Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today along the Bow River - May 2012

Mostly cloudy, high +20 °C, Wind WSW 13 km/h. Bow River flow steady at 122 cms, visibility 2-3 ft. Bow River at Lake Louise and Banff, stalled at 16 cms and 60 cms
Photo, Copyright © Bow River Shuttles 2012

Harper announces hunting-fishing advisory panel

Conservatives are "natural conservationists," 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated Wednesday.
Photograph by: The Canadian Press, National Post

Harper announces hunting-fishing advisory panel

By Jason Fekete
Vancouver Sun
Postmedia News
May 30, 2012

OTTAWA — Facing accusations that his government is weakening fish and habitat protection, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Wednesday the establishment of a hunting and angling advisory panel that will report to the environment minister and help craft government policy.

Speaking in Ottawa at the first National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress, Harper defended his government's policies as being focused both on promoting economic growth and protecting the environment.

The event was organized in part by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, a group that has lobbied the government, including Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield, multiple times over the past year on issues such as the amendments to the Fisheries Act, invasive species and game farms.

Harper used his speech to announce the creation of the government's Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel, a promise included in the Conservatives' federal election platform.

The panel will be composed of provincial and territorial representatives from hunting and angling associations. It will report directly to the federal environment minister and help ensure the government's decisions "are based on sound science and balanced advice," he said.

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today along the Bow River - May 2012

We were fortunate to capture this 'catch & release' sequence this afternoon. 
Partly cloudy, high + 16 °C, Wind west 8 km/h. River flow steady at 121 cms, visibility 2-3 ft, even below the Highwood. 
All photos: Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved.

Four former ministers protest ‘taking the guts out’ of Fisheries Act

'They are totally watering down and emasculating 
the Fisheries Act,' says Tom Siddon, who was 
fisheries minister for Conservative former prime 
minister Brian Mulroney from 1985 to 1990.
Darryl Dyck For The Globe and Mail

Four former ministers protest ‘taking the guts out’ of Fisheries Act

Mark Hume
Vancouver — Globe and Mail
Monday, May. 28, 2012

In a rare show of solidarity across party lines, four former federal fisheries ministers – two Conservatives and two Liberals – are speaking out against proposed legislative changes they say will lead to irreparable damage to fish habitat.

“They are totally watering down and emasculating the Fisheries Act,” said Tom Siddon, who was fisheries minister for Conservative former prime minister Brian Mulroney from 1985 to 1990. “They are really taking the guts out of the Fisheries Act and it’s in devious little ways if you read all the fine print ... they are making a Swiss cheese out of [it].”

Mr. Siddon, now retired in British Columbia, will appear before a parliamentary subcommittee on Wednesday to voice the concerns he, John Fraser, Herb Dhaliwal and David Anderson have about Bill C-38. The omnibus legislation was brought in by the Finance Minister to deal with amendments to 60 different acts, and it includes changes to key provisions of the Fisheries Act, a powerful piece of legislation that dates back to Confederation.

Under the amendments, the Fisheries Act will shift its focus to protect only fish that support commercial, recreational or aboriginal fisheries. At the same time, some federal responsibilities will be offloaded to the provinces.

Mr. Siddon said the bill was strengthened in 1986 to broadly protect fish habitat and he is dismayed the government now wants to weaken it.

“The real scary part of this is that the one minister in Canada who has the constitutional duty to protect the fishery, which includes habitat, is the Fisheries Minister and these amendments essentially parcel out and water down his fiduciary responsibility, to the point that … he can delegate his responsibility to private-sector interests and individuals,” he said.

“I know from many experiences, whether it’s the issues of the gravel pit operators … placer miners …or pulp mills, that what they could get away with, they got away with, prior to 1985-86."

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Today along the Bow River - May 2012

Some of our friends along the shuttle trail. :-) We stopped to visit today.    
Photo: Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit "Alabama Pines"

Give this a listen. We like it.

Jason performs live at the Ironwood Stage & Grill on Wednesday May 30.

Country Pleasures Fly Shop - Customer Appreciation Day June 02

CP is celebrating 30 years in business!

Scientists cry foul over plan to change Fisheries Act

University of Alberta freshwater 
researcher David Schindler founded 
the Experimental Lake Area, 
which the government is 
preparing to shutter. 

