Monday, March 15, 2010

Nova Scotia Trout Management - The Anglers Role

In any documents i have read about managing trout in Nova Scotia, they talk about "angler buy in". Basically it means getting the end user in the fishery involved in the process of collecting data and implementing programs. The toughest one of all comes down to finding a happy medium when it comes to creel limits.

As i mentioned before, when i was young, no one wanted to leave without "getting their limit", which was then 10 fish. Now at 5 fish, far too many fish to "get the limit". With that in mind, the limit for trout in type A waters should be reduced. Now i am not a catch and release only fisherman, but i keep in the area of three or four wild trout in a season now. One or two early season (mayfly) Brookies, and one or two sea trout in July. Everything else is released. Can the limit be reduced to one or two in Wild Trout Management or Type A waters? If they want to do it, they can. There might be backlash, but that is a necessary evil.

We as anglers can do other things on our own. Some of them very useful.

1- Set your own one or two fish limit- Have you ever thrown out a freezer burned fish? If so, you have likely been overfishing. For those who like to eat trout, and i am one, we know fresh ones are by far the best. We don't need a freezer full.

2- Barbless Hooks - With fly fishing this is, in my opinion, far less important than with live bait. Trout inhale things like worms and the hook can kill a fish before you even get a shot at releasing it by a barbed hook. A barbless hook makes a world of difference.

3- The Anglers Report Card- If you value the trout fishery in Nova Scotia, keep an accurate catch record, fill out the report card stub on your license and send it in. The more of these that Inland Fisheries receive, and the more accurate they are, the better the data is. This data can be key to identifying and planning the future of trout waters all over Nova Scotia.

I am very lucky. I fish Type A waters every year. I have a camp secluded in the middle of them. The truth is, there are a lot of them. The populations may not be what they once were, but the quality and size of fish is Trophy like for Nova Scotia. The thought of damage to these is something i don't like to think about. In the past 15 years i have changed a lot as an angler. I have done my share of damage, especially as a younger man. Now it is time to see what i can do to help. I have decided to join Trout Nova Scotia this year and try to do my small part to help control a bigger problem.

Maybe if a lot of anglers do this, the native population of Wild Brook Trout, which is a true natural treasure of Nova Scotia, can be saved and even improved. I have been asked in the past what my obsession with fishing for Brook Trout is. I never had a good answer other than i love doing it, until last year. Last year i caught a trout early in the season. Steven snapped a picture of me with it in the canoe, and it was then released. When i saw that picture it sort of hit me that i got to hold a living, breathing part of nature in my hands for a few seconds, and captured it forever in a photo. How may people really get to say that?

No comments: