|Nightmares That Just Donít Go Away|
|You know, Iím finally starting to think Iím getting a little too old for this business. Seems the nightmares are telling me this. In fact, the nightmares have been going on continually for the last couple of years. Every evening itís getting to be same old thing. I crawl into bed at ten or eleven oí clock with a good book. In an hour Iím peacefully sawing logs and then just like Scrooge in the Christmas Carol the ghosts of past, present and future appear. Trouble is, these ghosts have nothing to do with Christmas and my nightmares donít have a happy ending. The ghosts that keep haunting me are all about fishing, fishing blunders right across Canada. Seems that a night doesnít go by, when Iím not taunted by the antics of bios and bureaucrats and their decisions that are killing a once great fishery here in Canada.|
|Only in Ontario:|
For starters, there is the mess down on Lake Ontario. Back in the 1970ís and 80ís, the introduction of coho and chinook salmon from the Pacific Northwest transformed the north shore of Lake Ontario into a trollerís paradise. When salmon fever took hold, tackle and marine sales exploded from Kingston to Niagara Falls. It was a common occurrence to count 500 to 1,000 boats on any given day out on the water between Port Credit and Bronte, Ontario. In those days, we had the Toronto Star Great Salmon Hunt and it truly was a ĎGREATí Salmon Hunt. Matter of fact, it was the largest salmon derby of its kind in the entire country.
But for some strange reason the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources began to tinker with this grand sport fishery. Anyone worth their fishing tackle realizes that salmon and steelhead have to imprint to their natal or stocked stream locations. Since most of Lake Ontario salmon are the result of hatchery stocked fish itís imperative that these salmon chinook, coho and steelhead have to be released as far upstream as possible. Early salmon fishing success was due to these young fingerlings being planted far up river in streams such as the Bronte and Credit.
So just what does the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources do these days? The exact opposite. More than half of the Ontario chinook smolt are dumped off piers and break walls. Not properly imprinted, the adults donít come home, donít stage off river mouths and in turn fail to produce a sufficient sport fishery. This stocking strategy is completely asinine. The Ontario government is wasting money, hatchery space and most important, fishing opportunities. Not only are taxpaying anglers out on a dynamic salmon sport fishery, but tackle and marine manufacturers are getting short changed as well. And this all comes at a time when our economy is in the toilet.
|When I was checking out the Ontario Pacific salmon stocking records, I stumbled on another idiotic way our rainbow (steelhead) were being flushed down the toilet, by the supposed MNR Ďspecialistsí. Steelhead (rainbow trout) are another species that has to be carefully imprinted to stream stocking sites to maximize survival and in turn future angler success. Every one of these trout should be stocked as far up a north shore Lake Ontario tributary. What happens in Ontario these days? Fifty percent of these valuable little guys are given the Ďroyalí treatment of upstream release. Fifty percent or more are again recklessly ditched off break walls, piers and waterfronts.|
Heads should roll in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, all the way from the bios and bureaucrats in charge up to the Minister of Natural Resources.
|The Pacific Has Its Problems Too:|
My nightmares concerning the British Columbia sport fishery or the fishery as a whole are a lot more frightful than the idiocy going on in my home province. In British Columbia some of the geniuses at Fisheries and Oceans seem to be leading our salmon stocks right down the road to oblivion.
More than a decade ago I sat down with a number of scientists and DFO bureaucrats who were based in Ottawa and Vancouver and the subject got around to fish farms, salmon and the possible threat to wild British Columbia salmon stocks. Now fish farms are a necessary evil. There are too many people crawling around on this earth of ours and they have to be fed. Commercial netters are raping the oceans and even back then wild fish stocks were disappearing at an alarming rate. Then and even now I look at fish farms as an alternative to wiping the seas of our fish stocks with nets of any kind.
Trouble is even more than a decade ago sitting with these so-called experts and protectors of Canadaís fisheries it was obvious that some of those around me at the table were out of their league at managing a trout pond let alone a fishery, especially one so important as our west coast fishery. You know the saying í the inmates are running the insane asylumí well, letís just say Fisheries and Oceans was the insane asylum and I had a handful of the inmates sitting across from me at the table. You see it was at this meeting that I first learned that the boys from DFO had given the green light to allow the fish farms to grow Atlantic salmon in their pens. Stupid, stupid, stupidÖ. Tell me the truth, does anyone else believe it was a smart move to ship Atlantic salmon from the opposite end of the country and stick them in pens up and down the coast of British Columbia? Hell, for all I know and it wouldnít surprise me, those fish could have come from as far away as Scotland, Sweden or Norway.
