B.C. Boat and Sportsmen's Show
Bass Fishing Thread

What are your opinions on bass fishing? do you think if people fish these minnow eating bastards should they have no limit on the amount of bass that are kept? and are you aware that Berry's Bait asks that people to not keep spawning bass and limit their catch to 2......what do you think about that?

I think Bass fishing is great where it is. If it's not where it should be, I will have no problem killing my limit (which should be unlimited on bass that are introduced illegally into productive Salmonid Watersheds).
If Bass are in places that they are supposed to be and/or they don't impact the resident or original/native inabitants of the particular body of water then I think the Berry's Bait report is fine. We've all seen the shows, they sure look easy to catch that's for sure, and if you don't want to hurt the stock, I'd imagine limiting yourself would be the best way to protect these fish as we all know that some limits may be a bit too unacountable for the long term health of a particular stock.

Scott, what would illegally introduced bass into a productive salmonid watershed do to that productive salmonid watershed?

the bass would eat all the young salmon! they would eliminate them all!
the bass would eliminate all the young salmon

Spratt, I implyed what I think will happen to productive Salmonid watersheds where Bass are introduced in my original post when I stated that Bass limits should be unlimited in those very watersheds.

Scott, maybe I missed it then, could you please tell me what impact bass will have on a productive salmonid watershed. Do you have PROOF that bass affect salmon, positively, negatively, or at all if put into the same watershed?

I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to fiqure that one out. Proof is not really needed, how about some common scense?

Vic, common sense is not adequate to prove anything ecologically (not that I disagree with your point). The only experiment that works is one that may end in disaster: do it and see what happens. Maybe it works out and maybe it does not. Here is the Ontario experiment. Bass were introduced and they coexist nicely with Lake Trout and Speckle Trout which inhabit the lower zones of warmer Ontario waters, for example in Three Mile Lake of Algonquin park. The disasterous introduction was the Rainbow Trout into lake Ontario which destroyed the native Speckle Trout by out-competing them. Unfortunately people do not care because Rainbows make for a better meat-fishery. Notwithstanding the fact that Bass will not likely wipe out native species, I agree that it is stupid to tinker with an ecological outcome that we cannot predict.

Incidentally, bass are great flyfishing fish though and fight lb for lb like a rainbow. You don't even have to have a southern drawl or be named "Bubba" to catch them.

Bass will eat salmon fry, no questions asked. If a Bass population got large in a salmonid system, it would almost certaintly wipe out any salmon run in that system.

Bass would eat some salmon fry. Salmon and trout would eat some bass fry. Bass would eat some other fauna, and vice-versa. Could a bass population get large in a salmonid system on the West Coast and if so how would this affect the system?

PROOF?!?! What, would you like to let them swim around salmon fry first to find out? Bass are minnow eaters. Hence why rapalas work so well?

Unfortunately, largemouth bass are in the Fraser River system (Alouette River, Salmon River, NicomenSlough). Pretty much anyplace that you may find wild carp, you will find bass nowadays.

Here's some more information on the devastation that bass can wreak when introduced to a system-
Miller,R.R., Williams, J.D and Williams, J.E. 1989. Extinctions of North American fishes during the past century. Fisheries. 14: 22-28

Mittelbach, G.G.; Turner, A.M. and Hall, D.J. 1995. Perturbation and resilience: a long-term, whole-lake study of predator extinction and reintroduction. Ecology. 76: 2347-2360

Someone in this thread said that bass are pound for pound equal to rainbow trout and are great fly rod fish. Exactly what are they talking about? Smallmouths get close but I've caught largemouths in BC and they would be hard pressed to equal a squawfish. Are bass flyrod fish? Well it seems everything is these days. Maybe we should be promoting our carp fisheries before we let these ex pat Ontarians dunderheads put more of local fisheries at risk through the illegal movement and stocking of bass!

I was talking about smallies. Yes, they are incredible fighters in warm-water conditions. Yes they are great fly-fishing fish: they take nymphs, dries, streamers, poppers - you name it. They are a great fish. They even taste good. I am not advocating stocking them however. And, I assure you that I am not a dunderhead, although I am from Ontario originally. I bet the farm you have never lived there because there are a lot of great things about both provinces and those who had lived in both places would know that. Incidentally, there is some great trout fishing withing 30 mins of Toronto. I wish I could say the same of Vancouver having just driven 3 hours to return from fishing. If you all get a chance to go to Ontario in May or September hit the Ganaraska river in Port Hope!!

Spending a few summers as a kid in Ontario (Kingston, Belleville, and T.O.) I caught bass, pike, garpike, crappy, sunfish, pickeral, and mudcats. I would kill to get back there with a flyrod if I had the chance but I have an even better idea. We could stock the Fraser with large fish eating pike and musky to get rid of the salmon cause they would do it a heck of a lot faster then the bass could. Once the salmon are gone we can then stock the bass. Apperently there have been bass in the Fraser and some tribs for many years but obviously aren't thriving with all these pesky salmonids swimming around.

