OUR NEXT PRINT PUBLICATION DEADLINE IS November 10, 2016.
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|Vancouver Island Fishing Reports: For FALL 2016 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).
VANCOUVER ISLAND FISHING REPORTS
SOUTH ISLAND REPORT - VICTORIA, SIDNEY, SAANICH
Saltwater - Coho are now the most commonly caught salmon, as the chinook run seems to be slowing down. The daily limit for coho is 2 per day, hatchery-marked only in Areas 14 to 20. Halibut fishing was GOOD this past weekend.
BECHER BAY – Some nice springs are still coming in but not as many. The Trap Shack, Beechey Head and Aldridge Point were the most productive. The coho fishing has been steadily improving and anglers are catching 7-11 lb. hatchery fish as well lots of wild coho. Those who targeted coho did well using spoons. Anchovies in glow teaser heads have been working. Also good are G-Force and Skinny G spoons, in Bon Chovy or Outfitters’ colours. For good flashers have been Betsey, Lemon Lime and Bon Chovi.
PEDDER BAY – The best chinook fishing was in Pedder Bay and off Bentick Island. Coho have also moved into the bay, so you don’t have to go out to the shipping lanes. Most of the hatchery coho have been 8-14 lb. Larger unclipped fish have been released. The bites have been early morning, on tide changes and late evening. Anglers targeting the coho have been quite successful trolling in deeper water. Anchovies were the top bait. Good teaser heads are UV Green, Chartreuse, Bloody Nose and Purple Haze. Popular flashers include the Betsey, Lemon-Lime and Madi.
HALIBUT – The best areas were Race Rocks, William Head, 27 Fathom reef and Constance Bank. Anglers that were fishing were using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work.Also working well, and discouraging to dogfish, was the 9" Jumbo Squid in Green Glow.
VICTORIA – The week started out with lots of springs and coho off the harbour but it slowed down. Wild coho were to mid teens and hatchery coho up to 12 lb.. There were good bites at times and other long periods were there was nothing happening. The best depths were 40-75 feet on the downrigger. There were good bites at Macauley, the V21 buoy (green can), the breakwall, Brotchie Ledge and Clover Point. Most springs were 8-15 lb. but some big ones were caught. Anchovies have been good bait (12 or 10 pack) and Bloody Nose, UV Green and Purple Haze have been the most popular teaser heads. Spoons have been successful in getting hook ups as well. Green Spatter Back UV Coho Killers, 3.5" Cop Car spoons or AP Tackleworks needlefish spoons have also brought good results in Victoria.
HALIBUT – The best areas being Constance Bank, Border Bank and the Mud Hole.
OAK BAY – There were some springs to 10 lb. on the flats. Most of the salmon anglers to either Sooke or the waterfront. Good trolling lures have been Coho Killers, Bon Chovi or Outfitters Skinny G spoons or AP Tackleworks needlefish spoons. Anglers jigging have been using Needlefish Darts, Point Wilson Darts or Deep Stingers.
SIDNEY- The Pender Bluffs produced mostly coho to 11.5 lb. Coho were suspended at 80-90 feet. There were some bigger fish off Hambley Point where 27 and 24 lb chinooks were caught. The fish off Hambley were in 130-140 feet of water. The springs are being caught on anchovies and Bloody Nose teaser has been the best. Anglers using spoons found Coho Killers, Gibbs Needle G and AP Tackleworks needlefish spoons the most successful spoons. Jigger have caught springs using Needlefish Darts and Deep Stingers. The Powder Wharf and Shag Rocks area are popular for jigging salmon.
Until October 14, 2016 you may not retain chinook salmon in subareas 18-6 to 18-8, 18-10.
Freshwater - Management Units 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, and 1-6, except the Big Qualicum River, the Puntledge River and the Quinsam River are closed to fishing until further notice. For clarity, in freshwater management units 1-1 to 1-6 only the Big Qualicum, Puntledge and Quinsam/Campbell Rivers remain open to angling.
Effective to September 30 the Nitinat River will open to recreational angling for chinook and coho. The daily limit will be 4 salmon per day of which: Two may be chinook, of which only one may be greater than 77 cm. in length, and two may be coho, marked or unmarked.
