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Today a windy -17C temperature outside makes this a day to survive, not enjoy. Even our reliable little woodstove is challenged. It seems a day to reflect on the stark reality of fishing in Nova Scotia, especially Atlantic salmon.


The present state of affairs, with ineffective fisheries management, insanely inappropriate fishing regulations, decline of wild fish populations, ocean and inland pollution, climate change, habitat loss or degradation, out-of-control predation, poor forestry policies, harmful invasive species, and the devastating effects of aquaculture practices could simply not have been foreseen in the “good ole’ days”. Even 1960’s prophets like Alvin Toffler, in his book Future Shock, never imagined such events. Even if he had, who would have believed him?


Meanwhile, DFO’s few remaining Atlantic salmon biologists and managers are stuck in a quicksand of genetic paranoia, having been rendered useless by policy, funding cuts, and lack of hatchery facilities, afraid to speak their minds about government fish farm policies and trying to fend off the threat of public involvement by qualified volunteer groups, for example a proposed fish hatchery at River Philip. DFO has ensured that everyone is effectively neutered, incapable of bearing any useful results.


Being quite familiar with fish, anglers know when things smell fishy. We’ve also spent enough time on the waters to have heard countless fish stories, so we usually catch on when we’re being lied to. Why is it that DFO resists any move to improve sport fisheries while approving improperly regulated aquaculture industry developments that are harmful to wild fish populations?


Both are economic generators. I leave it to you to answer these questions:


Which is more likely to be sustainable?

Which is clean, which pollutes?

Which is healthy, which is disease-prone?

Which results in high concentrations of predators, such as seals and sea lice that devastate both wild and farmed populations?

Which subjects wild populations to the obvious genetic risk of massive farm escapements?


My nose tells me that wild fish stocks may be viewed by DFO as an obstacle to aquaculture development, with aquaculture feeding the masses in future. We’re already on that path, even though no one knows how we’ll feed farmed fish when the fish food runs out. I also detect a bad smell from DFO’s mechanism for determining economic benefit. Can it be that DFO still calculates economic benefit from tonnage value of fish landings? Does a wild fish have equal value to a farmed fish in the bureaucracy known as DFO? Is this why DFO has never recognized the economic value or potential of sport fisheries? A five-year old DFO study showed clearly that, for example, the Atlantic salmon sport fishery provided $2.5 million annually in economic benefit to Nova Scotia’s Inverness County. Some readers may have received study documents this year, because, for some reason, DFO is repeating the study. One might guess that they didn`t like the result first time around.


I remain optimistic about the future of sport fishing, but clearly, some big changes are needed. DFO in particular needs a complete shakeup from top to bottom. But for now, my suggestion is: go fishing. What’s next? One thing I’m sure of: more surprises! Janis Joplin had it right: get it while you can. After that, it’s too late.



On a brighter note, our fly of the week is a baitfish imitation designed and tied by fly wizard Ray Buckland, used for browns and rainbow in Bucky’s new home stream, Alberta’s Bow River.


White & Pink


Thread:                                  White

Hook:                                     Mustad 34011 stainless steel saltwater streamer hook, size 1

Stinger Connection:             TyGer nylon coated micro-braided stainless steel leader

Stinger hook:                        Gamakatsu Stinger  (super sharp)            tied point up

Body:                                      Shrimp Pink Polar UV Chenille

Wing:                                      White Finnish raccoon Zonker strip

Sides:                                     Red hackle tips

Head:                                     Epoxy Pinky-Purple-Pearl Fish-Skull Head and slip over eye of 34011

                                                Epoxy 3-D eyes to Skull-Head


Bucky cuts the 34011 off at the end of the hook shank so that fish are hooked on the

stinger. It`s a fabulous looking creation, also reputed to be very effective for our striped bass!


Please send comments and suggestions to slim@rivermagic.ca


Please stay on the line …