When white man first came here he disregarded salmon as a garbage food not good enough for him. I wonder what fishing would be like today if there wasn't a market for salmon?

I think it's more about keeping things au naturelle. Thing is, why go to all the trouble??? We've screwed enough up, why more???? Things that weren't supposed to have an adverse affect: Dozens of dams, introducing misces shrimp, pike in some lakes, walleye in some, perch, smallmouth etc.,, Vic's right, why bother???

Tommy - I've been to Ontario. Nice place and I wouldn't mind living there. However I prefer to leave their fishing there and ours here.

No one should illegally move bass from one body of water to another period!

BTW how far do you have to travel from downtown van to reach good fishing? Put a boat in at False Creek and run into English Bay or drive over to the Cap, Ambleside or Seymour and there is fishing to equal anything near T.O.

That was the point I was about to make Ralph. I would be quite surprised if the centre of the universe had fishing that would ever come close to what we are able to take advantage of right off our front door. Hmmmm maybe I shouldn't be bragging about that, the expats will want to rid us of those pesky garbage fish and bring in more butt ugly, poor fighting big mouthed 'carp'. Either that or they will begin lobbying Ottawa to have the strait of Georgia moved 3000 miles East

Do you know there are sportfishing travel agencies in Britain and Europe that offer packages for Carp fishermen to experience the great and untapped carp resources of places like southern Manitoba and Sask.? (it's relatively cheap to boot!)

Flyfishing for Carp is slowly but surely gaining a significant following on both continents!

I once read an fishing report on a US board from a angler who'd spent an exciting week in Cambell River flyfishing for shark! (Dogfish). This was the 1st year of the coast wide coho closure. This guy couldn't figure out what everyone was so upset about. Fishing was still fantastic. He was catching 50 to 100 fish a day each 2 to 3 feet long or bigger.

Just wait till all those European "Coarse" fishermen discover pike minnows and suckers. Who is going to be the first to set up a guide business oriented to this emerging market?

A coarse fishing match in england on the banks of the canal is every bit as much a gong show as scale bar or the vedder when its busy! Only difference is no-one cares if you are flossing dace, chub, barbel or bream! Imagine 200 guys with 10m poles and 3/4lb tippets on the vedder during chum arrival!

I guess the message here is to keep an open mind, all styles of fishing are awesome, don't assume you would not like it if you have never tried it before. Coarse fishing is quite fun, and it's a huge thing in Europe, parts of US, Australia and Asia. There is a world coarse fishing championship every year. You're always catching fish, a great way to kill some time. Salmon and trout fishing requires a bit more thinking, and the power of any salmonid species is just awesome. Ocean fishing for tuna, kingfish and trevally in Australia is also excellent, very exciting. Haven't tried bass or pike fishing, but I'm sure I am going to soon.

Secondly, introduction of new species to an ecosystem is bad, that's a simple, logic conclusion. Historic evidence has proven that.

What about other species of fish that are already residents of salmonid watersheds? Rainbow trout will eat salmon fry........Sqwa fish (spelling not correct) are very aggressive fish that eat salmon fry! rainbow fry! etc... Lake trout will eat fry and fingerlings! Are there bounties on some of these species in river and lake systems across B.C.? If there are not maybe some bounties should be enacted????? How about money for coarse fish caught?????? What about the coarse fish that are in lakes already that impact populations of trout and salmon?? What can we do?Is there a balance already in area lakes and streams or are we just blind to the fact that thousands of trout and salmon fry etc....are eaten by the coarse fish in a body of water?

Native coarse fish should be left alone as they are part of the eco-system, Non-native or illegally introduced fish of any sort should be harvested at will, where regulations allow. IMHO.

Unfortunately it's the other way around. Pike Minnow, various species of sucker, chub and sculpin are killed indiscriminately by most anglers of all stripes. They are then left to rot on the bank. It's a crime and our fishing regulations do nothing about it. Suckers almost certainly do no harm. Sculpin are eaten by trout and Dolly more frequently than the other way around and even pike minnow are largely in a state of balance with 'sport' fish.

Many of these fish can be fun to catch. this spring I took some good sized suckers while nymph fishing for cutts and they pull hard. remember when 'dollies' were trash fish that did harm by eating trout? Now they are sought after, prized and protected. Fifty years from now anglers may feel the same about suckers and pike minnow.

Bass (& crappie) have existed here for almost a century,and while I certainly do not agree with illegal stockings of anything, they generally utilize waters too warm or suitable for trout...St.Mary lake supports a super quality smallmouth fishery, a very good Cutthroat and landlocked steelhead fishery(rainbows of course)a migratory fishery for Cohos and apparently now sockeyes? and a strong sculpin population...nobody is wiping out each other...each species thrives in its ideal water temperature season.

