British Columbia Update

British Columbia Update

BC's Thompson Closed...

  • By: Ehor Boyanowsky
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On a late November day, the kind swathed in the warm, shirt-sleeve temperatures of a fading autumn sun, I drove past the mighty Frog, in summer one of the most daunting midstream rock giants to negotiate in a river raft, now with only its feet wet—the first sign of high-desert, winter low water; then Goldpan, the American Bar and, finally, the Graveyard, normally picketed this time of year with the lances of Spey anglers from the world over on their annual pilgrimage to the Thompson River in British Columbia. All eerily empty: Spence’s Bridge a veritable ghost town with no SUVs at the cavernous Log Cabin Pub or the old Steelhead Inn (now incongruously named Garuda). In this sad season there will be many rooms at the inn. For the first time in history and in my 32 years fishing the river, it is closed for the steelhead season; a casualty of the senseless mismanagement that has allowed gill nets in the aboriginal and commercial chum fisheries to devastate the remnant return of magnificent steelhead in a year where now fewer than 850 steelhead are predicted to return.

I am especially grateful that the editors of this magazine let me tell the Thompson story in the last issue of Fly Rod & Reel for as Haig-Brown once said, “rivers need friends” and this great river, my friends, needs a great many, great friends. For the first time ever, I felt deeply, palpably lonely on my own land. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at the river much less walk over and scan its vast, restless skin for signs of rises. I pray that the steelhead showed up, sneaking undetected through the gauntlet of doomsday machines that the Department of Fisheries in its medieval delusion still allows to pillage the Fraser and in doing so, eviscerates the Thompson and its precious migration. For those who care, I think now is the time to write to the Federal Minister of Fisheries, he who is in charge of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and let him know what we think of the debacle over which he is presiding (min@mpo.qc.ca). I feel deflated, but not yet defeated.
Ehor Boyanowsky
West Vancouver, BC

Ehor’s feature “High Desert Holy Water” ran in the January/February 2009 issue.