TROUT – Shore anglers are catching trout on Powerbait, Gulp Eggs, or worms close to the bottom. Chartreuse and fluorescent yellow have been good choices for Powerbait. Fly anglers are fishing Pumpkinheads, Wooly Buggers, Leeches and Micro Leech patterns on full sink fly lines. Trollers are catching trout with Wedding Bands and 2" Tomic Plugs.
BASS - This time of year most of the bass are in the shallows. During the day, soft plastics rigged Carolina style work well and crank baits can work well too. Soft plastics rigged "Carolina Style" are also good fishing drop offs and docks. Langford Lake, Shawnigan, Prospect and Elk and Beaver lakes are the best local bass lakes. St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island is also great for bass fishing.
Island Outfitters, 3319 Douglas St.,
Victoria, ph: 475-4969
It is coho time! There is definitely lots of coho around. The local hot spots include Secretary Island, Otter Point, and the Sooke Buffs.
You can find the majority of the coho from 300 to 500 feet. Best fishing depths have been from 40 to 90 feet. Good artificial plastic lures to try are Cloverleaf, Peanut Butter, Purple Haze, and Irish Mist. For spoons try Coho Killers in various green colours with glow. Coyote spoons in green and silver finishes have also been working good. For flashers try silver Betsy, and various purple or green flashers.
Halbut fishing has been a little slow but we expect it should pick up soon.
A reminder the Sooke Annual Coho Derby will be had on October 8. Tickets can be purchased at Eagle Eye Wilderness, Crabshack, Wise Buys, Trotac and Island Outfitters. For more information Phone Ron at 250-213-2118 or 250-642-7983.
Until next time happy faces and tight lines.
Reel Excitement Salmon Charters
LAKE COWICHAN AREA REPORT
Cowichan Lake: Fishing will continue to improve as the temperature cools.
Currently trout are holding at 40-60’ during mid day. First light and last light fish are cruising shoreline 20-30’. Gang troll with a red Wedding Band tipped with a worm is your best bet until the bait ban goes in to effect on November 15.
Always popular 3" Tomic plugs #530 UV your best bet for downrigger fishing; recommended depth 50', best area is the narrows in front of Gordon Bay. Kwik Fish or Flatfish K7 black/silver flake (Michael Jackson), slow trolled on an S pattern along the drop-off during dim light or dark days fished with or without a gangtroll has been extremely successful. During brighter periods switch over to a K5 Coachdog with or without a troll, add more weight and troll just over the drop-off paralleling the shore. This fishery will only improve as fall progresses.
No boat, no problem - There are always fish biting when bait fishing at the creekmouths. Use sliding weights and a Corky rig. Top baits (now that the salmon are migrating through the lake) salmon paste, pink salmon eggs, roe or worms always worth a try.
Cowichan River opened for fishing on September 15.
Nitinat River: Wow! Lots of salmon. Generous retention of chinook, chum and coho make this a true harvest fishery.
(Check regs.) The art of angling is to entice a fish to take your fly or lure. These fish will bite. All foul hooked fish must be released. Deliberate snagging is illegal and unethical.
Recommended techniques: Fly fishing - sink tip lines and B.H. flies. Top picks - Rolled Muddlers and Wooly Buggers. Stop in at the store for best colour picks. Over 30,000 flies in stock! It is heart stopping to see a 20-30 lb. chinook chasing your fly across the shallows and then slam your fly.
Float fishing - chartreuse or peach wool ties best bet.
Spin fishing - go small - small spoons or spinners produce well. Too large a lure spooks them.
As the leaves turn crimson and float to the ground, the rivers start to rise with the first fall rains. Coho, chum, summer steelhead will be on the move.
Top rivers - Cowichan, Sooke/San Juan/Harris, Nitnat and Stamp.
Always check your regs before heading out.
May your rod bend to the butt and your smile go from ear to ear.
Gord March, Gord’s Fly Box,
170C Cowichan Lake Rd, Lake, Cowichan, BC
NANAIMO FISHING REPORT
Saltwater - Fishing has been alright for spring salmon off the waterfront: the Fingers, Entrance Island and other hot spots. They’ve been in the teens with a few shakers as well. They’re hitting bait, AP and Kingfisher spoons.
This time of year shore casters off Rocky Point can often pick up salmon.
There should be a few coho out there as well. You can target them trolling at 80-120 feet.
The pink salmon never showed up. Usually we find them through August in Departure Bay and the Millstone estuary where shore casters can hook their share. This year the pinks seem to have gone astray. It rained at the wrong time and the ones that were here went right up the river. For the last couple of years the pink salmon have not stayed around off the beaches long enough to give us any kind of fishery.