I inquired as to what could happen when they escape into the wild? Would they compete with our wild strains of natural Pacific? One smirked and remarked that the scenario was highly unlikely. The same with harming wild stock. It just wouldnít happen they said.
Well, guess what? Over the years thousands of those ĎAtlanticí salmon have escaped. You see, seals and sea lion have a sweet tooth for confined Atlantic salmon and just love tearing those nets apart. When they tear those nets apart the seals and sea lion donít eat them all. Atlantic salmon are now showing up on the spawning grounds of more than a few British Columbia rivers. Rivers which you have to remember are home to native, natural and wild Pacific salmon. The inmates are running the insane asylum.
I also had mentioned that I had seen more than my share of rainbow trout escaping commercial pens. As a matter of fact I had documented hundreds of thousands of Great Lakes raised commercial fish escaping and that was without the aid of seals and sea lions. I inquired why they would not rather have the pens established inland. My idea was the pens could be established near many of British Columbiaís cold water streams and at the same time the fish could still be raised without the fear of escapement. With modern technology small amounts of water could run through the pens and go back to the river even cleaner than it arrived. Again, the cross table smirks.
It was obvious the federally employees were in agreement with the fish growers. Saltwater pens, established in protected Pacific waters were efficient, safe and a lot less expensive than inland confinements. I believe the bottom line wasÖĎa lot less expensiveĎ.
Now, like Iíve mentioned this world of ours needs commercial fish farms to feed our over populated world. But you donít put Atlantic salmon in the Pacific Ocean and you donít put commercial fish rearing pens anywhere near saltwater.
Well, here we are in the dying months of the year 2009. Those Atlantic salmon as noted are escaping. The remaining fish in those pens are also creating quite a bit of controversy up and down the coast of British Columbia. Seems that more and more people are beginning to think like me.
I left that meeting feeling that something stunk and it was coming from a few of the boys that were sitting across from me. Today, more than a decade later that smell is even worse. Those involved at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister who heads it had better pull their heads out of their backsides before we send our fabled west coast Pacific salmon fishery the way of the dinosaur .
The nightmares still come to me nightly.
|Thereís a special individual that lives mid-way up the British Columbia coast that people in this country had better start listening to. This is especially true when it comes to our Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the staffers that collect a pay cheque under her.|
Alexandra Morton is her name and I got my initial introduction to this lady when I visited a website called www.callingfromthecoast.com. Now before I go any further I hope that everyone reading this email will visit and then view two films ďFraser River Sockeye Lice Infestation ď and ďLosing SalmonĒ. These two films tell it all and the telling is a horror story of federal and provincial mismanagement as it pertains to destroying our wild Pacific salmon populations.
Alexandra Morton started out in 1984 studying Killer Whales at her home in the Broughton Archipelago. When salmon farms arrived in 1987 Morton and her neighbours went from welcoming to concern as disease issues arose, sickly escaped Atlantics appeared in the rivers, the whales left and then young wild salmon appeared infected with sea lice. As the only biologist on the grounds, Alexandra began writing 10,000 pages of letters to the government and then did the research herself, finally turning her home into a research station. Researchers from across Canada are doing the science that the government refuses to do to measure the increase of pathogens on wild fish as a result of the fish feedlots. These studies now make it obvious that farm salmon pathogens including sea lice are exploding and the end result will be disastrous for wild salmon stocks.
Well, here we are today. Itís obvious that disaster has struck the Fraser River sockeye stocks. Will the Fraser River sockeye rebound in a few years down the road or will we lose the fishery completely? Also, itís not just sockeye and itís not just the Fraser River. Every species of salmon (chinook, coho, chum, pink and sockeye) that utilizes the Inside Passage migration route could be destined for extinction. There must be an inquiry into fish farm viral and bacterial diseases on the Fraser salmon migration route and places like Clayoquot and Broughton.
Itís time for everyone to smarten up or we are about to lose it allÖ our famous west coast salmon fishery Ö.and once itís gone it will never return.
|The Cops of Fish and Wildlife|
|Thereís a small group of provincial and federal employees out there that are overworked, understaffed, underpaid and under appreciated . These are individuals that for the most part entered their occupation due to their love for the outdoors. As Iíve already noted, conservation officers put in long hours and those hours can be and usually are any time of the day or night. In many parts of Canada, there are fewer conservation officers employed in provinces today than there were a decade ago. As for their pay, most carry sidearms, put their lives in danger daily, but barely get by on their annual income. Then thereís the appreciation factor. Over the years Iíve come to know hundreds of officers and believe me, they are never given the recognition they deserve.|
Do me and yourself a favour. The next time you approach a conservation officer, pause for a moment and thank him or her for the job they are doing protecting our great outdoors.
|Outfitter and Lodge Spotlight|
|Fishing Kyuquot www.fishingkyuquot.com |
In the last newsletter I wrote up a piece about a friend of mine, Matt Guiguet and his partner Kristy Bostrom starting up their new salmon fishing lodge thatís nestled up in the northwest corner of British Columbiaís Vancouver Island in a Village called Kyuquot.. In July, I made my first trip to their operation called Fishing Kyuquot and stayed and their enjoyable little lodge referred to as Miss Charlies.
