mud and gravel. I don't think your going to see too many hatches that time of year. When we collected helgramites for fishing whitefish (different river mind you) we would use this method. It might be a good indicator as well. You would get right down into the gravel. Would probably need a finer screen for smaller invertebrates. Not sure on the regulations (if any) of doing this would be now though.

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    I agree with much of what you are saying, but when you discredit that fish farms, chum gillnetting, river netting, and other activities that are having a negative effect, (in your opening statement and title of this thread) and this is the only reason, the argument loses credibility in my mind.
    There is a lot of work to be done on all fronts. If we want to have healthy salmon and trout populations.

    Should be a good discussion.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    terrin likes this.
  6. Fishmyster

    Fishmyster Active Member

    Well bigdogeh, don't let my frustrated tone disrupt your ability to believe your own eyes. You refute my observations with a lot of assumptions which were all wrong. The water was not anything close to freezing. Invertebrates especially of the EPT criteria don't all burrow down into the mud during winter. I was not looking for hatching bugs I was looking for available fish food and what extent of diversity there was in the T. Despite you assumptions fall is the best time of year to examine a stream for invertebrates as the populations are mainly in the aquatic environment. You may want to educate yourself more on the topic.
    If you do wish to discredit my finding please feel free to go to the Thompson river your self and get some video of the healthy ecology you find in the mud or where ever I missed.
    As far as believing in fish farm destruction I believe that ecological collapse in the reproductive and rearing areas of salmon trumps farm issues.
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  7. Capilano

    Capilano Active Member


    Interesting theory - But what is your background on this? Are you a marine biologist or?
  8. UkeeDreamin

    UkeeDreamin Well-Known Member

    I don’t want to infer that such changes may not be part of the picture but, I hope people realize that the majority of juvenile rearing, for both salmon and steelhead occurs in the tributaries not the Thompson mainstem. Also, anyone familiar with the Thompson watershed knows that it likely represents the worst water management practices, both in terms of govt over subscription of withdrawals from all tribs as well as gross over extraction due to the lack of any metering or monitoring of use. Interior coho and “stream-type” chinook need to rear for a year and steelhead parr require 1-3 years of stream rearing. In a system that regularly sees summer stream temperatures in the high 20s and critical rearing habitats like side channels (coho) and riffles (steelhead) literally sucked dry, the carrying capacity of the system is a fraction of its historic productivity.

    It’s also a sad reality that what goes hand in hand with water allocation/consumption abuse is the fact that the vast majority of irrigation intakes and archaic ditches are improperly screened, if screened at all. So the few young salmon and trout that persist temp and low flow issues and go looking for deep pool and side-channel-like irrigation ditch refuges are sucked/flooded out into the fields.

    So long as the province won’t manage water in the system such that environmental flow needs are met, keeps opening rec fisheries when escapement #s can’t sustain any level of mortality, DFO keeps opening chum net fisheries during co-migration timing and folks keep poaching during critical times - benthic community shifts are one of the least worries for anadromous salmonids in the Thompson!


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  9. Fishmyster

    Fishmyster Active Member

    Your assumption that shifts in benthic community are the lease of a fishes worries is purely that assumption. When there are no invertebrates in a stream what do you think salmonids feed on??
  10. Fishmyster

    Fishmyster Active Member

    My theory is based on water quality criteria and the science of monitoring stream taxa. It is not fabricated.
    My background is 30 years of steelhead guiding and hard core coastal exploration looking for pristine fisheries. I have also had many years keeping aquariums going. My knowledge is from personal hobby studying freshwater ecology and years of rolling rocks to admire the specimens underneath. I assure you that there is nobody who cares more for the wellbeing of fish populations.
    There is beautiful science of monitoring stream taxa which would indicate fully the reasons for why salmon population have crashed but it is totally ignored here in the Pacific northwest. If it ever gets applied to our waters the outcome will be very revealing.
    StirItUp likes this.
  11. bigdogeh

    bigdogeh Well-Known Member

    Why does it seem the resident rainbows and bulltrout are doing OK? Being from Kamloops, I have friends that fish the Thompson fairly steady or at least time to time and run websites and blogs on flyfishing that area and that river. I'll have to talk to them to see what they think. Like I said, not saying anything you've said is untrue... and I know the Thompson watershed takes a shitekicking in many ways. But having fished for trout there myself or having watched fishermen in the river quite often I haven't seen a lot of change in amounts or size of fish caught personally. (trout and bulltrout that is)
    And like I mentioned, I'm no expert. and have made some assumptions for sure. That's why I'm following this thread. Alot of interesting info has come forward since it's started. I may just take a trip down there with my hellgremmite screen to see what if anything shows up if I get a chance. I camp down at juniper beach government campground a few times each summer and see alot of activity with invertebrates then. And can ussually see alot of fish activity in the clear waters along the edge, although I haven't fished the river for a few years now. Even when I fished the river 30-35 years ago steady for steelhead it didn't come across to me as a really overly rich river for aquatic insects. (especially compared to the lakes in this region) Although I probably wasn't paying a lot of attention to that regard.
    Ukee Dreaming makes some really good points also.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  12. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member do u explain the genocide of nets during Thompson steelhead peak migration through the Lower Fraser?
    I give you thanks for the work you are doing!!! But how many days do you know what’s actually going on in lower Fraser with FN netting?<When 90% of the run gets taken during the Chum roe fishery before those fish get past the Harrison it’s pretty hard to blame upstream problems.
    I’m sorry as someone who has been around this fishery daily for the last 20 years and knows what is actually going on with the bycatch in the lower Fraser we can keep looking for easy scapegoats, but until the nets leave the Fraser this stock is extinct. Are you on the Thompson and Lower Fraser weekly? Are you working with the FN of both the lower Fraser and region 3 bands? Do you know what is actually being taken? Not trying to be a dick...but how much time are you actually spending on these systems and interacting with the people netting?
    Is the steelhead society looking for a non racial answer for the mighty T?
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
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  13. SpringVelocity

