This is a condensed version of a my column that appeared in the Kings County Record back on May 10th, 2011. This is a topic that I feel is important and I hope that our provincial government doesn't make a knee jerk decision simply to please a few boisterous and ill informed voters. I hope that science and resource conservation win out on this one because if not, I'm afraid we won't have the trout around for much longer.
Now, I know what you're thinking "Oh no, here he goes again talking about a great day casting a line on the water." While I will touch on that, this column is a bit different. I have read in the local papers recently that people are asking the provincial government to increase the bag limit on brook trout and I have to take the bait (pun intended.) I have to ask WHY? Fishing is not about killing a fish for food anymore. I can only think of one type of individual that might actually be fishing simply to feed his family. Most of us now fish for the pure enjoyment of it.
If you want fish to eat, you can more readily and economically purchase it from your local grocery store. You would save the cost of your fishing license, the gas to get to the river, the cost of a pole and tackle, and as noted by one individual your ATV fuel, registration and insurance, your trailer inspection and insurance, and your boat license, registration and insurance. When I go fishing with my son the rule is if you kill it you eat it. Why do we need to kill a fish we aren't going to eat? Why not let it go so when we need it there to feed us it will be there.
Fishing, or more appropriately here angling, is about the sport and challenge of catching a big brook trout in less than optimum circumstances. Anglers will cast a single hooked line numerous times across a pool trying to entice a brookie to take the bait. An angler will use a light test weight line and a barbless hook just to make the challenge all the more enjoyable.
I will take and eat a trout from time to time but I can't see a need to increase the bag limit. If our trout populations were high enough to sustain an increase in the bag limit then maybe I could agree. There is no evidence stating that our trout can accommodate this. This is especially true if you consider the ever increasing stress that we continue to place upon them with development and natural resource harvesting as well as the unforeseen impacts of changing climates.