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|Vancouver Island Fishing Reports: For Spring 2017 From: Victoria, Oak Bay, Sidney, Langford, Elk Lake, Prospect Lake, Sooke, Pedder Bay, Becher Bay, Lake Cowichan, Port Renfrew, Nitinat Lake, Nitinat River, Harris Creek, Cowichan Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Duncan, Chemainus Lake, Salt Spring Island, St. Mary Lake, Cusheon Lake, Nanaimo, Quennell Lake (Cedar), French Creek, Parksville,Qualicum Beach, Spider Lake, Cameron Lake, Nile Creek, Courtenay / Comox, Oyster River, Campbell River, Gold River, Oyster River, Salmon River, Port Alberni, Bamfield, Ucluelet, Tofino, Barkley Sound, Nootka Sound, Moutcha Bay, Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet, Port Hardy.|
REPORT POACHERS AND POLLUTERS
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) asks the public to report suspicious fishing activities by contacting your nearest DFO office, or by anonymously calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), www.canadiancrimestoppers.org, or by texting TIP190 and your message to 274637 (crimes).
HAVE YOUR SAY IN CHANGES TO THE FISHERIES ACT
The Government of Canada is inviting Canadians to join in a conversation about the protections needed to ensure our fish have a healthy environment to live, feed and reproduce, and healthy corridors to migrate between these places.
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced the launch of an online public consultation to seek Canadians’ views on recent changes to the Fisheries Act.
This online public consultation is part of the Government’s Review of Environmental and Regulatory Processes.
Canadians can share their views and have their voices heard by visiting :
- The Fisheries Act gives the government the powers to manage Canadian fisheries and to protect habitat that supports them. It is an essential tool to conserving the sustainability of our fisheries.
- Gaining royal assent in 1868, the Fisheries Act is one of Canada’s oldest pieces of federal legislation. It was most recently amended in 2012. This current consultation is seeking Canadian’s views on whether any lost protections from the latest amendment should be restored.
SOUTH ISLAND REPORT - VICTORIA, SIDNEY, SAANICH
Saltwater - Fishing for feeder (winter) springs has been improving
for fish up to 22 lb. Halibut fishing has been fair. Winter weather kept
most anglers off the water.
BECHER BAY – Springs are throughout the area but the largest fish usually come from inside the bay rather than in the strait. Most of anglers are using artificial lures and trolling close to the bottom. Spoons, especially G-Force and
Skinny G spoons, in Bon Chovy or Outfitters’ colours have been very effective. Anglers using bait are catching their share of salmon and are finding anchovies in glow teaser heads have been working best. For flashers, the Betsey, Lemon
Lime and green/silver Hot Spot have been good.
PEDDER BAY – Most of anglers are catching their fish at the entrance to the bay. Fishing was similar in Whirl Bay but fish were in deeper water. Most anglers are using artificial lures, trolling close to the bottom, but anchovies are
also producing. Fish haven’t been picky about what they strike: Spoons, especially G-Force and Skinny G spoons in brass/silver, Bon Chovy or Outfitters’ colours, have been effective. Green and glow hootchies and squirts have been good,
especially with 30”-36” leaders. Anchovies were still working. Good choices for teaser head colours are UV Green, Chartreuse, Bloody Nose and Purple Haze. Flashers that are popular include Betsey, Lemon-Lime and Madi.
HALIBUT – Most anglers that were fishing for halibut are using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Also working well was the 8” Powerbait Grubs and Delta Hali Hawgs.
VICTORIA – Constance Bank was where the most consistent action was. Most salmon have been 5-12 lb. but there are some larger ones. Closer in, 60 -140 foot depths have been best off the waterfront. Good areas have been the harbour
entrance, Finlayson Point, Clover Point and Brotchie Ledge. Your lure should be close to the bottom when trolling off Victoria. The same depth and technique has been working out at Constance Bank. Spoons have been successful. Green
Spatter Back UV Coho Killers, 3.5” Cop Car spoons or AP Tackleworks herring spoons have brought results.
HALIBUT – Constance Bank and Border Bank were the two best locations. Most anglers that were fishing for halibut are using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Also working well was the 8” Powerbait Grubs and
Delta Hali Hawgs.