Scientists cry foul over plan to change Fisheries Act

Peter O'Neil and Larry Pynn,
Calgary Herald; Postmedia News
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The federal government is sabotaging its own legislated requirement to protect endangered freshwater fish by weakening the Fisheries Act, Canadian scientists say in a letter to be sent to the Harper government today.

The revisions would mean the majority of freshwater fish and up to 80 per cent of the 71 freshwater species at risk of extinction would lose protection, according to the letter from the 1,000-strong Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution (CSEE) provided exclusively to the Vancouver Sun.

The letter is signed by Dalhousie University professor Jeffrey Hutchings, a current member and former chairman from 2006-2010 of the federal government's main independent advisory body on species at risk, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

The ecology society also is denouncing the closing of a world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area near Kenora, Ont., a decision described in the latest issue of the British magazine Nature as the equivalent of the U.S. shuttering the Los Alamos nuclear physics site.

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Today along the Bow River - May 2012

 Should have been a good day for fishing. Mostly cloudy or overcast. Only +1.0 °C at 6:00 am. But up to +8.0 °C by noon. Each family member is this boat was wearing a tuque. 
Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Thousands join national Black Out Speak Out campaign

Thousands join national Black Out Speak Out campaign

Groups agree that silence not an option as attacks on nature and democracy continue

Released: May 24, 2012

TORONTO — Every day, more Canadians and organizations stand with environmental groups against the federal government’s attacks on nature and democracy.

In the two weeks since Black Out Speak Out was launched by Canada’s leading environmental groups, the campaign has seen more than 13,000 people and over 100 groups sign up to speak out on June 4.

“The insult to charities is an insult to half the Canadian population — both those who donate their time and those who donate their money, in an attempt to help others," said iconic Canadian author, Margaret Atwood. "Taxpayers' money should not be wasted in smear campaigns and in multi-auditing organizations they don’t like in a blatant attempt to pester them into oblivion. Whatever your political affiliations, if you believe in free and open democracy, now is the time to speak out.”

Margaret Atwood is one of hundreds of individuals, companies and organizations that plan to darken their websites on June 4 in a symbolic protest of the recent attacks on charities and federal environmental laws that were outlined in the federal budget bill, C-38.

“I don’t agree with much of what these groups say, but I firmly believe in their right to freely express their views," said Gerry Nicholls, former vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition. "For the government to restrict free expression is wrong; democracy is better served when more voices are heard.”

Voices are being heard, too. A diverse list of people and organizations have signed on, including Oxfam Canada, Kairos, Modrobes Inc., Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Voices-Voix Coalition, Mining Watch Canada, the United Steelworkers, Project Democracy, the Broadbent Institute, Lead Now, and Ontario Environmental Network. Go here for a full list of partners.

“This budget bill is just another step in a wider crack-down on dissenting voices,” said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers National Director for Canada. “This government wants to pass laws—including one aimed at trade unions—that directly target voices it doesn’t like.”

“We see all around the world what happens when public debate is stifled and dissenting voices are intimidated,” said Oxfam Canada executive director Robert Fox. “In Canada when some charities are targeted, all feel threatened and everyone loses out.”

“Few have been, and still are, censored more than the lesbian and gay community. And charities that serve us often deal with controversial social issues. We’re Canada’s largest and leading gay and lesbian media group and we’re proud to be involved. Charities have the right to say things some people don’t like,” said Gareth Kirkby, director of engagement for Pink Triangle Press (Xtra).

“Canadians deserve a government committed to a clean future and a safe climate for our children and grandchildren, not a government that is at the beck and call of big oil,” said Hannah McKinnon of the Climate Action Network. “We are speaking out because it is time for all Canadians to demand a government that works for people and not polluters.”

Launched on May 7, Black Out Speak Out (or Silence, on parle!, in French) invites organizations, businesses and citizens from across Canada to darken their websites on June 4, and speak out against changes introduced in the federal government’s budget act (C-38) by darkening their websites and taking other actions on June 4.

There's a full list of partners on the campaign web site.

Black Out Speak Out is a joint project of CAPE, CPAWS, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace, Nature Canada, Pembina Institute, Sierra Club Canada, West Coast Environmental Law, and WWF Canada.

