Monday, August 22, 2011
Summer is slowly winding down here at home on Salmon River and the large volume of water we have continues to play havoc with our outdoor excursions. I'm not going to complain about this situation because I would much rather see lots of water in our river systems than a drought. It has really helped the salmon and trout stocks but it has made it much harder to catch the warm water species such as pickerel. With the high water we have this summer,the top water lures have not been working as well and we have found that good sized spoons will work much better but you will have to try and cover more water because the fish are spread out over a much wider area. Although the water conditions continue to be excellent for the salmon and their pursuers,the catching has dropped off this month because many of the fish have been in the system for a while and they tend to get a little fussy on the take.
I got a very disturbing report this month from the Carrolls Crossing area above Doaktown.Now I frequent this area quite a bit during the spring and summer months and I know a lot of the locals that live in this area and they are all a pretty good bunch of lads up that way.As a matter of fact,a few can be said to be good Christian people who wouldn't dream of doing wrong or hurtful things. One of these gents, who shall remain anonymous,is a life long Christian who also happens to love fishing and has been fishing the open water in his area for well over thirty years.This gentleman and his son were out in their boat fishing a pool that is open to the public, just as they had done for years prior, when a couple of guides from a salmon club based in the area showed up. This club has been in the area for many years and they own some very good water in the area of the club,as well as good water in other spots along the MSW Miramichi. In years past,when the water conditions are such that the fish are moving a lot rather than holding,the members of this club would sometimes come to the open pools to fish rather than fishing their own private waters.Why they do this I can only speculate on,but I'm assuming they feel the fish are taking better in the open water rather than in their private water. Many of the locals feel this is unfair but most grit their teeth and try to be cordial to the guides and their sports.After all,it IS open water and that means it's open to ALL fishermen! These two brothers who guide for the club,one who is the head guide for the salmon club,was carring NO FISHING signs and proceeded to post this open water! When the local protested that he couldn't lawfully do that,the guide said they owned the adjacent land and they were posting the water to keep out the 'outsiders' but seeing that the local had fished there all his life and lived in the area,he would allow him to continue fishing.When the local protested that the water was open to all fishermen,the guide said OK,you aren't going to fish either! The local said ' You will have to call the police and physically drag me off of this water before I'll leave' and believe it or not,this guide did call the RCMP,who showed up a short time later. After hearing both sides of this story and calling the local DNR office,the RCMP said the local was indeed within his right to be fishing that pool and the signs were taken down. I know this local personally and I also know he is a mild mannered gent who lives a Christian life but I hear he was so mad he was about to burst a vessel. I have to admit that I too was absolutely outraged at the antics displayed by this supposedly professional guide who was in full knowledge of the actions he was taking.At this juncture,I can only say that I am very glad to have missed this little drama because I just don't have the stomach for it at this point in my life.Let me state right now that if I employed two guides who behaved in this fashion,they would be fired on the spot! They displayed bad manners,as well as being downright dirty! I'm getting angry just relating this story but I felt it should be told just to illustrate how easily things can turn ugly on the water. I want to also state that not all lodges in the area behave in this fashion.As a matter of fact,one outfitter in the Macnamee area goes out of his way to keep the peace with the locals and many times has offered up a days fishing on their private water to locals that have done him a good turn.And that's the way it should be! There is nothing worse than having a day on the water or in the bush spoiled by some oaf who doesn't have the good sense or manners to conduct himself like a gentleman while pursuing his outdoor sport. These kinds of antics aren't restricted to just the salmon waters.I recently read a bit of blog from a writer who was fishing pickerel near Chipman who had another party crowd him while fishing from his canoe.Why would you pull up within fifteen feet of another boat when there is,quite literally,acres of very fishable water around you? The simple answer is ignorance! There is often another human trait that comes into play while afield and that is GREED,the deadliest of all human sins. Many times greed leads to another undesireable human trait and that is bullying.Most of the open water has at least one guy that thinks he owns the pool and always throws his weight around,especially to any new comers.All this does is ruin someones day and sully the name of good sports who are just trying to have a pleasant day of fishing. As I end this rant,I would like to remind the readers to try and remember the big picture.It isn't the sport fisherman who is the enemy of salmon.It is big business trying to make big money, whether inland or offshore,that poses the greatest threat to salmon stocks in our rivers and we must remain vigilant to their destructive practices in their pursuit of profits.
On a more positive note,the salmon runs continue to be good in most rivers and I am glad to report that I have seen more salmon in Salmon River this year than in the last twenty! I can only hope that this trend continues and we see more fish in the future here at home. Just last week I looked out my window around 9:AM and saw a huge salmon jump that left a ring as if someone dropped a fifty pound stone into the river! I'm assuming that some of the 30-40,000 land-lock salmon that were stocked in Grand Lake will make their way up the river.One of the bioligists said a certain percentage of these fish would just naturally travel up the river system,perhaps not to the headwaters but up several miles from the mouth at Salmon Harbour. A couple of years ago,Kenney and I were fishing the mouth of Sisson Brook and Ken got a landlocked salmon and missed a second one.We were quite sure they were landlocks because there had been recent stockings in Grand Lake and the body profile is much leaner on the landlocked salmon because they are not going to sea to feed up in the rich salt water environment. It was also mentioned to me that trout fishermen fishing at Big Forks stream were catching a lot of salmon parr,so that tells me our river isn' dead to wild atlantic salmon runs yet and we still have breeding adults going up Big Forks. If there are salmon still in Big Forks then a lot of the other feeder streams should still have a few. It would probably be a good idea to take a count sometime if for no other reasnon than to see where the Salmon River stands today,in terms of numbers,as compared to former traditional numbers that were taken in yearly counts over thirty years ago.I had access to the run numbers for several years running years but the last time I tried to find them,the secretary at the cache couldn't find it on the computer but I do remember that the numbers were 6-8,000 for Salmon River and thats not counting the Gaspereau River which has its own run of salmon. Back in the late 70's and early 80's many local salmon fishermen filled their tags right here on Salmon River and her tributaries and only took an occasional trip to the Miramichi or the Cains River in the fall,just for a change of scenery more than anything else. It would really be something to see those days again and you never know,Mother Nature has a way of healing herself,all we have to do is do our part as stewards of the land to help her along.
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