OAK BAY – There are springs up to 10 lb. on the flats but the seals have been a problem here. Many of the local anglers are fishing at Constance and Border Bank, just to escape the seals. All of the anglers have been bottom bouncing or
trolling close to the bottom. Good trolling lures have been Coho Killers, Bon Chovi or Outfitters Skinny G spoons or AP Tackleworks needlefish spoons.
HALIBUT – Most anglers that were fishing for halibut are using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus and 8” Powerbait Grubs and Hali Hawgs.
SIDNEY- All areas produced good fish and several in the mid teens were reported. Coal Island, Fairfax, the Sidney Channel and Hamley Point all produced keepers. Anglers using spoons found Coho Killers, Gibbs Needle G and AP Tackleworks
spoons the most successful spoons this past year. Anchovies and Tiny Strip were the good producers of fish.
FRESHWATER – Fishing was slow in most lakes for trout and for bass as water temperatures are still low. Winter-run steelhead are still in most rivers on both sides of the Island.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC started stocking spring catchable rainbow trout into Vancouver Island lakes. Locally, Elk and Prospect lakes were both stocked with 1,750 catchable trout. To learn about stockings Island amd BC wide
TROUT – Shore anglers are catching trout on Powerbait, Gulp Eggs, or worms while fishing close to the bottom. Pink, chartreuse and fluorescent yellow have been good choices for Powerbait. Brent Mockford caught a 5 lb. 2 oz. rainbow trout
at Langford Lake on pink and white Powerbait. Fly anglers are fishing Wooly Buggers, leeches and micro leech patterns on full sink fly lines. Trollers are catching trout with Gang Trolls and Wedding Bands. Tomic Plugs have also been
working well for trout.
BASS - During the day, soft plastics, Carolina-style as well as crank baits work. Plastics rigged Carolina-Style are also good at drop-offs and docks. Productive colours in 4” Yum baits are Smoke or Pumpkinseed.
Langford, Shawnigan, Prospect and Elk and Beaver lakes are the best local bass lakes. St. Marys Lake on Salt Spring Island also has great bass fishing.
Island Outfitters, 3319 Douglas St.,
Victoria, ph: 475-4969
SOOKE FISHING REPORT
Salmon fishing has been pretty good for feeder springs especially
between the Sooke Bluffs and Otter Point.
The majority of the fish being caught have been between 120 to 150 ft. on the downriggers. Different spoons have been working good like Skinny G, Coho Killers in various glow colours and Gibbs in glow colours. Hootchies have been
working great too. Try white glow, J79, Army Truck, Cop Car, and Irish Mist.
On the halibut side It has been very productive at Jordan River and Magdalina. So far Sooke Bluffs and Muir Creek have been so-so, and should pick up a little later on. Large herring, salmon bellies, mackerel and octopus have been
Until next time happy faces and tight lines. Al Kennedy,
Reel Excitement Salmon Charters
LAKE COWICHAN AREA REPORT
Saltwater - Nanaimo to Sooke has been excellent for winter chinook
fishing. Try trolling just off the bottom with glow flasher, glow
anchovie head and and anchovie. Bold Bluff out of Cowichan Bay has also
been excellent with fish
ranging from 8 to 12 lb.
Freshwater - Cowichan Lake fishing is going strong. Troll creek mouths and paralleling the shoreline staying within 30 feet. Keep your line back from the boat by at least 150 ft. Lures of choice are 3” Tomic, best colours are the new
iridescent inserts. We have over 400 - 3” plugs in stock with over 80 different patterns.
Also working well are the ever popular Gang Troll and Flatfish.
Starting April 16 until November 14, bait, barbs and trebles are allowed in the lake. Fishing the creek mouths with bait (single eggs, roe, paste) and a Corky rig can produce large numbers of fish including the odd lunker.
Kissinger and Lizard lakes to the west, good rainbow trout fishing, try Corky and single egg rig off docks and beaches. Troll with small Spratleys, leeches, Wooley Buggers, Flatfish and small spoons.
Fuller Lake, Chemainus, Dougan’s, Quamichan and Somenos lakes also producing well. All of these lakes have been recently stocked.
