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Weekly Meeting Topics


kemo99
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Post your ideas for sessions for the weekly topics here. They don't have to be related to fly tying or fly patterns. Let's branch out a bit!

 

I'll start with a suggestion for Bear Awareness. How about bringing in a bear expert that can talk about what do you when you encounter a bear, how effective are the various deterrants, can you teach a bear to fly fish?

 

Post your other ideas here!

 

ken

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I wanted to check my facts before I made any inflamatory statements at the meeting. I was doing some reading last night, and it seems there are some significant misconceptions about beavers. For instance, their primary predators are coyotes (no shortage of them), wolves and cougars, with secondary predation by bears, foxes, and linx. They do not proliferate until they eat themselves to death, they are extremely territorial, and utilize a form of crop rotation that would put most farmers to shame. Most, if not all negative impacts you may have seen are short-term only. In the long run they usually improve fish populations in terms of both size and numbers, with a manifold increase in overall biodiversity. Also, the vegetation that they "decimate", grows back more prolifically, much like a fruit tree produces more blooms if it's pruned. They sequester water, raise the water table, and create wetlands. Lastly, the idea that Natives were keeping the population in check for 10,000 years, and now with no trapping the population is exploding, is simply not true. Beaver were a minor food and medicinal item for North American Indians. When the white people came here, they were happy to discover 100-200 million beavers living on this continent, since they had virtually wiped-out the European beaver. By the 1840's, the NA beaver was nearly extinct. Now, over 150 years worth of conservation efforts later, we have somewhere around 12 million beavers.

 

I strongly feel that we should invite experts in the field to educate us on this subject. If you like, we could invite someone from the beaver trapping program to express their views at the same time.

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I don't think it is a number of beavers issue as much as it is the engineering feats that they can achieve, right here in good ole Alberta...

 

The longest beaver dam found with Google Earth to date (October 2 2007) is located in Northern Alberta. The dam has a length of about 850 meters (2790 ft). It has at least existed at this spot for over 25 years as it can be observed on the 1990 LandSat 7 Pseudo Color Imagery Provided by NASA World Wind. However 1975 aerial photo's show that this dam did not exist in 1975. The actual location of the world longest beaver dam (that is until someone find a longer one) is just south of Lake Claire, and about 190 km to the NNE of Fort McMurray, just inside Wood Buffalo National Park.

 

A future option is that we can vote to leave the beavers alone and then that nice little trout creek will be suitable for Stillwater where the fish will be bigger if that is what we want to support. I agree that it would be a good topic to have some knowledgable folks share the pros and cons on this issue, including those who lose their land due to the resulting flooding of the dam(s).

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I agree with Rick's idea of having some more informed debate on stream ecology, including beavers. This will have to include river keeping for fishing purposes in the traditional way and whether there are alternatives to that. We should not forget that the very name TU implies very strongly the promotion of trout at the expense of other things, pollution, water diversion, bank erosion, destruction of riparian vegetation, and occasionally beavers. Thus, the actions taken in promoting trout are most of the time going to "improve/restore" the ecosystem and sometimes might have negative impacts. For example, I do not think carefully trimmed grass is particularly "natural" on a trout stream and may be detrimental to populations of aquatic insects, increase stream temperature, etc. Also, removing pike to "protect" the trout is a questionable tactic from an "environmental perspective." In sum, my point is that if we fish and we want to engage in river keeping, then we must be prepared to live with both sides of our actions.

Finally, on land "lost to flooding" by beavers, all I can say is that farming on wetlands is not a good idea to begin with and something cannot be justified simply by the fact that it has been done before. I will refer here to the excellent presentation by Mike Sullivan a few weeks ago. Using economics/efficiency to justify rape and pillage of natural resources will get us in trouble. Personally, I favour farm subsidies and better land stewardship. Will that mean higher taxes and more government? Yes, but the farmers can make a living, the ecosystems are taken care of, and the fishing ought to come back to where it was not that long ago. For a private/no government solution, we may try to partner with Land Trust/Nature Conservancy on taking some land out of use/development. That would mean some serious fund-raising but may be effective.

Florin

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The implications of the name Trout Unlimited have been considered a detriment to the organization by some. In the mIssion statement and goals you will not find the word "trout". Fish are mentioned, of course, but foremost is the ecosystem. From the TUC website-

 

 

Trout Unlimited Canada Mission Statement

Our Mission:

 

To conserve, protect and restore Canada’s freshwater ecosystems and their coldwater resources for current and future generations.

 

Our Goals:

To conserve and protect Canada’s freshwater fish and their ecosystems and restore their coldwater resources to a healthy and productive state;

To develop and apply effective, science-based and measurable coldwater conservation solutions in the field;

To inform the public about coldwater conservation issues and educate communities about their watersheds;

To build and sustain a healthy organization.