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Fish on!  Net ready!   Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Today along the Bow River - May 2012

Another very nice day: +14 °C & scattered clouds. Water conditions still very good today - totally fishable. Flow rate steady at around 125 cms.  This party was floating Mac to Cars.   
 Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Protection of fish habitat threatened: Westerly News

This article first appeared in the Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News

Protection of fish habitat threatened

Critics warn

By Andrew Bailey
Westerly News
May 24, 2012

Federal NDP fisheries critic Robert Chisolm recently spoke in opposition to changes proposed to the Fisheries Act, stipulated in the government's budget as Bill C-38.

"The most damaging part of this whole bill is the attack being waged on fishing communities across this country and on the ecosystem, frankly, because fish habitat is about the ecosystem," he said during a May 8 debate in the House of Commons.

"Habitat is the water and land necessary for the survival of all species, including fish. Habitat destruction is the most common reason for species decline, and the Fisheries Act has been essential in protecting fish habitats and the fisheries they support."

The government is tinkering with section 35 of the Fisheries Act, which speaks to the protection of fish habitat, and making it more specific to be just about the protection of fish, according to Jessica Hutchinson of Coastal Rainforest Services in Ucluelet.

Section 35 of the Act prohibits harmful alteration, disruption, or destruction, (HADD) of fish habitats, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' website.

The changes to the act, which will come into force by order of the cabinet, will completely remove the HADD provisions from the act, according to a May 22 report published by Canada's Ecojustice organization.

"The changes mean that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will no longer be notified of certain projects or activities that will harm fish habitat- Theoretically, projects such as pipelines, mines, or agricultural activities could be exempted from this part of the act," the Ecojustice report states.

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Today along the Bow River - May 2012

Better weather today. +12.0 °C with scattered showers. 
Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

TUC Reacts to Bill C-38

TUC Reacts to Bill C-38

Trout Unlimited Canada CEO Jeff Surtees today issued the following statement regarding federal Bill C-38.

“Trout Unlimited Canada cannot support legislative changes that lower the protection of fish and fish habitat. Our analysis of the parts of federal budget implementation bill (Bill-C-38) that deal with the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act and the Environmental Assessment Act lead us to conclude that even though there are a few steps forward (higher penalties and new provisions to deal with invasive species) taken as a whole the legislation dramatically lowers the protection of fish habitat and fish populations across Canada.

The legislation is complex and the effect of some of the new provisions may not be felt for some time. What the ultimate results are depends to a great extent on what is put into regulations under each of the Acts. Those regulations are not yet written. The ultimate results also depend on how and when and if the new discretionary provisions to exclude specific water bodies and projects from protection are used.

It is TUC’s intention to continue to work with the government in a positive way, to express the concerns of our members and advisors, to try to influence content of the new regulations and to offer our expertise to help in any way we can.

I urge all Trout Unlimited Canada members and supporters to learn about the legislation and to express their views to their elected representatives.”

For an external analysis of some of the effects of the proposed changes, please see the following websites:

For a more in depth analysis of the existing legislation and the proposed changes, please see:

TUC does not endorse the content of any external site and offers links to those sites as a courtesy to our members in order that they may form their own conclusions.

LINK: TUC Newsroom

Bow River Fishing Report - from May 19 2012

Photo, courtesy Andrew G.

Saturday May 19 2012

Policeman’s Flats to McKinnon Flats

Our most recent trip was really good. Thanks again to you and your team for being able to fit us into your schedule on short notice.

As for the fishing report, we were fishing streamers all day, trying to move some bigger fish.

We managed 3 (1 Brown, 2 Rainbows) to the boat with several more good hits along the way.

The water was pretty cool, and the visibility got worse as the day went on. Once we got past the Highwood visibility was very poor.

There was a nice little March Brown hatch, but there was no fish feeding on the surface, likely due to the low visibility.

Having taken the raft out we were able to explore some back channels that one could not normally access by drift boat which was fun to see.

All in all it was a good day on the water, with very few boats fishing south of the city.


CharityVillage Live: Black Out Speak Out - Friday, May 25 at 1 pm ET

CharityVillage Live: Black Out Speak Out

Written by: Lee Rose
May 22 2012

Dear Reader,

A couple of weeks ago a coalition of environmental groups — including Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the David Suzuki Foundation — launched the Black Out, Speak Out campaign to protest what they call the federal government's "war" against the environment. For the next few weeks they'll be taking out newspaper ads in a bid to draw attention to proposed changes to environmental law contained in the government's latest budget implementation bill. According to the group, the changes will "weaken environmental rules and silence the voices of those who seek to defend them." The campaign will culminate in a far-reaching blackout of their websites on June 4, a symbolic objection to the government's alleged efforts to silence them.

