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A Good Thing!


The Eastern SportFish Association (ESA) was formed two years ago to see salmon and sea-trout fishing in Guysborough County return to historic levels.


It became abundantly clear during the past two decades that DFO has failed miserably in its mandate to manage Atlantic salmon populations. In 1995 DFO hatcheries were closed. Since then DFO’s focus has shifted to supporting the rapidly growing salmon farming industry, creating yet another serious threat to our wild fish populations.


Today DFO expects to shortly see our salmon listed as endangered in all Nova Scotia waters except Northumberland Strait. It’s nothing short of a national disgrace!


What does this mean for aboriginal and recreational fisheries? According to DFO estimates, conservation requirements in these streams are not being met, therefore there is no harvestable surplus available for any fishery. DFO hasn’t discriminated - they’ve let everybody down equally.


So, does DFO have a recovery plan to rectify this? No, and unless policy changes drastically, we don’t expect one.


That’s where ESA comes in. We want to initiate policy changes, and very soon. ESA is presently preparing a business plan to restore fish populations for the economic and social benefit of our rural communities. Involvement of First Nations in planning and management is of paramount importance. After all, First Nations played no role in the decline of salmon populations and they have a crucial role to play in devising better ways of managing fish populations in future. When First Nations speak, DFO listens!


It seems that we must do DFO’s job for them, but we also expect DFO to contribute important resources to the plan. I write this just after filing my family’s income tax returns, and it burns me that we haven’t been getting our money’s worth from DFO.


I am very optimistic about working with First Nations on this project. I believe that working together toward a common goal will facilitate mutual understanding, respect, and friendship. The project will require education in various aquatic studies and other forms of skills development, a great opportunity for youth.


These requirements got me thinking of the education that comes with fly fishing. We learn about the fish we pursue, the insects that they consume, and how to fashion and present artificial flies to imitate these insects. We learn about the habitat that fish need for feeding, reproduction, comfort and security. We become familiar with the many bird feathers and other materials used to make our flies. We learn about the geology that shapes our streams and lakes. We learn social skills about sharing our waters with other fishers and develop a fondness and respect for the old-timers that share some of their vast knowledge with a newcomer to the sport. Any misconceptions we may have about race or social status quickly disappear, for all are equal on the river!


Fly fishing is always healthy and refreshing. It renews our energy for dealing with the daily chores and problems of life. It heightens our appreciation of nature, the earth and our universe.


As Martha would say “It’s a good thing!”


Here’s another good thing, a wet salmon fly that was very effective in its day. I did not originate it but I’ve always called it the Sunkist.




Hook:                   Black up-eyed salmon hook, sizes 4 – 12

Thread:               Black

Tag:                     Fine oval gold tinsel

Tail:                      Orange hackle fibers

Rib:                      Oval gold tinsel

Body:                   Black floss

Underwing:                   4 strands of orange Krystal Flash

Wing:                             Black squirrel tail (black moose hair for Newfoundland)

Sides:                  Jungle Cock

Collar Hackle:     Orange hen hackle

Head:                  Black


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