Freshwater - Trout is picking up as the weather cools. Westwood, Long and Brannen lakes should be productive for shore fishers, fly fishers and trollers.
Late fall into November we should have an opening on chum salmon returning into the Nanaimo River. At that time the Big Qualicum and the Little Qualicum also provide a fishery
Gone Fishin’, 600-2980 North Island Hwy., Nanaimo, ph: 250-758-7726
PARKSVILLE / FRENCH CREEK
Last chance... We really are having an interesting salmon fishery this year. At the time of writing this report (early September) the salmon fishing around French Creek has kept the fisherman scratching their heads a bit!
The coho salmon return was excellent with solid fishing through the summer. The concern, the chinook salmon return to local waters seemed lower and the average size of the fish was smaller? That said, there were still some days that produced some nice chinooks, but not as consistent as in past years. Hopefully heading into September there will be a late run of chinooks to boost up the overall return.
The returning chinook salmon to the Big and Little Qualicum Rivers will be staged in front of their respectful river mouths waiting for the river water to rise. Hopefully we'll get some rain to help them up, as the snow pack is quite low.
Since these chinook aren't feeding at this time, you need to get their attention with bright colours and shorter leaders. Try using a Bubblegum Pink Mini Plankton hootchie (32" leader), with a green/silver flasher. Keep in mind these chinook are the salmon of tomorrow, it doesn't hurt to limit your catch, than catch your limit.
Jiggers do well at this time of year too, a 2-1/2 oz. Mac Deep or Lil Nib jig should do the trick. Coho salmon start to make their way closer to shore in the fall, giving the beach fly and gear fisherman good opportunities.
Bottom fishing closes September 30, so now is the time to get a few of these tasty fish to enjoy over the winter months. A 2-1/2 oz. jig bounced off the bottom on a rocky, shelfy ledge in 40'-120' of water should do the trick.
For the hearty fisherman winter chinook (2-3 year-old resident salmon) will hold in our area. When fishing for wnter chinook they tend to be deep so keep the downriggers just off the bottom, troll a bit faster than usual (2-1/2 to 3 mph) as well. Covering lots of water is key, as these salmon are on the move looking for food. Brighter colour 4" spoons in neon glow/pink strip (48") leader with a crushed ice/glow flasher work well.
This is the time to try bait again (anchovie, herring, herring strip) as the dogfish have moved out seeking warmer water. These salmon are some of the best eating, with cooler water temperatures they have more fat content and beautiful red flesh.
Also in the fall pay a visit to the Big and Little Qualicum Salmon Hatcheries to watch the returning salmon completing their journey, really an amazing spectacle!
Darrell Jobb, Western Star Charters,
& French Creek Harbour Store, 5 - 1025 Lee Rd., Parksville, 250-248-8912, www.frenchcreekstore.ca
MID-ISLAND RIVER AND BEACH REPORT
Another unusual year with most rivers on the east coast closed on July 1 until further notice. Lakes, of course, remained open, but high water temperatures made fishing difficult as fish retreat to the depths.
Most fly fishermen were looking forward to the arrival of the pink salmon in July at their staging places off Nile Creek and beaches north of Qualicum Beach. These fish, however, have not arrived in any great numbers. Fishing at Nile Creek, in particular, has been disappointing with small numbers of fish showing sporadically. Fishermen were travelling north to Campbell River to find fish. The upper river produced a spectacular morning for me in mid-August when I caught and released about 30 fish to 7 lb. in 2 hours. All the fish were sea liced and took a swinging fly. Not something one will always experience on that river where the norm is heavy sink tips in order to get down to where the fish are lying!
As I write the only rivers open to fishing are the Big Qualicum, the Campbell and its tributary, the Quinsam. Some pinks are in all these rivers supplemented with chinooks and early coho in the Big Q and Campbell. If you chase these large powerful fish make sure you are using equipment that is up to the task. Typically an 8 or 9 weight rod is appropriate. Use a reel with a good disc drag and tippet material of about 15 lb.
On the west coast the Stamp will have runs of coho and chinooks now and the lower river should offer opportunities to both the fly and gear fisherman.