We, being the astute conservationists that we were, used to allow a bounty on Dolly Varden, and because nobody could tell them apart (or probably cared to)the now endangered Bull Trout too...strickly because of their salmon fry eating diet. What do Cutthroats in coastal drainages eat all day in the spring? Why do we stock them in every lake overrun by stickebacks? Do we bounty them too? Many a cutt has crossed my palm puking out countless chum and in some cases, Coho fry over the years. Squawfis...er...Pike minnows, almost entirely gorge themselves on migratory salmonids and steelhead in season...the Bonneville Power authority, still to this day, offers a bounty for them in the Columbia river down south.

Pike minnows thrive in warmer conditions that already limit the production of salmonids...rivers left low and therefore warm by hydro-electric production and irrigation, such as the (former) fish factory the Nechako, has exploding populations of Pike minnows eating all the Chinook and Sockeye fry they can...soak some bait at the mouth of the Nicola on the Thompson in the summer and see how many giant rubberlips you catch waiting for precious steelhead and salmon fry to enter the river from the Nicola watershed...a watershed that now hits 70+ degrees some years due to water drawdown and irrigation over salmon mentalities...God, if anglers put as much effort into protecting our watersheds and habitat as they do debating the merits and downside of Bass in infilled gravel pits in Abbotsford?!?

I should also remind everyone that Brook trout and Brown trout are both introduced too. Yet the ministry regularly stocks them in habitats were they thrive over other natural species. Both are serious minnow eaters, particularly as they get bigger. Funny how that is not a problematic practice.

If we can utilize non-trout productive lakes for other sportfish species, then we should examine the best way to do so...particularly with the increased demand for waters within the sportfishing community.If the lower mainland has decent existing fisheries we would not have a problem with idiots stocking them illegally, they would be too busy fishing. As stated before, You can go fish these fish all day without some toad stepping in beside you or crowding you out as soon as you find success. Try that on most of our other local fisheries.

Finally, the regulations call for catch and release through to mid June on almost all existing Bass fisheries, the Abbotsford lakes fall into a grey area of non-existant regs and therefore have no set bag limit...I never like to encourage a free-for-all kill fishery on any fish regardless of abundance...plus they taste like crap when compared to most other gamefish around here.

How about this example:
"while I certainly do not agree with illegal stockings of anything, they generally utilize waters too warm or suitable for trout...St.Mary lake supports a super quality smallmouth fishery, a very good Cutthroat and landlocked steelhead fishery(rainbows of course)a migratory fishery for Cohos and apparently now sockeyes?"

if the two species don't generally co-exist how can St Mary's lake offer a quality fishery for both?

The issue is illegal introduction not the existing fisheries. Would you change your tune if some bass bozzo introduced largemouths and perch to White and Roche Lakes and we lost the existing trout fisheries in those lakes?

You know what I was wondering ? I was wondering what it must be like to be a member of SSBC who stands up during a meeting to express an opinion. If you don't have one of those new flame-retardant floater suits by Mustang, I mean.

By the way, I looked up the current bounty on northern squawminnows (or is that pikefish) and it looks to me like a guy could make a decent living on the Columbia ... $4 (US) each for the first hundred and a cool $50 if it's tagged ? Man, you gotta love America - a place where anglers are anglers, and pikeminnows are nervous.

Many of these Bass have been where they are for a long time and no ill effect has come of it...

Look to the south...many systems contain numerous species incuding salmonids and Bass. It is however, an indiginous fish which poses the most serious threat to native species. Over 70% of the salmonid predation is from pikeminnows.
The diving birds,trout,bass,sturgeon and other predators make up the balance. The bass level is said to be less than 5%...
However, the bass predation on juvinille pikeminnows is also close to 70%...the pikeminnow population thrives due to the hydro-electric influence on the Columbia drainage among others...almost a symbiotic relationship exists.

A bass preference for warmer water will also preclude them from entering into the cold water nursery enviroments of juvenille salmon and steelhead...hence the exist in the lower Umpqua, yet have not entered the colder, upper stretches of steelhead water the Umpqua is famous for.

Last year I participated in the production of a Ministry of enviroment video of the perils of non-indigeous species and flora...(shiners, perch & milfoil) I realize this may seem contadictory to my defence of bass but it also shows my commitment to keeping illegal transplanting at bay.

This is why I point out that if we continue to plant trout that are non-native, particularly to provide a specific fishery, why not utilize habitat suitable to bass and remove the desire to illegally transplant them to where they don't belong...