Cowichan River trout Fishing - Mid-river resident rainbow and brown trout on single egg copies/stoneflies and Mudler Minnows.
From Skutz Falls to Greendale Trestle excellent for browns and rainbows. Single egg copies and Minnow or Rolled Mudler flies. The largest browns in the river are found in this section. Flies of choice: single egg patterns, Rolled
Mudlers, Prince Nymphs, Hair’s Ear Nymphs, Pheasant Tail Nymphs. Stick to the bead heads and weighted flies.
Over 30,000 flies in stock at the store!
Also remember that all cutthroat trout in streams and rivers must be released from October 1 to May 31 to protect brood stock All wild trout must be released all year.
Steelhead Fishing - Cowichan River - April and the start of May, steelheading still excellent on the Cowichan mainly for mended kelts. These fish have to feed aggressively after spawning, making them the easiest steelhead to target. A
great month to catch your first steelhead! Lures of choice: blades, single egg copies or small pink worms. Flies of choice: large and black or the ever popular egg fly. INTRUDERS ALL THE WAY
Nitinat, San Juan, Harris Creek - All excellent rivers for early summer runs and winter steelhead. Best fished when coming off of high water.
May your rod bend to the butt and your smile go from ear to ear.
Gord’s Fly Box & Goodies
170C Cowichan Lake Road Box 1742
NANAIMO FISHING REPORT
Saltwater - Saltwater - Winter spring salmon fishing has been
pretty slow with the odd productive day. There have been lots of
undersize fish, but some days steady efforts have yielded fish in the 8+
Fishing down deep (130+ feet) has caught most of the bigger salmon. Going out a little farther has also been a key to success; Thrasher Rock and Porlier Pass have been among the hotter spots. Spoons seem to be a bit hotter than hootches,
and a good finish has been Kitchen Sink (green with black or with white).
Lingcod and rockfish have been closed all winter, and will open in the Strait of Georgia May 1.
Crabbing is usually good in the winter and people have also been going out for prawns. A lot of areas may be closed to prawning to protect egg-bearing females. Check with DFO (1-866-431-3474).
Trout fishing in the rivers has been weak, and a lot of high elevation lakes have been frozen or impossible to reach due to the snowy winter. The bigger low elevation lakes around Nanaimo have remained fishable and will be getting better
as it warms up and the fish and the feed wake up. Fly fish deep with sinking line and wet flies - local favorites like the Pumpkinhead Wooly Bugger or troll a Flatfish.
Gone Fishin’, 600-2980 North Island Hwy., Nanaimo, ph: 250-758-7726
PARKSVILLE / FRENCH CREEK REPORT
The local herring spawn this year was quite impressive. A massive
spawn took place from Qualicum Beach to Nanoose Bay. The commercial
herring quota was caught quite quickly, so this is great news for local
waters to have large amounts of
The start of the season has shown some promise for a good year for chinook salmon in our local waters. On a couple outings in February I've witnessed lots of bird and sea lion activity. The sounder was marking some nice bait balls too,
this will definitely keep the salmon interested in sticking around. The winter chinook fishing has produced some nice fish, up to the 15 lb. Many fisherman are releasing a lot of undersized chinooks and coho; these fish will grow rapidly
and be the fish for tomorrow. Winter chinook salmon will hold in our area providing there's some bait (usually herring) for their hearty appetites, I have caught these salmon from December well into and past April. Out Front of French
Creek Harbour on the humps and Ballenas Islands are good areas to try for early season chinook salmon.
In May and June we can have great fishing as migratory chinook salmon pass through our waters heading for their native rivers, such as the Columbia River Chinook run. Sangster Island and Young Pt. can be productive areas for migrating
salmon. July can be a transition time, however this being an odd numbered year there should be a lot of pink salmon in our area.
Hopefully the coho salmon will return in similar numbers through the 2017 summer. No word yet on wild coho retention for 2017 in Area 14. It's always a good idea to check with Department Of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on retention limits
for the area you'll be fishing prior to heading out.
In August our resident chinooks start to make their way home for some final feeding in preparation to head up both the Little Qualicum and Big Qualicum rivers. When these chinooks begin to stack up near the end of the month it's quite a
spectacular fishery for trollers and jiggers alike.