I have observed fly fishermen on the Big Q chasing chinooks with 5 and 6 weight trout rods which don’t have the strength to play and land the fish quickly. This could result in either a broken rod or a fish with a fly and leader trailing from its mouth. Respect the fish and use tackle that matches the quarry, so that if you want to release it the fish will be able to recover relatively quickly.
October will see anglers eagerly looking forward to the arrival of coho off beaches. Also called the silver salmon it is considered to be the most sporting of the Pacific Salmon. Several jumps and long runs typify this species. The gear guys will score using BuzzBombs or Zzingers especially when the fish are out of casting range for the fly. Coho spoons and Gibbs Crocs also work successfully in the salt chuck. Fly fishers should be equipped with baitfish patterns fished fairly fast to replicate normal behaviour. Smaller krill and shrimp type flies are also effective in green, blue, red, and copper.
Whether you are chasing trout, pinks, coho, steelhead or chinooks we have all the right tackle and advice to help you be successful
Tight Lines Keith Hyett,
Coast Sportfish, 202 - 891 Island Hwy. West, Parksville, 250-586-6622,
ALBERNI & BARKLEY SOUND REPORT
Saltwater - The derby was a bit hit and miss, but the 53 pounder was awesome. Chinook salmon are pretty well done now. Just the odd one in Barkley Sound and in rivers. It was an okay season; could have been better, could have been worse.
Prawning remains good.
There’s still some coho on the saltchuck. Catch them trolling Coho Kiler or small #3 Kingfisher spoons at 20-30 feet.
Right now the river system is really good for coho. On gear, catch them flossing, yarn, lead and a single barbless. Fly fish them on egg, or deep minnow patterns, or on puffy steelhead flies in bright chartreuse, black and blue. The coho fishing should keep up into November or until the rains set in.
Freshwater - On the lakes the trout fishing is picking up as it cools down and they fatten up for the winter. Troll Leo’s Wedding Bands, with or without a worm. On the bigger lakes troll Flatfish. Fly fishers can do well with leeches, Wooly Buggers and egg imitations. After the rain fish the egg flies near the mouth of a creek where the trout are waiting for salmon eggs to drift down.
Good luck. Gone Fishin’
4985 Johnston, Port Alberni,
WINNERS OF THE 2016 PORT ALBERNI SALMON FESTIVAL
The largest salmon since 1991 won first place in the 45th Annual Port Alberni Salmon Festival held Labour Day Weekend. The derby was a great success despite concerns over salmon stocks.
Dan Weatherby whose 53.2 lb. chinook salmon was the largest salmon of the derby won $15,000 for the fish caught on Saturday, September 3. Second largest that day was Peter Little’s 31. 7 lb. for $2,000. Gene Power’s 27.6 lb. won $1,000.
Sunday’s winners: Brian Lawrence, 27.1 lb. ($5,000); Martha Adams’ 25.1 lb. ($2,000); and Gordon Critchley’s 24.8 lb. ($1,000).
Monday’s winners: Justin Kumagai, 24 lb. $5,000); Cecil Peffer’s 22.9 lb. ($2,000); and Cathy McClelland, 21.5 lb. ($1,000).
COURTENAY / COMOX REPORT
Saltwater - Winter springs frequent the Bates Beach area from October until March. Three and a half to four inch Coyote spoons or silver hootchies with a green flasher work well, but make sure to get down deep.
Cape Lazo is also a great spot for winter springs. Troll at 120-180 feet with glow hootchies or spoons. You will want to troll a bit faster for feeder springs. If you are not getting any bites try adjusting your speed at small intervals.
There are lots of hidden prawn spots around Denman Island. Look for nice deep drop offs and make sure bait cups are full.
Freshwater - Worms are always going to catch trout but you can also troll with Flatfish or Weetad plugs. Wolf and Maple lakes are excellent for fall
Kerry Amos, Tyee Marine (Peter’s Sport Shop), 870 Cliffe Ave.,
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.
CAMPBELL RIVER AREA REPORT
.Saltwater - The chum salmon will be showing up north of the Narrows very soon.
Googly Eyed Wild Things (Chum Myster), pink and purple Michael Bait and anchovies with a blue or purple flasher are chum favourites. Chatam Point, Race Point and Green Sea Bay are always the hot spots for smoker style chum salmon.
Winter springs will be hanging around the Green Can and Hump. Four to five inch Tomic Plugs or Christmas Tree hootchies will attract winter springs with ease.
