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Another Unnecessary, Harmful, Ineffective Regulation?


Last week I was shocked to learn that the trout fishery on Nova Scotia’s St. Mary’s River and other salmon streams might be closed for the July – September portion of this season and beyond. The rationale for the move was apparently to prevent some anglers from targeting Atlantic salmon under the guise of fishing for trout, on a trout license. The Guysborough County based Eastern SportFish Association and the Mulgrave & Area Lakes Enhancement Association attended the NS Inland Fisheries RFAC meeting last Thursday evening. We opposed this move for 3 reasons:


a)    legitimate trout anglers would be unfairly penalized, and

b)    lack of angler presence might encourage serious poaching (netting of pools), and

c)    negative Impact, economic and otherwise, to our rural communities.


We believe that our resolution will be effective in protecting both Atlantic salmon and trout fisheries because it is supported by another regulation which requires that all Atlantic salmon by-catch must be released alive. Although we were encouraged by the support we received at the meeting, DFO and NS Fisheries must agree on the resolution of the issue, which will occur following DFO’s May ZMAC consultation meeting in Sherbrooke. So, for now, all we can tell our members is that we are and will continue to do all we can to keep our rivers open to angling. We also plan to seek support from the St. Mary’s River Association (SMRA) and Nova Scotia Salmon Association (NSSA) regarding our resolution.


About 65,000 trout angling licenses were sold in Nova Scotia last year, compared with only 2200 salmon licenses. But interpretation of these statistics is not as simple as you might think. Many licensed salmon anglers also purchase a trout license, while some salmon anglers purchase only a trout license. The highest number of salmon licenses sold in NS was about 8500 in the early 1980s when each license tag permitted retention of one Atlantic salmon (subject to size restrictions). Taking all of this into account, we can confidently say that more than 80% of Nova Scotia anglers are trouters rather than salmon anglers. Our trout anglers certainly have a legitimate right to fish Nova Scotia waters if they are properly licensed, and we will defend that right on their behalf. 


Chad Harpell was raised in Port Bickerton Nova Scotia and now resides with his family in nearby Truro. His fishing roots have recently led him to some serious fly tying and we’re very impressed with his work. His specialty is trout flies, although he also ties Atlantic salmon flies. This week we feature a fly he tied that is becoming a favorite in Guysborough County for speckled trout, including the sea-run variety. It can be fished wet or dry, and its effectiveness has prompted seasoned veterans, like my friend and neighbor Bruce Weir, to declare, “It’s all you need!”


Red & White Bug


Hook –                       Mustad 9671 or 94831, size 6 – 10

Thread –                    Red GSP 75 denier

Tail -                           White calftail

Body hackle -            Red cock saddle hackle palmered

Body –                        1/3 Red deer hair (rear), 2/3 white deer body hair, spun & clipped

Head -                        Red thread finished with 2 coats of Pro Lac head cement


Please send comments and suggestions to slim@rivermagic.ca


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