Town of Fraser approves guided fishing on Fraser River |

Town of Fraser approves guided fishing on Fraser River

Katie Looby
Sky-Hi Daily News

The Fraser Board of Trustees voted 6-1 Wednesday night to allow commercial fly-fishing on the Fraser River.

Trustee Joyce Burford voted against it.

“I don’t want to experiment this year,” she said. “I don’t want Fraser to go down that road and allow this to happen because it’s going to be very hard to take back without investigating further with some regulations and policies … I thought it was going to be one fly shop and now it’s two.”

Mo Henry’s Trout Shop and Grand County Fishing Company were awarded licenses to guide anglers on the Fraser River. The board reduced the user days in half from 36 to 18, and required a list of stipulations.

“I’m not in it to get rich,” said Mat Holliday, a guide for Mo Henry’s. “I’m in it because I love it, and I love the river and I love the fish. I love the people. I love what I do.”

He said the guides do not fish when the water is above 65 degrees.

“We know that more than anybody and we respect that,” he said. “Fly-fishing is very technical. It’s not easy; that’s one thing that we like to teach people.

“My goal as a professional fly-fishing guide is not to take this person down there and catch as many fish as we possibly can. My goal is to turn this guy or gal into a better angler and educate them … It’s all about conserving our resource, and we understand that to a great extent and we live by those rules.”

Darren Dines of Tabernash is opposed to commercial guiding because he said guided anglers have an “unfair advantage” over the general public.

“I’m sorry it’s over. You’re not going to catch a thing,” he said. “I have a 12-year-old son, and I’m like, “Ugh, now where am I going to take him,’ He’s not going to stand a chance on that water.”

“Not only is the size of the river a problem for commercial guiding. Also these guys are paid to help their clients catch fish. And they’re darn good at it,” he said at the meeting. “They’re going to catch them, catch them, catch them, and then boom, it’s over for the average Joe.”

In 2005 American Rivers named the Fraser River the third most endangered river in the country. He said 2007 was a healing year, and he thought it was too soon to start commercial guiding in 2008.

Kirk Klancke, president of the local Trout Unlimited Chapter said the group’s stance is: “If it’s good for the river it’s a good thing.”

“We really don’t care about the economics; we care about the river,” he said.

“Education is really what’s going to make a difference on the river.”

Trout Unlimited’s goal is to preserve, protect and restore the cold water fishery.

“I’ve heard some of the California syndrome. It’s good for me but keep everybody else out,” said Fraser Mayor Fran Cook. “The only consideration for me is the health of the Fraser River.

“I think having anglers out there that know what they’re doing and know how to treat the river and treat the fish is very important.”

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