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BCFFF is pleased to announce: Days of Rivers past is available

Days of Rivers past

Days of Rivers past Cover

“On a blustery winter’s day while waiting out the worst of the wind driven rain before the obligatory morning dog walk I decided to do a bit of reorganization of my home office. Buried among memorabilia accumulated over decades I turned up an envelope I’d all but forgotten. Inside was a picture sent to me by my long time professional colleague and friend from Oregon, the other Bob Hooton, following a trip we made to Gold River in the early 1980s. I’d tucked it away together with a photocopied page from the Spring 1987 edition of Trout, the regular publication of Trout Unlimited. At the time, the last page of each issue was titled “Backcasts”. This one had a short piece written by legendary Atlantic salmon angler Lee Wulff. It spoke to a summer’s morning on the Serpentine River in Newfoundland in 1940. “It was fishing to revel in. In a lifetime of fishing none I can remember was more perfect. It was wonderful to have lived then, been there, and so enjoyed something that will never come again.” That quote and the picture of a gleaming, ghost like winter steelhead with nary a single scale blemished gave me pause to reflect on things seen and learned over 53 years of pursuing steelhead, 37 of which were spent in the employ of the agency responsible for their management. It struck me there was some history deserving of record.”

“The rivers of the past haven’t stopped flowing and steelhead haven’t stopped running into them, but this book makes it clear we have reached a dangerously low ebb. Many rivers are down to remnant stocks. In some steelhead stocks have been extirpated. But there still are wild steelhead out there spawning naturally in clean gravel beds—and in that there is great hope. Restoration is possible, but Bob Hooton makes it clear if we want different results, we need to do things differently. Surely the time to start that change is now.”

“Conservation of fishing opportunities obviously begins with protection of the basic habitat that produces the fish. That in itself has proven to be a losing proposition for too many watersheds. Nonetheless there are still a few places where habitat can be allocated for priority use by fish. Surely, in the vastness of this great province, there is a steelhead stream or two where fish and fishing are worth prioritizing ahead of timber extraction, mining, water storage, power production, etc. Habitat issues aside, where the great potential lies for doing something other than preside over the demise of a legacy available nowhere else on the planet is in how the fisheries of tomorrow are managed. Unlimited access, unlimited commercialism and a technological race to the bottom will inevitably destroy the values still salvageable. If we choose to ignore these realities there will be no purpose in debating what constitutes quality fishing on the once famous rivers of British Columbia.”

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