Dear Santa

My favourite fish are not doing well these days so I thought I might be able to count on you for a gift or two to make things better. I don’t want to be greedy or unrealistic here so I’m trying to make a list of things that are possible for you to deliver. Please give these some careful consideration and see if you can find one or two of these in your bag of Christmas goodies.



  1. A provincial government that cares about a fish that is a significant part of the reputation of British Columbia as a world class fishing destination. Perhaps you could get the people now in power to think of steelhead in the same context as grizzly bears and orcas. It would help to whisper in the ear of our elected representatives that they need to restore fisheries management in a recognizable unit that taxpayers can rebuild relationships with after years of neglect by a previous government.


  1. Some reasonable funding to go along with that renewed identity. Fisheries staff deserve to be adequately resourced to do what is expected of them. Leave a note on the Premier’s hearth. He needs to stand up for his people and give them a reason to want to show up at their work place each morning and be proud of what they do on behalf of the people who elected him.


  1. A federal government that delivers something other than lip service to its commitments to conservation and precautionary management. Perhaps another reminder – we have a conservation crisis with a few internationally renowned steelhead stocks, not the least of them the Thompson’s. How about a message nudging Ministers Dominic LeBlanc and Katherine McKenna to list those fish as endangered? You could also remind them they need to do something about all those First Nations nets competing for the last one that manages to escape the commercial net gauntlet that precedes them. Conservation means everyone, doesn’t it?



  1. A provincial government that isn’t afraid to stand up to its federal counterparts when conservation concerns for steelhead are firmly in view. If the province could make the logical choice for its voice to be heard through the Minister responsible for steelhead management rather than the Minister responsible for marketing and promoting farmed Atlantic salmon, it would be a giant leap forward. While you’re at that, perhaps remind that same Minister we will long remember that she is an integral part of supporting that chum roe fishery that now constitutes the single greatest threat to those iconic Thompson river steelhead.


  1. One last note to our decision makers would be good. Please remind them that diminishing supplies of fish and steadily increasing demand is a bad combination. Blank cheques to the First Nations of British Columbia to harvest fish stocks that are no longer healthy enough to sustain the levels of effort and technology directed at them won’t work for long. Those constitutional rights ring hollow when there are no fish.


Thank you for remembering steelhead Santa.



Comments 12

  • Amen Bob🙏

  • Thanks Bob!! I was just having a conversation yesterday about ‘follow up’ messaging to our governments about doing something new about fisheries management other than making the status quo seem responsible.

    And . . . . . . have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year !!!!

  • Great list Bob, this list could be applied with a few replacement titles here in Washington State.

  • Merry Christmas all – a brief respite for merry making and reflection and then, in 2018 step up the effort to save what’s left of Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead. (not to lose sight of the many issues on the Skeena and the Island). Thanks to Bob, especially, and to all who contribute – many earlier and more broadly informed than this agitator.

  • Bob, First: Thank-you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done, and do, for steelhead. I have read all of your posts on here and never comment. I don’t know how you do it! I retired from University Fisheries due to clinical depression. Did what I could to help educate young people, but was keenly aware that Provincially and Federally, things were falling apart. Frustration set in, and I started taking things home. The beginning of the end. Thank God I knew there are people like you out there that have the drive, will, and political connections to (hopefully) make a difference before it is too late; if it isn’t already!
    My main purpose of writing here is to let you know, I love your Christmas list. I was always taught that we don’t get all we ask for, but in this special instance, I truly hope Santa delivers everything! A good house-cleaning is long overdue.

    Thanks again for all you do & hope you have the best possible Christmas!


    • Very kind remarks Frank. From one fisheries warrior to another, my thanks. And, a very Merry Christmas and happy, healthy 2018 to you.

  • Dear Santa,

    Instead of presents, please bring coal and cinders to:

    the Federal and Provincial governments, the Canadian (and U.S.) Legal Systems, First Nations, Fish Farms, Commercial Fisheries, Guide Outfitters and every other group (forestry, mining, rail, hydro, etc.) that has acted in their own self interest and not in the interest of steelhead. Shame on all of you.

  • It is truly a difficult situation;

    Fisheries Oceans have no interest in conserving or saving the Fraser River steelhead because is of no value commercially.

    The provincial government have no people or financial resources to conserve or save the Fraser River steelhead.

    Sports fisherman have no say where or how the funds for fishing licenses are distributed.

    Fishing guides and guiding outfits have a vested interest in saving steelhead in areas where they can conduct their business.

    Who is left ? Who are speaking out?

    Not for profit organizations like BCFFF, SSBC etc… and Bob Hooton.

    Thank you for what you are doing Bob Hooton.

    A very wise man once said:
    ” I have been, all my life, what is known as a conservationist. It seems clear beyond possibility of argument that any given generation of men can have only a lease, not ownership, of the earth; and one essential term of the lease is that the earth be handed down on to the next generation with unimpaired potentialities. This is the conservationist’s concern.”

    Roderick Haig-Brown

    Wishing the best to you and yours over this holiday season!

  • I would like to first thank you for all you do to try and protect all the things I hold dear to my heart. Secondly would you be willing to run for office? Even set your sights on Fisheries Minister. And if not such a monstrous undertaking, be in charge of a class action lawsuit that stops this madness and holds individuals legally responsable. Lawyers are expensive and the courts are where we could actually change something.
    Sport fisherman could unite under one banner and effectively bankroll such an endeavour. With the amount of money each and everyone of us spends on this great passion of ours, which sadly will cease to exist if nothing is done, could raise some extremely significant funds if it brings real change.
    I feel that everyone is waiting for the right knowledgeable, trustworthy individual to put our faith and money in.
    I myself would be will to donate both time and money if it meant keeping these fish for my children and future generations.
    Everyone needs to realize that this is it and if nothing is done we will lose everything. A $600 dollar fishing rod or a $300,000 fishing boat going to be useless with no fish. What is this resource worth to you.
    Thank you again, And I wish you nothing but happiness and good health in 2018

    • I wouldn’t last a week in politics I’m afraid but thanks for the flattery just the same. There are some very good people already looking at options for legal action to hold politicians accountable for their obvious indifference and dereliction of duty with respect to steelhead. Don’t lose faith just yet. The year ahead promises to be a make or break for steelhead. Momentum is building. I’m hopeful that, if we can keep that going over the next 6-8 months, there may be a twinkle of light out there in the distance.

  • I hope Santa was/is good to you Bob. Just an FYI below.

    Recently, angling and fisheries conservation groups like the Pacific Marine Conservation Caucus, the B.C. Wildlife Federation, the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. and others called upon the federal government to issue an emergency listing order under the Species at Risk Act to better protect Thompson and Chilcotin river steelhead.

    In support, I’ve established an e-petition through the Canadian House of Commons website that is open for Canadians to add their voice on this important issue.

    Petition e-1419 (Species at Risk) will remain active until April 14, 2018 and can be found at

    Once the petition achieves 500 signatures (now at 411) the petition is presented to the House of Commons and response is tabled within 45 calendar days.

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