Another post on conservation related subject because it’s on my mind.Â It stems from recent discussions and some of my thoughts on what I find baffling:Â Trying to turn the Conestogo River into a brown trout river when there is already populations of native fish in the river.
I would like to see “enhancement” for many of Ontario’s fish species. And as a very good friend of mine pointed out, not just Smallmouth Bass, but Northern Pike as well.
Consider this: The Grand River tailwater section is stocked annually with about 20 to 25 thousand Brown Trout annually. These are not naturally occurring fish in Ontario – although they were introduced to the Province many years ago and have done well in some streams and rivers. Well enough that they are able to reproduce on their own.
In The Grand River, there is no such hard evidence that there is any substantial reproduction going on.
And what do the fishing regulations say?
Well, trout in the tailwater section of the Grand must be released immediately.
What about other species such as Smallmouth Bass?Â Nope – no special regulations apply.Â No special regulations apply to Northern Pike.Â Yet, the primary species of fish in that section of water is Brown Trout!
This makes no sense to me.
I suggest that there is an “elitism” among some fly anglers especially, in regard to trout.Â Why exactly that is, I don’t know.Â There also seems to be some attitutides that it is only trout anglers that clean up garbage or that spend their resources on stream enhancement projects.
This of course is nonsense as well.
Just as there are some who fish for Bass or Walleye and don’t respect the rules, or leave junk around – there are a LOT of Trout and Salmon anglers who are the same.Â I know this to be a fact – I’ve seen it, I’ve picked up myself after some Trout and Salmon anglers, and have found myself disgusted by the actions of some Trout and Salmon anglers in regard to their treatment of the habitat of trout and salmon.
On the side of the token, there are many Bass and WalleyeÂ anglers who prefer to fish for their favorite species, and who donate their own time and resources in cleanups, enhancement, and conservation.Â I have an acquaintance who participates in Bass Tournaments in Southern Ontario.Â I accepted an invitation from him to go fishing in his boat, and took along one of my sons for the experience.Â At the dock area, this guy was busy picking up other people’s trash both before we put the boat into the water and after we took it out.
The fish we caught – every one a Bass – were ALL released back into the water after they were caught.
These generalizations that some make – and from my experience, these generalizations seem more popular among those who focus on trout 99% of the time.
But I’ll tell you what – discover there is a big pike in some of their favorite water, eating their favorite Brown Trout, and you’ll find just exactly how “conservation” minded some of these folk can be.Â “Kill the pike!”
Even though the pike is in it’s own native natural habitat.
There are some fly angling clubs and associations that simply focus on trout.Â And – let me be clear:Â They do a great job! They work hard on river and stream enhancement. But, it’s with the focus of a non-native species in mind – that some seem to have more interest in “protecting” than those fish native to the area.Â Trout are given a “god-like” status.
And yes, they sure are pretty! And a blast to catch.
A trout is just a fish. It ought not to be seen as any more important than other species – and I’d suggest that it might make for a good debate to wonder if here in Ontario, we shouldn’t be giving the Brown Trout less importance over the species of fish that occur naturally – and could probably use some help.
Does it make logical sense to continue applying special regulations to Brown Trout, when they are stocked annually, and already outnumber by an enormous margin, the natural species that exist?