Vedder River Boxing Day Derby - a bust - no steelhead

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fishing Forum' started by searun, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. searun

    searun Well-Known Member

    The 75th Boxing Day Derby on the Vedder was a bust - only 1 fish weighed in. Is this a sign of bad things to come with increasing predation and poor ocean survival? We witnessed how quickly the once mighty Gold River steelhead evaporated. There were no commercial nets, no FSC fishing, C&R for over a decade...and still they vanished.

    Have our fisheries managers been spinning wheels and avoiding the inconvenient truth that in-river pinniped predation of both out-migrant smolts and returning adults is a major concern?
    IronNoggin likes this.
  2. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member

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  3. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    Removal of sea lions clears way for Willamette wild winter steelhead

    Since 2006 California sea lions have been kegging up at the falls and eating an alarming number of the steelhead, which are federally listed as an endangered species. In 2017 only 822 steelhead made it past the sea lions. The run was calculated to have an 89 percent chance of going extinct.

    The number of steelhead passing the falls rose to 3,202 in spring of 2019, after a number of sea lions were removed.

    “They removed 12 of the habitual offenders last year,” said Rick Swart, a public information officer for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The hope is that by removing those there would be fewer that return early in the season, right about now.”

    In all, 33 California sea lions were euthanized in 2018-19 at Willamette Falls.
  4. spoiler

    spoiler Active Member

    Yeah Searun it's pretty depressing, I have fished the Vedder / Chilliwack system every year since 1967 and have seen an lot of changes over the years. I got my son started on fishing when he was 4 and he got his first Coho limit right around his 5th birthday. He turned 37 in October and has two young boys that love to fish as well and I'm not confident that there will be any fish for them in the future.
    My son and I have fished together in the Boxing Day Derby every year since 1995 and this was the worst result we have ever seen.
    Dave and wishiniwasfishin1 like this.
  5. ChilliSpoons

    ChilliSpoons Well-Known Member

    I vaguely recall a Boxing Day derby in the early 90’s where no fish were taken. It was then rescheduled for mid January.
    CRGreg, Whitebuck and Dogbreath like this.
  6. searun

    searun Well-Known Member

    Dire state of affairs now. The Vedder has one of the most productive habitats and yet no fish. We have seen other highly productive rivers like the Gold now with no steelhead. Looks to me as if we have in-river predation combined with poor offshore ocean conditions - just look at what has happened with all the far ocean migrating fish like chum, sockeye, and stream-type Chinook.
  7. Ian wagner

    Ian wagner Active Member

    It was canceled because river was blown out not from lack of fish
    Whitebuck likes this.
  8. Damien

    Damien Well-Known Member

    Does anyone feel or think the increase in jet boat traffic is contributing in any way?
  9. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    There are virtually no jet boats on the Vedder.
  10. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member


    Jet boats wtf
  11. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    The equation it’s actually very simple on the vedder considering no other sector but the rec sector is involved with this stock.

    Imo the lack of care for these fish by the rec sector is very telling. It seems that most would rather firmly plant their head in the sand then acknowledge that some change is needed.
    CRGreg and Dave like this.
  12. Salmon Seeker

    Salmon Seeker Crew Member

    He was probably referring to the sturgeon boats using the Vedder (technically Sumas) for access to the Fraser.
  13. jim morrow

    jim morrow Member

    The in river predation is an interesting problem.
    I talked briefly with a woman who was brought up on the lower canal area, and still lives here.
    She said to me that the Rotary club put in a Heron nesting/rearing sanctuary in the canal area, and she has personally viewed herons eating smolts galore. She did not see that as a younger person.
    I believe that the Cowichan river has a similar problem as studies have shown almost no chinook smolts making it to the Cowichan bay, but ending in the stomach of predators.
    Whether it is Mergansers, Herons, Otters, Racoons, Cormorants, they all seem to be a problem. Then there are the seals waiting and invading up river.
  14. Sangstercraft

    Sangstercraft Well-Known Member

    A fish caught & released is weak, and easily picked off by a seal. Best to not bother catch and releasing a species that's seriously under threat already, just for a good time.

    The seal/sea lion issue is real. Read the PSF report on predation by seals if you haven't already. The best thing we can do is reduce the seal population. And the only ones who can do this legally would be the First Nations.

    If sports fishermen pooled our money and paid a "head bounty" to a few FN's people... 1,000 people on this site paid $10-$20 each, 1000+ seals harvested (using quiet rounds like CCI 40 grain 1050 fps). That'd make a dent.
    ChilliSpoons, John s and IronNoggin like this.
  15. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    Seals, herons, mergansers, etc are not the major problem regarding steelhead numbers on the Vedder ... the fact of the matter is the early run fish are being used for broodstock (70-80 yearly since production started in the 80's) and all indications are the early run component of this population cannot sustain these removals.
  16. wishiniwasfishin1

    wishiniwasfishin1 Well-Known Member

    Can the fish not be returned to its habitat once it is used for broodstock? Steelie newb here.
  17. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    The fish are air spawned and released after spawning; survival rates are unknown but having seen many of these fish after they have been spawned I suspect it is very, very low. So low it would probably be better to kill them as air spawning invariably leaves behind several hundred eggs.
    wishiniwasfishin1 likes this.
  18. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

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  19. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member

    Most of the people who in denial of the state of our fisheries are either ego-driven, conflict of interest$$$, or just generally do not have the knowledge of our fisheries.
    UkeeDreamin and wildmanyeah like this.
  20. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    Unfortunately I think this is the main reason why prominent local people are completely silent on it.
    CRGreg likes this.

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