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Rick,

If I take that mission statement at face value, we should not be doing things like Muir L. That is not an ecosystem that supports trout naturally. Introducing trout alters the aquatic invertebrate balance in the lake. Cutting the vegetation around the lake shore is detrimental not only to the cut shrubs, but to other living things as well. This is prime habitat for insects and birds. Aeration likely contributes to higher evaporation rates of water from the lake, not to mention the coal-fired electricity used to power the aerators and the coal that is mined at the surface, etc. Bottom line, there is much about a project like Muir that is more "fisherman's playground" than "restore freshwater ecosystems". I do not have a problem with either, but the two come sometimes into conflict and we have to recognize that. Caddisfly larvae (frogs, worms, ad many plants) are not cute the way beavers (or whales, pandas, etc) are, but are part of the ecosystem just as much. To me the problems arise when we try to justify "fisherman's playground" only with "restore freshwater ecosystems". We also fish for fun and we also like to eat some of what we catch, if only occasionally. On a really good day in terms of catch and release I feel a little guilty about catching so many fish just for fun and nothing goes in the pan. Luckily (or sadly?) these days are few and far between.

Florin

 

PS On the bear front. I have a book titled Bear Attacks by an Alberta expert who did extensive research on what the available evidence on human-bear interaction shows. I think the name is Herrero (?). Someone like that would make for a great presentation night. Another idea might be "Things to do on the way back home" or "Things to do when the fish don't bite". Presentations by club members with pictures. Bird pictures, underwater pictures, wildlife, plants, just nice photos, things to pack in addition to fly boxes (I think on a club trip to the Little Smoky one club member had a chainsaw handy somewhere in a trailer...)

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Hi,

 

As far as I can figure out, there is some beaver control on <>8 km of trout stream of the thousands of kilometers in Alberta. Hardly a big dint in the rodent population.

If you want to figure out who really controls beaver numbers, take a look @ both Calgary and Edmonton. Beavers are removed - a lot.

Like most things in life, there are good things and bad things. Most times beavers are helpful to fish populations - sometimes they are bad. On one creek, the numbers are controlled somewhat.

And the greatest controls on beaver are drought and Tularemia.

See: http://www.ncbi.nlm....lth/PMH0001859/ for a discussion of why you feel bad after going fishing.

 

 

 

Don

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Stephen Herrero at the University of Calgary is the expert on bears. His book Bear Attacks Their Causes and Avoidance is THE book on interactions with bears.

http://en.wikipedia....Stephen_Herrero

 

TUC Edmonton chapter invited him several years in a row to come up to speak to us, but there was always some reason why he couldn't come. Perhaps now that he is retired he has time?

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Regarding Muir Lake we went into the project with the full knowledge that it was outside our mandate to restore freshwater ecosystems, and that we could be accused of creating a lake for anglers. We had discussions with TUC National and with the Muir Lake partners about this, and we decided to proceed based on the considerations that it was nearby (the nearest ecosystems with natural trout populations is a 2 hour plus drive from here), and had an educational component.

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I have to agree with Don on this one. I've been on rivers where beavers have not been a problem and I've been on Rivers were beavers have destoryed the river ecosystem. When this happens you have to at time take some drastic action.

 

As for the Bear guy I have a name given to me by Ken that I am contracting to see if he will come out to one of our meetings. So we are working on it.

 

Tight Lines Always

Dennis S :fishing::fish_jump:

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In my mind, the conservation conflict created by a fishery like Muir is resolved by the fishing pressure it offsets from the natural populations. I'm not sure how effective or measurable this theory is, but it gives me peace of mind.

 

In my opinion, it would be best for us as a conservation organization to base our decisions, policies, and actions on science, not on old beliefs and anecdotes. It's true that, depending on circumstances, beavers do sometimes harm a fishery, long term. According to science, this occurs about 1/4 of the time. Is the Raven one of those circumstances? I'd sure feel better if I knew someone had taken the trouble to find out, or even explored other options, such as a "flow device".

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Junior,

 

The first flow device I organized and with others installed, was on Alford Creek. Took nearly 2 days to put it into place. Then the constant maintenance every few days to make sure that sticks hadn't jammed into the inlet tubes. Was a very expensive way to control the level above the dam. What it didn't do was to lower the level enough that the spawning gravels "cleaned" and the trout used them. Further, with the dam in place, none of the trout wanting to use the upstream spawning area could.

The other flow device used was by the County of Clearwater in an attempt to keep beavers from flooding Secondary #752 @ the Cow Creek Crossing. The County had about the same luck with the device as we did and after about 3 years of constant effort finally gave up..

Still, I'd like to try them. If you guys wish to install and maintain several of them, I'd really like to see them in action.

 

regards,

 

Don

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  • 1 month later...

I could be mistaken, but it seems to me we've had a presentation on Bear Safety every year I've been a member. Maybe we should do a night on a more realistic threat; Accident Avoidance and Defensive Driving. We all spend many hours driving to and from our fishing spots. What do you think? I ain't afeared of sharks, and I ain't afeared of bears, but I am afeared of car accidents. Weird, eh?

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Surprised Kristi or Aaron hasn't jumped all over this one I'm sure they would like to see more bare men presenting. :laugh::eek::beating: Oh sorry thats Bear man.

 

Rick it's been Several year if not more. It seems most we have tried to get were busy or just cancelled at the last minute.

 

Tight Lines Always

Denns S :fishing::fish_jump:

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Oh Dennis; haha! I have been holding back.. :whootwhoo: for a while now. Thought that maybe I should warm the executive up first with my sense of humor before unleashing it unto the forum and our club! :D

Yeas I am looking forward to the Bear aware topic coming up. And trying my hardest to not be a monkey :monkey: about it!

 

See y'all later.

 

~Kristi

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