By: René J. Roy
Summer has been poking its head up out of the bogs and mudholes the past few weeks, with temperatures slowly creeping all the way up past 10 or so. It’s practically a heat wave.
With it comes fishing and the annual information releases outlining catch limits, rules, regulations, policies and procedures – all of the not- so-fun stuff associated with throwing a line in the waters. It can get confusing and overwhelming to read through all that, so I’ll do my best to make a bit of sense of it here, starting with the salmon season.
Here on the Southwest Coast, salmon opened last week on Tuesday, June 1. This year, the limit on retention is 2 fish, and they may not be smaller than 12 inches or 30 cm. So if you get a small one, safely return it to the waters. Most of us know this by now, but a refresher never hurts.
Trout opened to much anticipation (by me anyway) in mid-May, and while the numbers are the same as last year, I personally have seen over-retention by some anglers. The limit on retention is 12 fish or 5 lbs plus 1 fish, whichever comes first. But I still see anglers keeping 15,sometimes 20 fish or more in one day’s haul.
Please don’t do this. It’s truly terrible for the fishery. Consider this a personal plea.
The Recreational Food Fishery, or as I like to call it, the Pittance of Cod, opens on Saturday, July 3. The schedule runs in the same style as last year, meaning it’s only open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, with the fall season lasting a full week.
Similar to trouting, I have also seen and heard of people going out time and time again in a single day, getting their 5 Codfish over and over. Again, this is just so bad for the stocks. I know it sucks, only getting 5, but please, just stick to the limit.
The mackerel fishery has also become a regulated fishery, with all four Atlantic Provinces signing off on a measure to keep the stocks healthy.
From now on, we are not allowed any more than 20 mackerel a day, and we are not allowed to keep anything under 28.6 cm (10.5 inches). I have no idea why they chose such a bizarre measurement for the size retention, but if you don’t want to bring a tape measure, here’s a handy tip.
On my trouting rods I have a piece of masking tape on the heavy part, equivalent to 8 inches (minimum retention size for trout). I plan on putting a 10.5 inch piece on my mackerel rod, and when I haul in, all i have to do is hold the rod upright and the fish measures itself.
With all of these rules and regulations, it can be frustrating as hell trying to bring home a meal, or gift away a catch to a hungry friend or neighbour. But the rules and regulations are there to ensure that not only can we do this now, our kids and grandkids can do the same thing in 30 years.
Tight lines, people.