For Prawning, you will want to try Marina, Hill or Twin Islands. Make sure to get nice and deep with a good mix of Carlyle Cat Tuna and Tyee Marine Ultimate Prawn Pellets.
The Campbell, Brewster andGray lakes are always good in the fall for trout. Powerbait or a worm are easy and effective As for trolling go with with Leo’s Wedding Bands and gang trolls.
Tyee Marine, 880 Island Hwy.,
Campbell River, 250-287-2641
NOOTKA SOUND - MOUTCHA BAY KAYAK FISHING DERBY.
Winner of the 12th Annual Nootka Marine Adventures Kayak Derby, September 3 and 4 at Moutcha Bay Resort is Eric Fleischer whose 19.2 lb. chinook salmon won him a Jackson Kayaks Kraken model specially designed for fishing by expert Jim Sammons. The Kraken has features like rod holders, mounts and scuppers for electronics, etc.
Eric caught his winning fish on the first morning of the derby on a Buzz Bomb. The second place fish was a 14.2 lb. caught coincidentally by Eric’s father, Ralph on the second derby day. As an added coincidence Eric Fleischer almost won the Kayak Derby in 2014, his fish leading the pack until half an hour before closing time.
The goal of the derby was to have fun while raising
NOOTKA SOUND and ESPERANZA INLET
Westview Marina & Lodge will remain open well into October. It is drive in fishing on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in protected waters at its BEST! Westview Marina & Lodge offers a full service Marina, Grillhouse Restaurant, Fuel Dock, Marina PUB, Coffee/Ice Cream Shop, Ice & bait in the Marina Tackle Shop, Lodging & Marine Mechanics.
There are still lots of fish to be Caught! Esperanza Inlet & Nootka Sound Fall Fishing Report:
There are still lots of monster size (14-24lb) Coho in the area & because the majority of the Chinook run arrived late there are some decent size (20-30lb) bright fish milling around. Because the water has cooled down with the rains as well as the shorter days & cooler nights the Coho are being caught at depths of 20 to 40 ft. and the Chinook a bit deeper at 30 to 50 ft. 5-5.5 in. Anchovies and Coho Killer Lures are the two baits that are at the top of the list for catching. The Hottest inside Fishing/Catching remains in Esperanza Inlet as it has for entire season. Pin Rks., Twin Is. in front of Catala Is., Double Is., Rosa Harbour, Centre Is., Saltery Bay & Garden Pt. are all still holding FISH on the inside. Bring your own boat or fish/catch with one of our professional Guides.
Fish On John aka FOJ 250-934-7672
Owner/Operator Westview Marina & Lodge, Tahsis - 800-992-3252
PORT HARDY REPORT
The halibut finally showed up in big numbers. Guys are getting their limits without having to work too hard. They’ve been moving into shallow water, 100 feet or less. That’s giving us a good fishery that will last as long as the weather holds out.
There’s still quite a few coho around. They’ve been big, up to 18 lb. But only one in 12 has been a hatchery fish. Those fish will be in the estuaries of the Quatse and Keogh rivers.
The spring salmon are pretty well gone by now. We averaged one or two springs a day. They never did show up in the huge numbers that were predicted earlier in the season.
Trout - Fishing in the fall is great. When the weather cools off trollers get limits in Alice and Victoria lakes. Troll Baitrix Trout lures or Flatfish, or still fish with a worm and bobber. With the first frost those trout will head for the bottom.
Jim’s Castle Point Charters & The Bait Shack, 250-949-9294, cell 250-949-1982
ST MARY LAKE, SALT SPRING ISLAND
Fishing ST. MARY LAKE - Smallmouth bass and trout fishing picks up in the cooler weather. Top-water lures like poppers and buzz-baits work well until it cools down, then try rubber worms, jigs and other sinking lures. Shore casting
spinners and spoons to the edges of weed-beds is effective. Trolling a gangtroll with worms usually catches trout. Target submerged structure and shoreline overhangs.
St. Mary Lake is restricted to the use of rowboats, paddling or electric motors only. Deepest pockets are in the northwest: 55 feet (17 metres).
The bigger trout and bass will feed more actively as the weather cools. Target them with bigger flies. Large poppers and top water imitations are great fun when you notice insect activity on the surface. Bass will hit top water casting
lures like buzz baits. Fish around cover like sunken trees, overhanging branches and docks. In winter plumb the deep pockets for the biggest bass.
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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