We have our local French Creek Salmon Derby slated for August 18-20, 2017. This is a fun event for all ages, with lots of great prizes. All the proceeds from the derby go to the Marion Baker Fish Hatchery (coho enhancement) on French
You round out September with some great late season chinook fishing, the coho also start to stack up along the beach.
Not to be over looked is the steady bottom fishing for lingcod, and rockcod open from May 1-September 30.
Crabbing and prawning are also productive in our area.
Hope you have a fun and safe fishing season in 2017.
Darrell Jobb, Western Star Charters,
(250) 951-5927 firstname.lastname@example.org
& French Creek Harbour Store, 5 - 1025 Lee Rd., Parksville, 250-248-8912, www.frenchcreekstore.ca
MID-ISLAND RIVER AND BEACH REPORT
Spring is on its way, although it doesn’t feel like that. The
unseasonably cold kept most fisherman at home!
The period after Christmas is one of the quietest times for the fly fisherman. A few avid anglers were out chasing the elusive winter steelhead and a few fish were caught despite the snow and cold conditions. The Englishman and little
Qualicum rivers have been high and unfishable, although conditions should soon improve. Be familiar with the regulations on these local rivers as the upper parts of both are closed until June 1. Please also be aware that it is mandatory
to release all wild trout and steelhead caught on any river or stream on Vancouver Island. A wild fish is determined by the presence of the adipose fin, a small fatty fin located between the dorsal fin and the tail. There is very little
trout enhancement on Island rivers, the notable exceptions being the Oyster and Quinsam rivers. So anywhere else catch and release is the norm. Handle fish the bare minimum, always with wet hands. I encourage anglers who want to kill
trout to fish lakes, which through the stocking policy, is completely sustainable.
The emergence of salmon fry in spring will bring sea-run cutthroats into the lower parts of rivers to intercept pink and chum fry heading downstream. These species spend very little time in freshwater after hatching. They migrate
downstream shortly after they leave the gravel to start feeding in the estuary and then onward to the ocean, typically two years for pinks and two to three for chum.
Any pattern that imitates baitfish will tempt the trout, but the ubiquitous Rolled Muddler in its many forms has never failed me in the past. At our store we keep this pattern in many colours and sizes. In rivers this time of year it is
important to get your fly down deep to where the fish are. A sink tip line or the addition of a Poly Leader to a floating line is essential. Call into the store if you want further input as to how this works.
Fishing opportunities on Vancouver Island are numerous but an appetite to explore is essential if you want to get away from the crowds. The Backroads Mapbook and the Backroads Lakes & Rivers Guide are essential reading for those
searching for new opportunities.
On the lakes as the water gradually warms up trout will become more active and fishing from shore or boat will be productive. Fish will be caught trolling with full sink lines using Wooly Buggers or leeches. High lakes could be frozen
until late spring. The Freshwater Fisheries society of BC stocks many lakes with rainbow and cutthroat trout, see www.gofishbc.com
Out in saltwater trolling for feeder chinook has been sporadically successful. Fish deep at 200+ depths out of French Creek. In the next few weeks lots of boats will be put in the water for the first time since the fall. The herring have
just started to show up so we have lots of rigs in stock to catch these early fish !
The time to check your equipment for the new season is now !
Whatever your passion we have all the right tackle and advice to help you catch more fish.
Tight Lines Keith Hyett,
Coast Sportfish, 202 - 891 Island Hwy. West, Parksville, 250-586-6622,
ALBERNI & BARKLEY SOUND REPORT
Saltwater - Winter spring fishing continues to be good. Lots of nice
fish caught in the annual Sproat Lake Loggers Derby. The winning salmon
was just over 20 lb. That derby is always a good predictor of the coming
salmon season and
fishing has been good inside Barkley Sound and by June we should start to see them in the Inlet.
The sockeye return is just around the corner, giving us a great fishery in June and July. Lingcod and prawning both will open April 1.
Freshwater - The cold winter has caused a bit of a slow start to our trout fishing. Most of the higher elevation lakes are still either frozen or inaccessible due to snow, but the big lower lakes have been fishing well. Sproat, Great
Central and Cameron lakes have been giving up nice catches of trout for anglers trolling Gang Trolls and Flatfish and the new Best Lure (a plug). After the rains wash out of the creek mouths try fishing with Trout Beads that look like a
single drifting salmon egg.