    SpringVelocity Well-Known Member

    Is there any industrial activity or mining upstream of where you were?
  14. Fishmyster

    Fishmyster Active Member

    From what I heard the rainbow fly fishery, (3+year juvenile s/h), had petered out on the Thompson? Hmmm.. conflicting hear say info. My discussions with many old timer anglers was that the Thompson has a rich abundance of Stone, Caddis and Mayflies? There wasn't any there when I recently looked.

    My intentions here are to be informative, interactive and constructive. I am a man who has spent his life in the field and personally witnessed total crash in coastal fish populations. There was total elimination of invertebrates several years before the crash in fish returns. You will not find any documentation or literature on this as it has been totally ignored by managers for years. That doesn't mean it didn't happen. Now after 25 years of pathetic invertebrate populations is the assumed norm!! It's all so @#$%ed up!

    Where a bouts do you live? Can you go down to your local salmon bearing stream and pick some large stones from the fast water. I would be excited to see video of what benthic structure is trying to survive there?
  15. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member

    Nothing but respect Kenny
    bigdogeh likes this.
  16. Fishmyster

    Fishmyster Active Member

    I would have no personal desire in stopping other users of the fisheries regardless of race. I don't consider that win-win. As my experience revealed many other fisheries of equal losses without any of your described issues I don't believe them to be the cause of the collapse there either. There is a better scientific one.
    Your question about steelhead society should be asked to them should it not?
  17. UkeeDreamin

    UkeeDreamin Well-Known Member

    Pretty basic biology fismyster - being able to breathe (water over 20c doesn’t hold enough O2 for salmonids given their metabolic rate at that temp) and having physical habitat areas to live trumps the quality and quantity of prey as far as basic survival goes. Benthic quantity, quality and bioavailability issues related to shifts you refer to would impact carrying capacity but not nearly to the extent water does - there’s a reason it is universally accepted as the foundation of all life.

    You also have to look at the tribs - not the mainstem. Adult Thompson steelhead overwinter in the mainstem pools then spawn in the tribs in spring and their fry/parr fear in those tribs. I haven’t looked in the detail you have but I notice stonefly cases all over the rocks of the Nicola and huge clouds of mayflies every August I’ve been on the coldwater and Nicola, which is every year for the past 20.


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  18. bigdogeh

    bigdogeh Well-Known Member

    I can tell you the stone, caddis and mayflies were there (juniper beach) fairly thick for sure 2 summers ago. And I was suprised at how many trout and I assume white-fish I was seeing in the clear blue hued water about 5 to ten feet out. I was trying to point them out to my daughters and they were having a hard time seeing them as they aren't experienced as much at viewing fish in the faster waters. But they did eventually see them and were impressed also. I can't say this last summer what the insect situation was like since we hardly got out of our 5th wheel when we were at juniper beach as the smoke was so thick. I think we only made one or 2 short trips down to the river walking our dogs, but it wasn't for much time due to the thick smoke. Was crappy camping this summer.
    If I get a chance I may go down to the river and make a vid, but can't guarantee it. I'm not much of a winter guy any more. And it's cold here in kamloops right now hehe. I have 5' snowbanks where I live and it looks like there is more snow on the way. Between work (and overtime) and family and some other hobbies I don't get a lot of spare time.
    I do remember seeing a vid awhile back about a stream on the island that had crayfish. Is that common for some of the streams there? just curious.... Or were they an invasive introduced species also?
  19. Fishmyster

    Fishmyster Active Member

    I am simply trying to expose the lack of biodiversity in our waterways. Maybe you are right with it all being caused from temperatures? Please show me the documentation of convincing water temp data. We can compare it with my documented toxic water quality samples. If it is tempuratures killing fish than what do you think it does to invertebrates? If juvenile s/h don't need inverts for food then what do you think they do eat???
    Your casual blow this all off attitutude is common and why everyone is still grasping for reasons of the salmon population crashes.
    If you have proof there is healthy ecology in the Thompson system than please bring it on. I have video proof there isn't and you have only words for now.
  20. UkeeDreamin

    UkeeDreamin Well-Known Member

    It is not casually blowing it off - the mismanagement of water for fish in the Thompson is an environmental travesty that gets ignored while “sexy” issues like open ocean net pen fish farming get tons of press, public attention and funding. Talk to any fish biologist involved in any aspect of fishery management in the southern interior of B.C. over the past 30 years and ask them what the #1 factor limiting freshwater productivity is and 9/10 will tell you instream flow. Do your homework and look up background info on the attempts to have interior coho SARA listed and the fact that water and water management issues are what killed its listing (admittedly along w/ impacts to DFOs precious sockeye fisheries).

    I am not saying changing stream ecology and benthic communities aren’t potential issues but, at the same time when you investigate a murder and the victim has a bullet hole through the head with a smoking gun beside him you don’t need to go looking for other causes!


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