Most of your examples deal with smallmouths. Smallmouths are not as serious a fish predator as Largemouths. Most of the illegal transport and stocking of bass that is going on are of largemouths. There are cases in this Province where illegal stock of bass has negatively impacted an existing trout fishery.

There also has to be concern about non-sport species such as salish suckers. These are already endangered and may be at great risk by the introduction of largemouth into Fishtrap creek.

Fusheries managers do crazy things in the states if you ask me. Introducing Walleye to the lower columbia to control sqawfish and suckers is really asking for trouble when most of the upper Columbia Salmon runs are at 1 or 2% of their historical level.

Basically my opinion is we do not need an eastern US style fishery in this Province. Thanks I'd rather have sea run browns and Atlantic salmon if we are going to pick off the shelf. I'm not for eliminating existing bass fisheries but no more thank you and whoever gets caught illegally introducing bass deserves what they get

While I agree with many of your points about the states and salish suckers (and nooksack dace too) I would point out that largemouth will not survive the colder temperatures...

My pointing to the states is only an example of several species co-existing...i would certainly agree some of the managment is questionable to say the least...

I was going to put down walleyes, but since i've never fished them i have to stay out of it...They must really taste good because the fishing for them, from what I've seen, would bore the crap out of me. I do know they have a very high salmon predation rate as well as on squa's...

While I don't condone illegal transplanting I have to laugh at this.What about planting rainbows and cutties in watersheds where they didn't historically exist? The native ecosystems were wiped out.In Britain escapee rainbows are blamed for the devastation of the wild brown and seatrout fisheries but truth be told rivers in Britain where rainbows actually spawn are few and far between.I agree with Scott that if you are going to manage your available fish habitat why not plant those species that can occupy a niche presently vacant.I am a big fan of grayling and would love to see either arctic or european grayling in those areas where they would not be a problem.

For those for and against bass in BC, please feel free to check out our new and improved website. It's @: www.wcba.ca

There, you'll find out about our club, the West Coast Bass Anglers and much more. We've posted quotes from BC Fisheries' own study on the effects of bass on salmonid populations and I think the anti-bassers would be shocked to see that BC Fisheries found out one thing, but are relaying an entirely different message to the public lately.

Please practise catch and release.

Chad T. Keogh
West Coast Bass Anglers

Chad - the information quoted on your site is 12 years old. That's 12 years out of date. Brian Chan and others with BC Fisheries Branch have voiced concern about illegal introduction of bass into lakes with well established and successful trout fisheries.

Trophy-size" smallmouth can be found at Elk/Beaver and Spider Lakes on the Island. While this is true, I suggest you mention Langford Lake (near Victoria), Quennell Lake (near Naniamo), and St. Mary's Lake (Salt Spring Island) which have produced some of the largest smallies in BC of late. Also, in your "bass lakes in BC" section, you are missing many lakes including Fuller Lake (Chemainus) where I have caught several 3+ lb smallies, Langford Lake (near Victoria) where my largest is 4.5 lb, Durrance Lake (Saanichton) where my largest is 17 inches (not weighed), Matheson Lake (only caught small ones here), and Long Lake (Naniamo). There are likely others which I have forgotten, but these are key ones that should be on your site. Cheers!

As a bass fisherman I am not after having the Fraser full of bass or some other crazy thing like that, but what is equally as crazy is watching the fisheries truck back up to Mill lake and dump in all the little dazed trout that will be harvested in the following week or two. Good to see our tax dollars hard at work feeding the populace of Abbotsford!

I must echo Scott's idea. Waters that are more suited for bass/crappie/bullheads should be managed as such. The cost of doing so is a fraction of that of managing trout habitat because you don't have to do anything! Just let the lilly pads grow and watch the fish population grow on it's own. Put up a few signs describing the warm water fish, set reasonable limits and let the people figure out the rest. Think of all the cost savings.

And speaking about economics, the local tackle shops should be promoting bass like a bad habit! Having fished for bass for years you can trust me when I tell you it is much more gear intensive than many salmon/trout pursuits. When I used to fish tournaments I often had 5 -7 rods with me and a tackle box that looked like a suit case.

Anyway as I see it we all can get along together . If you want to stand shoulder to shoulder on the vedder for salmon go ahead. If you want to chase some bass in the valley's growing fishery then go ahead. The future is looking brighter for us bass fishermen anyway. As ideal salmon/trout habitat erodes and fishery budget's shrink, species that take care of themselves will be in high demand.

Hey...every fish has it's place in the ecosystem. It sucks that people have illegally transplanted fish here and there, and it seems to be becoming everywhere, but let's not kill fish, just because we would prefer a different fish. Many of the "trout" lakes were stocked with trout back in the 60's. Should people be fishing and killing them to bring them back to their original state? No. Unless it's a fish that walks on land and breathes air, it should be allowed to live and flourish, if it has established a poplution.

My $0.02

Bass All Categories
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