Fly fishers have been doing okay on chironomids, leech patterns and other wet flies.
There’s a few steelhead in the rivers now, but overall it has been a slow season. The weather has not been a help there either. There’s some late run winter steelhead coming into the river now, and spring can be surprisingly good.
Good luck. Gone Fishin’
4985 Johnston, Port Alberni,
ESPERANZA INLET/NOOTKA SOUND REPORT
Halibut, lingcod and other bottomfish - we are very fortunate to have
a huge abundance of these delicious fish. The possession limits are two
halibut, eight lingcod, and six other ground/bottomfish per person. That
is a lot of FISH!
Those numbers are the norm for customers fishing out of Westview Marina & Lodge, Tahsis BC.
A usual fishing day starts at 6:00 am. By 7:00 am or sooner you are fishing your favorite hali or ling hole. The beauty of bottom fishing in our area is you are targeting specific species, but you never know what will take the bait.
Yelloweye, canary and China rockfish, sole and greenling are among the many varieties of other groundfish that are abundant here.
After loading up on these large plentiful fish it’s off to catch salmon which in most cases can be very close to the bottom fishing.
This why we say, “Bring your large coolers - you will need them when you fish with us.”
John Falavolito Owner/Operator Westview Marina & Lodge, Tahsis
800 992 3252 www.westviewmarina.com
N49* 55’ 13 W126* 39’ 78.5
Successfully serving the Fishing Pubic for 24 yrs.
Saltwater - It's time to bring out the crab pots! Crabbing is a great
way to spend time waiting for the summer salmon season. These feisty
crustaceans can be found off the point of Goose Spit in the shallows.
Keep your traps at a depth
between 20 and 50 ft. Stainless steel traps are ideal as they won't rust quickly. Vinyl coated traps are a cheaper alternative and still have a decent resistance to rust. Use a traditional Scotty bait jar filled with Tyee Marine's
Ultimate Prawn & Crab Bait or poke holes into a tin of Carlyle's Cat Food and secure it in the trap. Carlyle's Tuna Just for Cats is an inexpensive bait to use and highly effective. It spreads its scent quickly but is firm enough to hold
up underwater for a few hours. Remember to bring a crab caliper to double check that the crabs you've caught are of legal size. Fisheries regulations state that all female crabs must be released.
Freshwater - When fishing lakes and streams during the spring it is imperative to make note of the various insect hatches. For example, leech patterns and halfback nymphs may be effective all season long in Maple Lake, but chironomids
are best used in early March and dragonfly patterns in early May. If spincasting from shore use Rooster Tails and Vibrax spinners with a small trout pattern.
When the remaining snow melts at the base of Mount Washington, it could be worth a trip to find Blue Grouse Lake. This is a small lake with expansive shallows, making it hard to cast from shore. Bring a float tube or small, lightweight
boat. This is a great lake to cast chironomids and small Krocodile spoons. A small lake means smaller fish, but it also makes them easier to find.
Nicole, Tyee Marine (Peter’s Sport Shop), 870 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay, 334-2942
CAMPBELL RIVER AREA REPORT
Saltwater - Spring salmon fishing remains consistent.
Troll four or five inch Coyote or GoldStar Kingfisher spoons behind a
flasher. The chillier spring months will continue to keep dogfish away,
making it ideal to use anchovies. The
Hump is still the best place to find salmon, but heading into April, Lewis Channel will become the place to be.
Early spring is a great time to drop the prawn traps. Mix some of Tyee Marine's Ultimate Prawn & Crab Bait with a splash of liquid prawn oil to attract these tasty creatures. How you set up your traps can mean the difference between a
bucket full of prawns and an empty stomach. The waves and current can pick up and bounce your float around, meaning your trap is doing the same thing. To correct this issue tie your line in a knot 20-30 ft. above the trap, then slide a 5
lb. weight down the line to your knot. Your float with pick up and drop the weight, leaving your trap nestled on the ocean floor. Prawns can be located between 250-375 ft. deep around Twin Islands. Stop by one of our stores before
heading out to get the latest tips and to check for legal areas to prawn.
