I do love fly fishing for brook trout. This last week, I went with my cousin Don on our annual wilderness canoe trip and we had a ball as always. The trout weren’t as cooperative as in some other years as the wind and water were higher than normal, but the trip was fun anyway. We paddled for 7 hours and saw the beautiful back country of Nova Scotia paralleling a designated wilderness area all along our route.
The last hour was most interesting, as the wind finally dropped, and the mayfly hatch that we’d seen some signs of began in earnest, and soon the river was dappled with rising trout. The mayfly hatch is an awesome sight, where thousands of insects swarm the low bush along the water’s edge, and then as some settle onto the water to dry their wings, they become a prime target for the hungry trout below. It makes for hard fly fishing, as the trout zero in on the real flies instead of the fake, but it is a sight that you don’t ever forget.
With the introduction in the mid-1900’s of smallmouth bass and chain pickerel to the Province’s water, we’ve seen many streams, particularly in south western Nova Scotia, simply have trout pushed out, as the bass push the trout out of breeding spots, and the pickerel just eat anything in sight – and love small trout! It’s too bad these two invasive species have thrived and have been helped by illegal introductions by folks who think there are no trout left here. Those people are wrong – wrong to think there are no trout, and wrong to think that bass and pickerel will do no environmental harm.
I hope that in the future Donnie and I can continue to go paddling and see the sight of hundreds of rising trout and millions of mayflies. It’s something worth preserving, and people need to know it is under threat. The Province has put in new rules about not having live fish in one’s possession – which is a good first step. I hope there are many more steps to come. The Brook Trout need us to pay attention!