Sea Run Brook Trout
Some things occur every year in nature, and if one is observant, you can make your own little timetable of awareness. The phenomenon, known as phenology, states that certain things are synchronized in nature so that organisms benefit.
A great example of phenology is one of my very favourite things – and it is occurring right now. Brook trout in some rivers in Nova Scotia don’t live their entire lives in the river they were born in. Some trout go out into the brackish water at the mouth of their home streams, and some actually go out into the sea. These sea run trout do this every year at about the same time, but not by the calendar, but rather by a timing known only to themselves, and those of us that observe. The run of sea living trout back into their original watershed is called by some the “Strawberry Run”. You see, the timing of the run is controlled by the same weather, water levels and moon stage as the strawberry blossoms and ripening fruit. Just when the strawberries start to be harvested, the sea run brook trout enter Cape Breton’s rivers.
Of course, being a good scientist, I have to often test this hypothesis, and so I’ll be on streams like the Middle, Margaree and North Rivers to ascertain that all is well with Nature’s rhythms. Hopefully, I will be rewarded with the sight of dozens of trout entering the rivers, and if so, I shall greet them enthusiastically, and perhaps introduce myself by shaking hands with them after a fly well placed causes them to come to my hand.
I suppose our trips to Cape Breton also have a sort of phenological component – Norma and I were married in Baddeck, Cape Breton 42 years ago, and we come back most summers – Norma loves to smell the roses and see the lupins in bloom. I wonder if anyone besides the trout notices?