Well, hereís what Iím about to report. For starters the fishing was some of the finest Iíve experienced in more than 40 years of travelling to the province. Chinook, coho, halibut and ground fish were everywhere and more than receptive. Remember, the waters out from Kyuquot are referred to as the Salmon Highway. Springs and coho passing by Miss Charlies could be heading to a home stream that could be anywhere up and down the coast of Vancouver Island, the Fraser River or into just about any stream in the states of Washington, Oregon or California. Millions of salmon swim by the peaceful little hamlet of Kyuquot.
Besides that, Matt and Kristy are friendly, hospitable folk that go out of their way to please just about any hour of the day. Matt and his number one guide Matt Cyr know the waters like the back of their hands, are accomplished fishers and will have no problem filling your tags.
If you want fish, comfort, hospitality some of the tastiest food and one really great adventure give Matt and Kristy a call.
Oh, and by the way, if itís world class steelheading youíre after, Matt also spends the winter months river guiding the world famous Stamp River.
|Sundís Lodge for the Experience of a Lifetime www.sundslodge.com|
Okay, for starters, letís say Iíve never been to a lodge like Sundís Lodge. Located on 40 scenic, intimate acres on Northern British Columbiaís Malcolm Island, this is a fishing resort that stands alone when it comes to comfort, warmth, attention, service and oh yes, the fishing as well.
It all starts when you arrive by boat after a short ride from Vancouver Islandís Port McNeil. Can you believe the entire staff is out on the dock to greet you with a serenade, a handshake and a hug. At Sundís a maximum of 24 guests means a pampering of personal service that can be found at no other lodge in the country. You can fish to your heartís content, sea kayak, bike into town or just laze around in a hammock or soothe your muscles in one of the two hot tubs. There are twelve guest cabins constructed of log or wood harvested from the surrounding forests. How do I rate the Sundís operation? Well itís not four star or even five star. In my books it goes a lot higher than that. When it comes to the accommodations, the meals, the staff and the surroundings, Iíve never experienced anything like Sundís anywhere in Canada.
Then thereís the fishing. Itís just awesome. Personal experienced guides, 23 foot Aluminum Chambered Boats that are wide and comfortable and waters of the Inside Passage that are almost always calm. Some of the guides have been with Sundís for more than 20 years, they know the waters, the bait and the fish. As for the fish, letís just say that coho and spring salmon are everywhere and the same can be said for the local halibut and bottom fish species.
Sundís Lodge started as a family dream back in 1984 by Dave and Sally Sund. Today, the lodge is owned by Scott and Heather Sund, who purchased the operation and continue the family dream.
Again, Iíve never been to a fishing destination like Sundís Lodge in my 45 years of traveling the globe. The entire experience is an adventure that I refer to as fishing in the purple. The Sundís and their staff always treat you like treasured, long time friends. They go out of their way to make certain that everything is perfectÖand thatís just what it isÖperfect. The perfect fishing and adventure for family, friends or business parties. Sundís Lodge, donít pass it up.
|Leuenbergerís Fly-In Lodge and Wilderness Outposts|
Fifty years ago, an oldtimer by the name of Ernie Leuenberger had a dream, a tent and a borrowed canoe. The dream was to carve a tourism business out of northern Ontarioís rugged bush country. Today that dream is a reality. Leuenbergerís Fly-In Lodge and Wilderness Outposts is one of the countryís largest tourist operators. Their success has been achieved with dedication, hard work, fine hospitality, service and phenomenal fishing for walleye, northern pike, lake trout, brook trout and just about any other fish species that calls Ontario home. Thereís been more than a little upgrading on that tent and borrowed canoe. Leuenbergerís is now one of the largest outfitters across Canada with 16 remote fly-in camps, with each cabin on its own private lake. Then there is the lodge at 20,000 acre Kagianagami Lake, that offers both American or housekeeping options.