Freshwater - Mid-day lake fishing is best during the spring. Water temperatures are neither too hot or cold and numerous insect hatches are beginning. Beavertail Lake provides several different species to pursue, including wild
cutthroat, Kokanee and Dolly Varden. The lake is also stocked with rainbow trout. Trolling lures like Leo's Rondell Flashers with a generous amount of worm attached in open water is great for Kokanee. Fly anglers should use dragonfly
patterns starting in early May.
Nicole, Tyee Marine, 880 Island Hwy.,
Campbell River, 250-287-2641
PORT HARDY REPORT There are fish out there, but weather kept most from getting
out. There are halibut being caught from off the bar, and out towards the
airport. The halibut do move around but the fishing grounds are close to
Port Hardy, only 10-12
miles. Try chartreuse and white or purple and black jig tails and glow Powerbait on spreader bars.
A few winter springs are being caught whenever anyone goes out there. Now that spring is here conditions will improve and salmon fishing will pick up.
You can count on that first run of big Columbia River chinooks to pass by Port Hardy waters before anyplace else on the Island. That fishery is like clockwork on the weekend of May 24. These are always nice big springs into the 30s and
even 40 lb. range.
Trout - Alice and Victoria lakes will be giving up trout, but the higher elevation lakes may still be frozen or snowed in. Troll Baitrix Trout lures or Flatfish, or still fish with a worm and bobber.
Jim’s Castle Point Charters & The Bait Shack, 250-949-9294, cell 250-949-1982
PORT HARDY REPORT
There are fish out there, but weather kept most from getting
out. There are halibut being caught from off the bar, and out towards the
airport. The halibut do move around but the fishing grounds are close to
Port Hardy, only 10-12
Jasmine from Campbell River caught her very first fish (at Point Holmes) on her pink Barbie rod with a blue BuzzBomb. She was persistent in wearing her pink princess dress to match her rod.
TIDAL WATERS FISHING LICENSES ONLY ON-LINE
In the spring when it’s time to buy your fishing licenses there will be some changes. Non-tidal licenses will remain available from your fishing tackle store as well as the BC government website. Tidal licenses however will no longer be for sale at any store, they will only be available on-line for 2014.
As an attempt to go green by using less paper the federal government will no longer print blank licenses. Anglers, however, will have to print the on-line license and carry it with them when fishing.
The federal government will also stop offering vendors any incentive to sell licenses. Previously tackle shop owners earned one dollar for each license sold. Not exactly a high profit margin, but a bit of compensation for their time. So the federal government will save money by not printing licenses and also by not sharing proceeds with stores. Also going into extinction are printed tidal waters regulations booklets. The government is banking on anglers carrying smart phones to check regulations wherever they are fishing.
Many tourists will be caught unprepared, and possibly find themselves paying fines for fishing without a license and without a clear idea of fishing regulations.
Be bear aware
A biological drive to put on weight for a long winter has B.C.’s bears on the move, seeking out the calories they need before heading to their dens.
In their desperation to get enough food, bears can get aggressive, especially in areas close to human habitat. That’s when most bear-human conflicts occur. If you’re fishing Island rivers there’s a chance you may encounter bears drawn to the same shores.
Bears have an incredible sense of smell. They can zero in on food from miles away and can be single-minded to get at that food. For a bear, food comes in many forms, including garbage and over-ripe fruit in residential areas.
Every bear encounter is unique so there are no steadfast rules.
If you meet a bear in the wild try to remain calm. Never approach or chase a bear; face the bear without making eye contact, back away slowly. Take the same route out that you came in. Try to keep track of the bear, but again, don't challenge the bear with eye contact.
If the bear makes blowing or snorting noises and then charges and veers off at the last second this is likely defensive behavior so continue to back away.Extend your arms above your head appearing as large as you can, talk in a gruff voice, look for a weapon such as a rock or stick. Drop your pack to distract the bear; only do this if absolutely necessary because the bear could learn to pursue people for their packs.
Climb a tree as a last resort.
If a bear is persistent or aggressive, call the Report Poachers and Polluters hotline 1- 877-952-7277, or surf to www.rapp.bc.ca.
For more information about bears and bear-human conflicts, visit:
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