Hank Shelley

Column: Steelhead recovery, oh so slow

By Hank Shelley, Observer contributor

For those folk who really love the outdoor experience, are attuned to, or belong to a nature society, it can be frustrating knowing it takes time to mitigate, or repair events like development in a park for a road, or accessing a hiking trail now land designated for development, etc.

But time stops for no man,

and looking at the bigger picture, three happenings that affect fish and wildlife come to mind.

Big-horned sheep, have always been native to the Mt. Paul area off the Yellowhead highway at Kamloops.

Major development on the Kamloops Indian band lands has dramatically pushed the sheep grazing and habitat, so the animals took to crossing the busy highway to a golf driving range for the green grass, with several animals struck, and killed including large rams.

Public outcry demanded action and a fence be erected to stop the carnage. After fish, wildlife and lands branch kept passing on who was going to pay, a prominent construction company boss from Merritt was willing to put up $50,000 and his crew to do the job. Finally a fence was built.

Although Cathy McGregor was environment minister a few years back, for just a short time, I attended a special meeting in Kamloops, regarding the spiny-ray perch invasion, by the so-called “bucket brigade, who had put perch in nine Interior lakes.

Biologists attended, along with seasoned Kamloops Fish and Game members, some who were retired biologists. It was a heated go-round, as a senior biologist, said their piscavore permits had expired for the use of rotenone two seasons previous. Rotenone is derived from a tree in South America used by natives to stun fish in streams, effecting the gill structure. It is used widely to treat lakes with invasive species, in the U.S. MOE staff would have to take a course to handle the stuff.

Meanwhile, for two high water springs, creeks like Sinmax which flows from Forrest Lake (perch infested) close to Barriere, into Adams Lake at Squam Bay could carry perch, which it did. Fry traps, set in the lake caught perch. Skamama Lake held perch, with Hiuihill (Bear Creek) flowing into the Adams River. The Adams flows into Shuswap Lake. A year later, children at Sorrento were possibly catching perch off a dock. Perch are prolific, laying thousands of eggs, and also predatory, using warm-water bays for food.

It is also rearing and feeding habitat for salmon fry and fingerlings.

Perch also spawn in bays. While boating, If persons see a milky or cloudy location, call it into MOE Kamloops.

My suspicion with anglers on the big lake using yellow-orange buck tails successfully, may indicate large trout, are eating or chasing, perch fry. This signals a dramatic change for salmon and trout numbers into future fishing opportunity. Salmon fry are consumed by mergansers, birds, mink, otters, predatory trout, lake trout and course fish.

Thompson-Chilco steelhead; This is a tough one, as little progress has been made, in regard to enhancing stocks. Only 145 fish returned on the Thompson-Chilco 45. Steelhead run with the chum salmon on the lower Fraser River, and are taken by Native gill net as a by catch. Mid canyon, they are taken in the gill net fishery.

Big argument is, will a hatchery help increase numbers? Meetings with all parties including government biologist suggests a hatchery will take away the wild stock, once unique. Some blame warming ocean conditions on poor survival. Others blame seals and sea lions.

My solution is putting pressure on MOE as historically it was a historic Native food fishery, and First Nations, taking the Province to court over infringement of fishing rights! Slowly, we are losing our heritage, wildlife, fish, for development, and personal gain in a province so beautiful. Hopefully smarter minds will prevail down the road!

Just Posted

Highway 33 to re-open Friday

Traffic expected to resume at around 7 p.m.

Government has no solution for dangerous Three Valley Gap stretch

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok met with the Ministry to talk about the dangers around Highway 1

Arrest made in machete attack

Chase man to face charges, victim airlifted to hospital with injured hand

Trans-Canada Highway near Kault Hill continues to frustrate drivers

The site has seen two rock slides and one case of pavement sloughing since 2016

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

The “industry will collapse” : South Okanagan winery reacts to ruling

Okanagan Falls winery concerned for the future of the industry after Supreme Court ruling

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Most Read