Friday, July 29, 2016

Invasive Technique

I work as a watershed practitioner.  My job is to understand, monitor, conserve, and restore the Kennebecasis River.  The non-profit group I work with has a great understanding of this exceptional waterway and have taken a logical and practical approach to reach their goal.  We do not want to manage a fishery but rather work with nature and help Her combat man-made issues or problems.  The goal is to create a balance where nature and man can live in harmony.  Unfortunately there are some occasions when man tries to manipulate nature and creates more problems.

One such issue occurs when we introduce a preferred game fish to an area with no consideration as to the impacts that species might have on the native stocks.  This is occurring right now in the Kennebecasis River with small mouth bass.  While this game fish is a worthy adversary for anglers, it is this same tenacity that creates issues for native brook trout and Atlantic salmon in the Kennebecasis.  I don't want to argue about pros and cons and the watershed group I work for will continue to manage the watershed and not fish and if the SMB take hold then we carry on.  The situation has come to a point, however, where the Department of Natural Resources, whose job it is to manage New Brunswick sport fisheries, have made some changes to the management of the small mouth bass within our river and this is important information no matter what side of any argument you are on.

A small mouth bass caught on the Kennebecasis River.

To insure you understand these changes I encourage you to learn how to identify small mouth bass and know the rules in your area.  Anglers on the Kennebecasis River, provided you are above tidal waters, can now keep up to five bass which is a large increase over previous years.  Further, the season for small mouth bass has been extended as well.  You can find out about the regulations for your part of New Brunswick by checking out the Fish NB Guide.  The Kennebecasis is part of the Lower Saint John drainage and in the 2016 guide can be found on page 28.

As an angler I have enjoyed a few evenings where I have targeted small mouth at a local pool, the photo above is a fish I managed to take on a blue smurf.  I have also managed to hook a few fall fish as well in the same reach.  Both species can be fairly large and entertaining to catch on a fly rod.  If you can get the SMB to take a top water fly...that is fun.  Remember that if you're fishing the mainstem Kennebecasis that it is fly fishing waters only and the river between McCully Stn Road and Portagevale is also catch and release.  Typically you won't catch small mouth up that high on the river... yet...and this new management approach implemented by DNR should allow trout and salmon to maintain a balance with the small mouth bass. I will likely try to do my part to help maintain the balance of the fishery and the watershed.

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