As for the fishing, I believe Iíve visited and enjoyed just about each and everyone of the Leuenberger outposts over the years and have never been disappointed. The Leuenberger outpost cabins north of Nakina are all situated on wilderness lakes that abound with fish. Iíve also been spoiled numerous times at the ĎKagí and have never been disappointed by the experience of dropping a jig or trolling a spoon on this massive body of water. Trust me when I say that big fish are everywhere on this huge northern lake. Itís a true trophy fishermanís paradise with lunker walleye, pike and lake trout right out front of the lodge, let alone 20 miles down the lake.
Together Malcolm Leuenberger and his wife Claudine are continuing on with the operation of this paradise in Ontarioís north country. Viewed by everyone as one of Canadaís most reputable fishing destinations, Leuenbergerís Fly-In Lodge and Wilderness Outposts should be a must visit location for the experience of a lifetime for every angler.
|Tackle and Gear That Counts|
|Walker TripZ Divers www.walkerdownriggers.com |
Oh Oh! Heís done it again. Iíve known Randy Ford longer than most people in the Canadian tackle industry and the fellow never fails to amaze me. Heís always thinking and always coming up with new ideas. Heís always trying to come up with a better product for anglers and a better price than his competitors.
This time around he has really brought a product to market that every troller should carry in his tackle box. Letís just say that itís a type of downrigger that can fit in every trollerís tackle box. Itís the Walker TripZ Diver. Now, in the last newsletter I was delighted to pump Randyís new Deeper Diver and before I could hit the send button, Randy came back with the announcement that he was also introducing the all new Walker TripZ Diver. As with his other creations, Randy improved on the older versions of similar divers on the market today. Unlike the planing divers, the TripZ Divers are designed to carry a lure directly down below the boat or off a planer board to the feeding fish. What makes the Walker TripZ Diver better than the rest is a special tripping device that lets the diver release with the impact of the fishís attack on the bait.
Trust me, there should be a place in every anglerís tackle box for A Walker TripZ Diver. Itís going to be a must accessory for every angler whether heís fishing for salmon, bass, trout or anything else that swims. Walker TripZ Divers should be available in tackle shops everywhere for Christmas.
|The TailKnottír www.tailknottr.com |
Hereís a nifty little stocking stuffer for the coming holidays. Itís called the Duncan Tailknottír and itís a great little device for tying knots, cutting super lines and opening bottles. I havenít met an angler yet that can tie all the important knots and for the most part the Tailknott and the Nailknott are two of the most important. Then again, with the Tailknottír you can quickly tie twenty different variations of these original two.
Again, this is no gimmick. Iíve got one attached to my steelhead vest and two others close at hand in my boats.
|Traxstech Fishing Systems www.traxstech.com |
There is a company out of Chesaning, Michigan that blows me away every time I go to their website. If you own a boat, then you want to remember the name Traxstech. In my humble opinion Traxstech Fishing Systems is one of the most innovative builders of marine and fishing options in the industry today. Iíve always been a believer in the fact that the less holes drilled in a boat the better. The Traxstech system does just that. It eliminates the need for drilling a multitude of holes all around your boat.
Traxstech Systems manufactures sliding mounting tracks for downriggers, rod holders, trolling bar assemblies, planer board masts, boat cleats and just about anything and everything that has to be mounted on a boat. Even better when you slide any given mount out of a Traxstech mount, you can simply slide in a nifty and attractive step pad to take its place
As I noted, Iím blown away whenever I go to their website. This time around, theyíve Ďhookedí me again. First it was with their TH-100 Tool and Beverage Combo and then their new TGR-160 sliding Barbecue Grill
Do yourself a favour and check out their website www.traxstech.com . Youíll quickly discover just what youíve been missing.
|I had to slip this one in before I finished up this newsletter. Over the years Iíve had my son Joshua on the Going Fishing series more than a few times. On the other hand, thereís my daughter Jess who has only made the airwaves once with me over the years.|
Trust me, she can fish, is enthusiastic and a heck of a lot better looking than her brother. I plan to make up for a lot of lost time on the water with her in the years ahead.
|Speaking of kids, thereís no denying that we need an injection of youth into this sport of ours. A, lot of my counterparts in the tackle industry want to deny the fact, but the truth is we are loosing young anglers in the sport of fishing. Seems today, that youngsters are more interested in Ipods, computers and headphones. |
Please do me a favor and yourself one at the same time. Christmas is just around the corner. If you have a youngster in the family or even a youngster next door, inject a little fishing into holiday season. Fishing tackle, especially the starter kitís are for the most part inexpensive. Angling is a great sport and also allows the family to play together and stay together.
Check out the site below: