Blue Fish Canada recently produced 14 Feel the Bite TV interstitials for Accessible Media TV. Each interstitial includes Lawrence Gunther, his guide dog Moby, and special guests on the water talking about fish, their biology and habitat, and environmental pressures that are impacting their viability. Each 3-minute episode includes a stewardship tip. The interstitials are now available for viewing on the “Feel the Bite” YouTube channel.
The 24 hour fish-a-thon organized in partnership between Blue Fish Canada and the Ottawa River Keeper went as smooth as could be expected. Weather was calm, water conditions were stable, media showed up on schedule, volunteers all contributed as promised, and no one got hurt. About the only thing that could have been better was the fishing (LOL). In spite of that, we still managed to capture and release 12 species of fish from the Ottawa River within the boundaries of the city of Ottawa over a 24-hour period from a single boat.
Segment One — 8:00-11:00 a.m.:
John Anderson from the Ottawa River Musky Factory and Hallie Cotnum from CBC Ottawa Radio jumped on board my Ranger Fisherman 620 along with my right hand for this project, Jason Cox. My guide dog Moby was also with me throughout. Lots of room for all. We started with a blast up the river that completely reconfigured Hallie’s hair for radio, and then began casting large Muskie plugs. Four rods, four baits, eight treble hooks, and 24 hook points, but in spite of our raising three fish and one actual bite, no fish in the boat. Tons of fun though, and Hallie gave stellar coverage including an 8-minute edited radio piece she recorded on the boat.
Segment Two — 11:00-3:00 p.m.:
This second segment had Rob Jackson from RJ and Birdy Outdoors aboard for a session of Gar hunting. It’s truly a visual sport in that you first need to spot these torpedoes in the shallows and then present specially modified baits within inches of the Gar’s face. We had a ton of fun stocking these predators from the bow of the Ranger and some success as well with the largest caught measuring about 35 inches. The Ottawa River Keeper camera boat was following us, but I don’t think they had it easy given the stump fields RJ had us threading in pursuit of these shallow water fish.
Segment Three — 3:00-7:00 p.m.:
This afternoon segment was intended to be the easiest in that we were to pursue panfish (e.g. Sunfish, Crappy, Bluegill, etc.). Our featured guests included Yvonne Brown from Fishing 101 for Women, Meredith Brown the official Ottawa River Keeper, Meredith’s son Charlie, the President of the Ottawa Fishing Club David Mingie, and another three folks from Ottawa River Keeper. Two boats, nine fishing rods, perfectly calm sunny weather, and we could not buy a bite. I had a Perch on with my first cast, and that was it for us all. The lesson in Segment Three was fishing is no guarantee of actually catching.
Segment Four — 7:00-12:00 a.m.:
Yanick Loranger of Ottawa River Guided Fishing came aboard to see about putting us on some Walleye and catfish. Successful on all counts, including more Perch and first appearances by a Sauger and several other panfish species. We didn’t venture far from Oziles Marina for this as there are boating hazards in the area, and we didn’t want to take the chance of a night time rescue. I found funny the total dependency Yanick and Jason have for light. They really struggled in the moonless black-out conditions in spite of the ever-constant anchor light at the stern.
Segment Five — 12:00-5:00 a.m.:
For me this midnight to first light segment was the most difficult. I could not sit down without slipping into sleep. Having started the day before quite early already, the segment signified my going 24 hours without sleep. Joining Jason, Moby and I on the boat for this portion were two fine local brothers who are well regarded as top-shelf anglers – Anthony and Andrew. Our goal was Bass and Pike or anything else that lurks in the dark. Turns out our experience with the panfish earlier the day before was to continue. Finally though, after the four of us casted all manner of baits continuously for five hours, we managed to boat a couple decent Smallmouth Bass just as the sun was breaking over the horizon. Mission accomplished!
Segment Six — 5:00-8:00 a.m.:
Our expert angler for this final segment was Nigel Touhey, well known and respected tournament angler. Also joining us aboard the Ranger was Sarah Freemark from CTV Morning television along with her videographer. Prior to shoving off from the Oziles doc, Nigel took me aside to say that he had been scouting the water the day prior and was worried about the fish not cooperating. Yup, new all about this little issue already. But, Nigel came through, found us a stretch of main Ottawa River channel that was about 25-feet in depth, and most importantly, held fish that bit. Bass, Perch, Rock Bass, Sunfish and Bluegill all made their way aboard the boat on the end of Sarah and my lines. Between catching fish, we broadcast seven live TV segments for a total of 16 minutes of coverage. A great way to end the fish-a-thon.
Out of the 85 various species of fish that call the Ottawa River home, we contacted, caught and released the following species:
4. Largemouth Bass
5. Smallmouth Bass
6. Channel Catfish
7. Long Nose Gar
8. Rock Bass
9. Blue Gill
10. Pumpkin Cede
11. Black Crappy
12. Yellow Perch
All were released alive and well.
For more coverage of this event:
Ottawa River Keeper Blog: http://www.ottawariverkeeper.ca/11-species-of-fish-caught-in-24-hours/
CBC Morning news coverage:
Ottawa – June 2015: Blue Fish Canada in partnership with Ottawa Riverkeeper has organized a 24-hour fish-a-thon to take place June 25-26 on the Ottawa River to showcase the tremendous variety of fish species (over 85) that call the river home.
“It’s our intention to raise public awareness of the incredible diversity of the Ottawa River’s rich aquatic ecosystem that exists right at our doorstep,” states Meredith Brown, Riverkeeper and Executive Director of Ottawa Riverkeeper.
Special guests will be joining Lawrence Gunther to catch and release fish species including: Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Walleye, Large and Small Mouth Bass, Catfish, Drumb, Carp, Gar, Perch and all manner of panfish.
Members of the media are invited to join Lawrence or observe the action directly from a second media boat. Live updates will be published in real-time on Facebook (Ottawa.riverkeeper, Lawrence Gunther), Instagram and Twitter (@ottriverkeeper and lawrencegunther). Lawrence and his guests will be fishing aboard a 20-foot multi species fishing boat provided by Orleans Boat World and Sports.
The event will be staged out of Ozile’s Marina located at 1009 Trim Road Orleans (Ottawa), and will begin at 8am on Thursday June 25th and end on Friday 8am June 26th.
A Q&A session with Media is scheduled for Friday June 26th from 8AM to 10AM at Ozile’s Marina.
Special guests include:
John Anderson from the Ottawa River Musky Factory: www.ottawarivermuskyfactory.com
Rob Jackson from RJ and Birdy Outdoors: www.rjnbirdeesoutdooradventures.ca
Yvonne Brown from Fishing 101 for Women: www.fishing101forwomen.ca
Yanick Loranger from Ottawa River Guided Adventures: www.ottawariverfishing.ca
Nigel Touhy Winner of the 2014 Ottawa River Shootout Classic
24-Hour Fish-a-thon / Ottawa River
June 25-26, 2015
Time / Date
Thurs June 25
|Oziles Marine||John Anderson and Hallie Cotnam|
Thurs June 25
|ON the Water||John Anderson and Hallie Cotnam|
Thurs June 25
|Oziles Marine||Rob Jackson and special guest|
Thurs June 25
|ON the Water||Rob Jackson and special guest|
Thurs June 25
|Oziles Marine||Yvonne and Meredith Brown|
Thurs June 25
|ON the Water||Yvonne and Meredith Brown|
Thurs June 25
|Oziles Marine||Yannick Loranger and surprise guest|
Thurs June 25
|ON the Water||Yannick Loranger and surprise guest|
Fri June 26
|ON the Water||Lawrence Gunther|
Fri June 26
|Oziles Marine||Nigel Toui and Sarah Freemark|
|5:30 to 8:00 a.m.
Fri June 26
|ON the Water||Nigel Toui and Sarah Freemark|
Fri June 26
|Oziles Marine||On-shore media interviews|
For more information contact:
Riverkeeper and Executive Director, Ottawa Riverkeeper
Office: (613) 321-1120
Mobile: (613) 864-7442
President, Blue Fish Canada
Telephone: (613) 298-3028
Toronto, ON – Two volunteers from Blue Fish Canada traveled to Toronto to take part in the People in Motion Show over two days at the end of May. Show management generously donated a 20×20 space and arranged for media coverage.
