Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crown Water Surprise

This blog was originally published in the April 9th Kings County Record.  I am super excited to take this trip but I have a ton to learn.  I have been reading as much of the chatter on as I can Thankfully I have some friends who have more experience salmon fishing than I do, but no more enthusiasm.

This is an odd time of year.  Hockey is over, baseball hasn’t started, and fishing season is a week away still.  That doesn’t mean I have nothing to do though.  I’ve pulled out the glove, cleats, soccer balls and all kinds of equipment in anticipation.  First up is fishing so yesterday I pulled out the fly rod and reel and checked it over and for good reason.  A little more than a month ago some friends asked me if I wanted to join them in submitting an application for the Crown waters reserve.  That was a no brainer and I jumped at it. 

To my surprise, our group was lucky enough to get drawn for a Crown pool on the Northwest Miramichi.  I can’t wait!!!  Now I have to learn about fly fishing for salmon.  I only started fly fishing two years ago and while I’m comfortable casting for trout, Atlantic salmon on the Miramichi will be a new challenge.  The trip should provide some good material for my column though.

Already I learned a great deal about how to apply for Crown waters angling and what exactly that means and costs.  For roughly $102 plus my angling license, food, and fuel, I will have 2 days of fishing on 6 pristine kilometres of river and a cabin to lay my head at night.  I’ve paid more than that for a cot at a seedy hotel in a questionable neighbourhood. 

Our date in late June is early in the Atlantic salmon season so our chances of catching a trophy salmon are made even slimmer.  Trout should still be plentiful while we’re there though.  Really, it won’t matter if we catch anything, at least for me, because we’ll be in a location where we have to leave pavement, cell reception, and stress behind.  Further, that section of the Miramichi River is “catch and release” so I won’t be eating what I catch.  I’ll take lots of pictures of what I catch though or what the others catch.
Catch and release is a great fisheries management tool, especially if the angler is conscientious about how he handles the fish he hooks.  Barbless hooks add a level of sport and make releasing a fish much easier.  Limiting the time you play the fish is also crucial as is limiting the time you keep it out of the water, so I’ll be taking pictures of the fish while they’re still in the water.

There is a catch and release section on the Kennebecasis River to help improve trout populations.  If you plan on fishing the main stem of the Kennebecasis River this summer make sure you know where the catch and release sections are.  The Fish NB guide book is a great resource for all the angling restrictions in the province.  To help out even more you can complete a creel census through the Department of Natural Resources website, through the guide, or if you’re fishing the Kennebecasis you can anonymously fill out a creel survey on the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee’s website.  Survey’s like this are required on the Crown pools and help managers make decisions on strategies for the next angling season.

Obviously, since I’m already writing about it, I’m excited about this trip.  If you’re reading this column you’re likely excited for fishing season to get started.  I encourage you to fish with conservation in mind so that there are trout and salmon for years to come.  See you on the water.
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