Is your organization participating? Do you think this type of collective action is effective? What do you think will happen on June 4? Join us for our inaugural edition of CharityVillage Live on Friday, May 25 at 1 pm ET as we explore this issue.

Joining us for the conversation are Zoe Caron, Climate Policy and Advocacy Specialst at WWF Canada, Bruce Cox, Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada, and Eric Herbert-Daly, the National Executive Director of CPAWS.

How to participate:

All you need to do is navigate to this blog post on Friday, May 25 at 1 pm ET. The conversation will take place in the event window below. You'll be able to watch the conversation in real time and also join in to provide your own insights and opinions.

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today along the Bow River - May 2012

A rainy day Thursday. Noon: 3.0 °C, light rain.  
Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Bow River Fishing Report - from May 18 2012

Ron E.'s drift boat.  Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Friday May 18 2012

Glenmore Trail to 22X/Fish Creek Park

Thanks for the great service and lovely photo.

This was my first time fishing this stretch of the Bow without a guide. A lovely cool afternoon made the day great. We did get a couple of fish on but they managed to spit the hook before getting their photo taken.

The only disappointment was the large amount of white floating debris that looked like paper waste. We had to spend a lot of time cleaning our nymph rigs.

Other than that it is a blessing to have such a great place to be right in our city.


Harper and the Environment are Like Oil and Water

Harper and the Environment are Like Oil and Water

by Maude Barlow
for Huffington Post
May 18 2012

The Harper government is waging war on Canada's freshwater.

We didn't start with a strong record. Our national water laws are out-dated, we don't properly enforce the ones we have and we chronically underfund source water and watershed protection. And consecutive governments refuse to consider the effect on freshwater when creating economic, industrial, energy or trade policies.

Yet the Harper government appears intent on systematically dismantling the few protections that have been put in place at the federal level to protect our freshwater heritage.

In its 2011 budget, the Harper government announced a reduction of over $222 million from the budget of Environment Canada and the elimination of over 1,200 jobs in the department. Programs to protect water, such as the Action Plan on Clean Water, which funds water remediation in Lakes Winnipeg and Simcoe among others, were particularly hard hit. Others targeted for deep cuts include the Chemicals Management Plan and the Contaminated Sites Action Plan, both of which are crucial to source water protection.

These cuts followed the cancellation of a major B.C. coastal conservation project after lobbying by the energy industry and the weakening of key elements of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, which eliminated mandatory environmental assessments for major developments such as bridges and dams on Canadian rivers.

But the big guns have come out in the current Budget Implementation Bill. Parks Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will lose over $100 million in funding and many hundreds of employees between them, which will have devastating impacts on water conservation and watershed protection. Fully cut are the urban wastewater research program and integrated monitoring of water and air quality.

The Fisheries Act, which made it a criminal offence to pollute or destroy fish and fish habitat in Canada and the only federal water protection law with teeth, is being gutted. Already, the Harper government allows the mining industry to apply to have healthy fish-bearing bodies of water to be renamed "tailings impoundment areas" and thus no longer subject to protection of the Act.

But the new rules remove legal protection of fish habitat, allowing harm to fish and habitat based on the "on-going productivity" of commercial fisheries. In essence, the new rules legalize activity that destroys wetlands, lakes and rivers unless these habitats can be proven to have a defined economic value.

Jungle Fish

Three Fishermen, 400 Pounds of Fight: New “Jungle Fish” Film Ties Monster Fish to the Fate of a Culture

For decades, the native peoples of Guyana have struggled for economic independence. Poverty and illiteracy have forced many of the adults into a life of lawlessness and poaching while their children often flee the country to seek work in Brazil's dangerous mines. 

But hope might be prowling in Guyana's rivers in the form of the largest freshwater fish in the world, the arapaima. Follow three expert fishermen as they undertake on a two-week voyage deep into the heart of Guyana's rainforest. 

Their mission: to demonstrate that the arapaima can be caught with a fly rod. If they succeed, it will prove that the country's fledgling sports fishing industry is viable. 

And that will mean a brighter future for the native peoples, the rainforest they call home -- and the endangered arapaima itself.