In addition to distributing stewardship guides and shoreline clean-up kits, two 30-minute presentations were given on stage by Lawrence Gunther on the importance of fish and how they can change our lives. Toronto’s City TV also interviewed Lawrence which aired on the 6: p.m. news on Friday evening for 2.5 minutes. Volunteers slept in the camper in the Toronto Exhibition Place parking lot.
Two volunteers from BFC traveled to Cornwall Ontario to take part in the annual public open house event organized by the St. Lawrence River Institute for Environmental Science. Several presentations were taken in and exhibits from a number of organizations were visited.
Blue Fish Canada took part in the Ottawa Boat and Sportsman Show over four days in February. Show organizers donated a 10×10 space and media coverage. Blue Fish was co-located in the Anglers’ Village as one of six fishing related membership organizations. ATV interviewed Lawrence Gunther live on opening day, and Lawrence presented on stage on the topic of ten tips to being a steward of your favourite fishing hole. Shoreline clean-up kits, Stewardship Guides, and information about Blue Fish Canada was distributed.
Two volunteers from Blue Fish Canada traveled to Toronto to take part in the Toronto Sportsman Show the first week of February. Show organizers donated a prime 20X5 space for the exhibit. Over the four day show over 1,000 shoreline clean-up kits were distributed along with Blue Fish Canada stewardship training material. Dinners each night were generously provided by Gary Morrisby of Four Wheel Campers Canada.
For the second year in a row the Petrie Island Fishermans’ Association donated their proceeds from their annual ice fishing derby to Blue Fish Canada. A volunteer with Blue Fish attended the closing awards event and spoke about what the funds would be used for and offered thanks for the generous donation that earned just over $1,400.
Walter Ostar of the Canadian National Sportsman Show Conservation Fund generously agreed to donate $1,000 to Blue Fish Canada to support the printing of the new stewardship guide, “How to be a Steward of Your Favourite Fishing Hole”. The guide is intended to teach fishers and others interested in aquatic ecosystems or who have property bordering such systems how to ensure the sustainability of fish and the quality of the water. The guide will be distributed free of charge at shows and events.
Over a period of two days Lawrence Gunther took part in the Living Water Rally in Almyr Quebec. Lawrence represented Blue Fish Canada in the planning of the event, was the MC at one of the pannel presentations, and provided input during the closing discussions that led to the drafting of an action statement. The Fresh Water Alliance had selected Blue Fish Canada as a grant recipient earlier in the year. The goal of Blue Fish Canada was to ensure healthy and sustainable fishing was included as a shared objective in the Rally’s final statement.
Following is the statement:
OTTAWA, ON (October 6, 2014)—The following statement is issued by the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, a project of Tides Canada, and organizer of Living Waters Rally 2014, a biennial gathering of Canada’s freshwater leaders October 3-6 in Ottawa/Gatineau:
Canada’s waters are suffering. Lakes are choked by algae blooms. Rivers are overflowing their banks, with others dangerously close to drying up. Drinking water supplies are compromised. Struggling fish populations are often unfit for consumption.
Healthy, living waters are essential to the health and prosperity of our communities and the survival of all species. We are blessed in Canada to still have some of the world’s most pristine waters and thus a global obligation to protect them and to restore those waters that are suffering—before it’s too late.
This past weekend, 110 delegates of Living Waters Rally 2014—representing recreational, indigenous, cottage association, faith, philanthropic, environmental, business, academic, and arts and culture groups from across Canada—came together to discuss the future of Canada’s freshwaters.
The people of Canada deserve to know the health of their home waters and that many are increasingly at risk and need to be able to know which ones are healthy. We need regular, independent public assessment of and reporting on the health of our waters.
Protecting and restoring the health of our waters will require leadership. Canada needs a legal and policy framework that sets a high standard of accountability and transparency.
Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, live in harmony with nature and place a spiritual and sacred value on water and have rights to maintain and strengthen their relationships with traditionally occupied lands and waters pursuant to treaties, aboriginal title and aboriginal rights. Hence, indigenous peoples engage in the movement to protect our waters.
We invite many more people and organizations to be engaged in the protection and restoration of Canada’s freshwater. We will build and strengthen the water movement to ensure that all our waters are in good health—swimmable, drinkable and fishable.