Articles and links to issues relating to the environment

Passion for Fishing, Conservation Concern and a High School Project

Its been quite a while but I can’t remember any high school projects quite like this one. When a group of students can combine their love for striped bass and the importance of conservation and package it in video format for a high school project – I’m impressed.

Have a look at their video. Way to go guys!

“BETWEEN THE LINES” FULL FILM | Fly Fishing for HUGE Striped Bass from Lonely Osprey Productions on Vimeo.

Finally Fishing!

Its taken a while but I finally managed to assemble the fly rod and put it into action.

Today was the start of the 2013 fishing season – for me.  Earlier in the week I called Chris and arranged to fish the Bing Retreat for the day.  Donna came with me and wandered off to browse the shops in Westboro and Newboro.

It was  a beautiful day for shopping and not bad for fishing it you enjoy tanning.  Mostly blue skies with little breeze made for a comfortable time on the water but probably weren’t as conducive to fish activity as some other conditions.  Despite that, I manage to catch a few, lost a few more and had a number of other hits.  So no complaining.  It was great to get out.

The water temperature was around 62F and clear.  All fish were caught at depth and were in the 12-14 inch range.  I fished until about 3pm and it seemed that the fish were becoming more active towards the end of the day including more surface activity.  The go to fly was the tried and true olive wooly bugger fished on a fast sinking line.

Side entertainment included a massive turtle who followed the float tube for a while.  His feet were almost the size of my flippers (only a slight exaggeration).

After fishing Donna and I drove up to Perth and had dinner at Fiddleheads.

Being on the water from 9:30 to 3pm did me in but it was great to get out.

Favorite Outdoor Places – Where to Start?

What better to think about in the middle of winter while one anticipates the arrival of the new fishing season – my favorite places. That was the prompt this week from the Outdoor Blogger Network.  Sounds like a great idea and it got me thinking.  Interestingly, searching for a photo or two brought me right back to home.  Here are a few photos that struck a cord.  Although all these shots were taken in the fall, they are of places close by where I manage to fish at least three seasons of the year.  Autumn in eastern Ontario is a a spectacular time of year for photographs – maybe the landscape is more forgiving of me at that time of year because I seem to have more shots that I would show in public from this time of year.  These images remind me that home is pretty special.

Project Noble Fish

For most fly fishers catch and release is a at least a common practice and for many it is done almost exclusively.  So some of the questions that arise are how to best handle fish so that upon release they have the best chance to recover quickly and ultimately what are their chances for survival?

Chicago Trout Bum had a post earlier this week that referred to a New York Times Room for Debate article discussing various perspectives on catch and release.  The post generated a whole lot of responses as one would expect.

Aside from what some might suggest are the ethical issues around catch and release, what is the evidence pertaining to physical harm and fish survival?

Some interesting work is being done here in Ottawa at Carleton University.  Dr. Steven Cooke, Associate Professor of Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology leads the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory that is engaged in a variety of research projects pertaining to freshwater and marine fish ecology.  One of his Master’s candidates is Sean Landsman who is looking at the effects of catch and release recreational angling on muskellunge.  I have been following his research through his blog – Project Noble Beast.  What could be better than doing science and fishing?  To me at least, its a fascinating project. Reminds me of the days when I was completing my undergraduate degree in geomorphology (look it up) and fantasized about a masters program studying beach morphology in Hawaii.  But I digress…..

As part of his research Sean actively fishes for muskies on the Ottawa River. An he has some pretty good success.

49 Inch Muskie

Ottawa River MuskieAmong other aspects of his research, Sean monitors the activity of caught muskie by surgically implanting small acoustic transmitters into the fish.  The transmitters can be monitored to provide depth and acceleration (i.e., activity) data as the released fish moves about the river. The goal is to obtain insight into the behavioral ecology of muskies.

TransmittersImplanting Transmitter

The following chart shows the type of data the transmitters provide.  This particular chart is for a shark implanted with a similar transmitter to the ones Sean is using.  For someone who knows what to look for, the chart shows  “activity” patterns that can be interpreted as “resting” and “active” periods.

Transmitter LogAll in all it is a fascinating project and hopefully will provide some valuable insight into fish behaviour following release.

Currents of Belize

I came across this video about fishing life in Belize.  I’ve never been but perhaps one day.  In the meantime, the story of this video gives a great insight into the people of Belize and their lives around the fish that attract so many to their country. The pressures of development are changing the people’s way of life – some for the good but not all. Hopefully a sustainable future will be found for the people who call Belize home.

Currents of Belize from McJ Digital on Vimeo.

Ambitious Fisherman

Now What?…Part Two of Two, originally uploaded by ozoni11.

I can’t say I have ever been in a position where what I have caught is more than I can handle but it looks like that is the case for this guy.

I came across this photo on Flickr. Michael (the photographer) has some fantastic photos including many of other hunters of fish like this Great Blue Heron.

Its a good reminder that we share the resources with a wide variety of creatures and it is a privilege to be able to spend time on the water fishing.

Urban Rivers and Development

I was surprised to read that a national developer – Mattamy Homes was charged and found guilty of violating the Ontario Conservation Authorities Act for arbitrarily deciding to build a berm on the Jock River flood plain without permission from the appropriate authorities.  The Jock River is a smaller Ottawa waterway but an important one that provides a natural compliment to the southern parts of suburban Ottawa.

All too often it seems like urban waterways place a distant second to the never ending demands for residential growth.  Here in the Ottawa area we get regular reports of sewage systems unable to handle the load after a major rainfall with the result that raw sewage is pumped directly into the Ottawa River.  Since no laws are being broken, the motivation to fix the problems seems to be low.  At smaller scales lesser streams are steadily encroached upon by residential development and the general consensus seems to be that the need for more housing takes priority over the need to maintain natural ecosystems within the urban environment.

The Jock River is a case in point.  Last summer several of us who like to fish for the river’s smallmouth bass commented on what seemed to be lower fish populations and higher sediment levels in the water downstream of a Mattamy development.  Probably the berm charge against Mattamy is not related but regardless it is encouraging to see that the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is keeping tabs on the impact urban development is having on local water bodies.

It is interesting that Mattamy is or has been a sustaining member of Friends of the Jock River and in 2005 made a $15,000 donation to the RVCA so perhaps this incident is an oversight – let’s hope so.

Bristol Bay and Wal-Mart

Interesting developments on the Bristol Bay front where Wal-Mart has announced it intends to stock wild Bristol Bay salmon on its shelves.

Wal-Mart has made a commitment that by 2011 all of its wild-caught fresh and frozen fish for the North American market will be sourced from fisheries that meet the Marine Stewardship Council environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

With commercial interests lining up on both sides of the issue it will be interesting to see the impact on the Pebble Mine development decision making process.

… and does this mean I have to shop at Wal-Mart now?

First seen on Mid-Current.