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Today along the Bow River - May 2012

Mr. went fly fishing. Mrs. went cycling. Everybody's happy.  
Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Environmental standards should build, not erode

The oilsands industry is a major point of contention for many environmentalists.
Photograph by: Bruce Edwards , Edmonton Journal

Environmental standards should build, not erode

Sustainability must be at the core of an improved process

"As a starting point we need to reverse and halt any further cuts to environmental protections. Specifically, habitat protection for fish must be reinstated in the Fisheries Act and meaningful public participation put back into the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act."

By Gwen Barlee,
Special to the Vancouver Sun
May 21, 2012

Polls repeatedly show Canadians value honesty, accountability and kindness – attributes that are completely missing these days from the federal government’s approach to the environment.

A case in point is the government’s sweeping budget bill. Tabled on April 26th Bill C-38 dedicates over a third of its 420 pages to rolling back environmental legislation that generations of Canadians have fought to establish. Written with no public consultation, the bill wages war on: laws that protect our air and water, regulations to safeguard fish habitat, public participation in environmental assessments, and government oversight of large industrial projects.

Ottawa has cloaked these draconian changes with soothing language. Decimating environmental standards is portrayed as providing “certainty” and “efficiency” for industry while gutting conservation laws is characterized as “streamlining” and removing “red-tape.” This language is misleading and fundamentally dishonest to the vast majority of Canadians who value clean air and fresh water.

These changes are also harmful to industry. Low environmental standards, reduced public participation and increased political interference provide neither certainty nor public support for business. In fact a dramatically weakened regulatory environment is a recipe for litigation, civil disobedience and certain environmental damage.

Accompanying the government’s scorched earth approach to environmental laws is rhetoric that tears a page from the Republican playbook of our neighbours to the south. Environmental organizations have been branded as “radical,” accused of laundering money and have had their charitable status targeted. Silencing critics through the powers of the state rather than engaging in an informed debate is the new norm.

This is not the Canada in which I was raised; nor the Canada I envision for the future.

Victoria Day Pike

Bow River Fishing Report - from May 15 2012

Pat Q's fly fishing party at boat launch.  Photo: Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Tuesday May 15 2012

22X/Fish Creek Park to Policeman’s Flats.

We had a great trip down the river on Tuesday night. The weather was perfect and the fish were very cooperative too!

The only problem was the fishermen.

We had at least 10 solid hook-ups with 7 of those being nice big fish. We saw most of our fish but didn't manage to get even one in the boat. About half were rainbows, we had them on long enough to watch them jump and get along side the boat (but not in the boat) . The other half were fish we had on but they stayed deep, no chance for a visual.

We had all of our fish on SJ Worms, it was definitely the hot fly of our trip.

There were a few rising fish but nothing consistent. Water clarity was good, but not as good as it has been.

We had a relatively new flyfisherman with us and he had the most hook-ups by far. He commented how great the fishing was even though none of us landed a fish. 

Just goes to show that you can't always measure success based on how many fish are landed. A great reminder for me !


Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo: Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Today along the Bow River - May 2012

Photo: Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Tories shut down ‘groundbreaking’ freshwater research station

An aerial photograph shows one of the many bodies of water used for research in Northewestern Ontario's government-run Experimental Lakes Area

Tories shut down ‘groundbreaking’ freshwater research station

Anne McIlroy
Globe and Mail Update
Thursday, May 17, 2012

“I think we have a government that considers science an inconvenience.” - Dr. David Schindler, University of Alberta

The federal government is closing a research station scientists have used for decades to study how pollutants like acid rain and phosphates affect lakes.

The Experimental Lakes Area is in Northwestern Ontario, about 250 kilometres east of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Since 1968, government and university scientists have used its 58 small lakes to test hypotheses about freshwater ecosystems. One experiment has been running for 40 years.

Canaries in the Creek - May 24

Click directly on poster for larger image

Bow River Fishing Report - from May 11 2012

Today along the Bow River. Photo: Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Friday May 11 2012

McKinnon Flats to Carseland

The fishing was not so good for us.

We fished big streamers almost all day hoping for a big fish. The two rainbows that we did catch were when we stopped to fish. Both fish were on stonefly nymphs.

I sure love your service. I can't wait to go again, living in Edmonton makes it a little harder to get out but I love the Bow and hope to fish it more successful next time. Thanks again for your service. Cheers.