To see a Complete Photo set, click here.
My cousin Don and I go back a long time. As kids we used to fish at my family’s summer place in Yarmouth County on the Annis River, catching whatever would hit our various collected tackle. Don and I both attended Acadia University together and we fished and hunted in the Annapolis Valley and along the South Shore. Don’s Dad, my Uncle Don and my Dad and the two of us also did trips together hunting and fishing, but the spring trout trip was always the highlight. After University, Don and I lived across the Province from each other and we didn’t get together as much with family and careers interfering as they do. In 2007 Uncle Don passed away and Don and I said at the funeral that we’d have to uphold the tradition, and how appropriate it would be if I went with Don on what had been Uncle Don’s greatest pleasure – the spring trout trip from Don’s camp in the middle of the Province, which is located bordering a wilderness area.
All this to say that Part 2 of Home Waters is dedicated to my Uncle Don, and while I can’t for obvious reasons name the actual watershed, let’s just call it – Wilderness Trout Streams of Nova Scotia.
Don and I met early in the morning at his family camp, and quickly loaded the canoe and gear into his car. We drove the three miles or so along a logging road to this particular day of wilderness travel and fishing, and prepared to launch. The water was quite fast flowing, as we had a rain about three days before, but the freshet made for good canoeing – in a place where last year we had to drag the boat, on this trip we simply cruised right through. The upper parts of the stream yielded some fish, but it was after the first big portage that we really got into some good fishing. I think sometimes people are not willing to work their way back into the more remote areas, but in any case for us it paid off. As we approached a large Stillwater section, we could see dozens of trout rising to what became a very memorable hatch.
In fact on our second day, the hatch was so think that we could actually count more than 50 rises at a time to what looked like a small blizzard of flies! Don and I practice catch and release almost totally – we kept only 4 trout in the two days, keeping only those fish that we hurt by hooking too deeply. My total released would be well over 100, and Don probably had as many, so one can quickly see that in some remote areas there is still good trout fishing in Nova Scotia. The thing is, though, that this type of fishing is at threat from Human activity. One threat is logging, which causes warmer water as it strips the protective vegetation away, and while the companies are supposed to leave a 50 or 60 foot “green zone”, I don’t feel this is nearly enough to avoid impacting the streams. Then there are the invasive species – humans have spread both chain pickerel and smallmouth bass around the Province illegally, and both of these species push trout out of some habitat, and pickerel in particular seem to severely limit trout populations, being the type of predator that pickerel are. While the streams we fished in these two days are not yet impacted by invasive species, there are bass and pickerel further down the watersheds, and so it may only be a matter of time. As well, we witnessed many places that seem to be logged quite close to the water, and of course, climate change may also play a role before too long.
In any case, this particular Home Water is one Don and I both love, as did Uncle Don before us, and hopefully as generations to come may as well. It is my passionate belief that if we all realize the gems we have in these waters, and if we all do what we can to help (perhaps by joining associations like Trout Unlimited Canada), the waters can be protected and as a result our children and their children will still get to experience the Home Waters of the Nova Scotia Brook Trout.