Blue Fish News – June 21, 2020

It was not that long ago that I competed in over 2-dozen fishing tournaments in a season. As a blind angler, my reputation as someone who could feel even the lightest bite was earned by regularly placing ahead of most of my competition. I totally get the allure of fishing competitively and continue to compete in about a dozen tournaments each year for everything from bass to walleye to muskie and even carp. All this to say, tournament anglers understand the connection between keeping fish healthy and the future of their sport. This year is different though, this year we also need to think about a whole new range of issues related to keeping safe ourselves that goes way beyond life jackets and sun exposure – COVID-19.

In the Blue Fish News this week we bring you a special to ensure anglers have the knowledge needed to understand the unusual “one-health” issues the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced to competitive bass fishing. As always, we bring you the latest fishing, fish health and water quality news. And finally, check out our fully vetted and approved sustainable fishing tips when competing in bass tournaments – good luck everyone and stay safe.

Editor Lawrence Gunther with a 4lb Largemouth Bass

Ontario’s Bass Season Opener and Covid-19 One-Health Concerns

Across southern Ontario bass fishing season is in the process of opening up. It is a moment many speculated might not happen in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Well, a lot of bright minds have given the matter considerable thought and plans are now underway to commence tournament bass fishing. Anglers understand the one-health connection between themselves and the fish, but this year they are faced with a third priority. In addition to catching the biggest bass and making sure they go back alive; we also need to stay COVID-19 free – the stakes have never been greater. The following three resources may not help you sleep the night before that big bass fishing tournament, but will give you the one-health knowledge to keep both the bass and yourself healthy.

The Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation is one of the biggest competitive bass tournament organizations in Ontario having 25 chapters and over 800 members. No wonder then their executive has been working overtime to figure out how to hold bass fishing tournaments without putting their members or the resource at risk. It is an uncharted “one-health” predicament that recognizes the connection between fish and anglers in ways never imagined. Link below to hear OBN’s VP and Conservation Director Jason Barnucz speak with Lawrence Gunther about the good news and the bad for the upcoming 2020 OBN bass fishing season on this episode of Blue Fish Radio:

Dr. Bruce Tufts runs the freshwater research centre at Queen’s University and knows a thing or two about catching and releasing fish alive. He is also looked inside more than his fair share of fish to learn just what makes them thrive, which led to his team’s developing the Shimano live release weigh-in system including a live-release boat. Dr. Tufts is also a world leader in the field of understanding the impacts invasive gobies are having on spawning Great Lakes and St Lawrence Bass – crucial information every angler should know. Link below to hear Dr. Tufts speak about his research, and his thoughts on kids spending time on the water on this episode of Blue Fish Radio:

We already established the fact that Dr. Bruce Tufts is an expert on researching and conducting field studies on bass in Ontario. But did you know that because of Dr. Tufts research that the government of Ontario recently conducted consultations this past spring on whether to change the rules governing the capture and harvest of both Smallmouth and Largemouth bass in Lake Ontario and the Upper St. Lawrence (FM Zone 20)? Link below to learn about Dr. Tufts’ latest research on how climate change is impacting the timing of bass spawning, and the government’s range of proposed changes on this episode of Blue Fish Radio:

**Don’t forget to take the Blue Fish Steward 12-question Quiz and enter your name to win one of seven great prizes totalling $750 in value**

The Latest Fishing, fish Health and Water Quality News

Fish and Fishing:

Free fishing weekend in Ontario June 20-21 for Father’s Day – Government of Ontario
Canadian residents can fish in Ontario without buying a fishing licence during: Family Fishing Weekend in February; Mother’s Day Weekend in May; Father’s Day Weekend (June 20-21); and, Family Fishing Week (July 4-12).

Shimano Steps up to Support Bass Weigh-In Best Practices – Renegade Bass Tour
Renegade Bass Tour is pleased to announce that Shimano has stepped up and purchased a weigh-in bag for each competing team. With new Covid-19 weigh-in procedures designed to keep both anglers and fish safe and healthy, each team will receive a new bag to use for the season to ensure accurate weights and optimum fish health. At the end of the season, teams can either return the bags, or purchase the bags for $40, in which case the funds will be donated by Shimano to Tufts Lab at Queens University in support of Dr. Tufts’ on-going research on weigh-in best practices to optimise fish health.

Early Positive Signs of Strong Atlantic Salmon returns Continue – Atlantic Salmon Federation
There are large and extremely healthy wild Atlantic salmon noted in rivers from Maine to Newfoundland. While water levels are dropping almost everywhere, there are some remarkable stories of the runs this year.

Pikeminnow still need to be caught despite cancellation of Cultus Lake fishing derby – Abbotsford News
Organizers of annual pikeminnow derby asking folks to continue to help get rid of the predatory fish. In turn, folks will be giving an endangered species of salmon a chance to survive. The event, which is held on Father’s Day weekend every year, typically attracts 400 to 500 people but this year it has been cancelled due to the COVID-19

Do carbonated beverages reduce bleeding from gill injuries in angled Northern Pike? – bioRxiv
The use of carbonated beverages to treat bleeding fish is an intervention practiced by some anglers. To assess the validity of the practice, scientists captured Northern Pike via hook and line, experimentally injured their gills in a standardized manner, and treated them with carbonated softdrinks and observed the duration and intensity of bleeding. The researchers found that the duration and intensity of bleeding increased regardless of the type of carbonated beverages used in this study. No scientific evidence was found to support the use of carbonated beverages for reducing or stopping blood loss for fish that have had their gills injured during recreational angling.

Invasive shrimp in Okanagan Lake still an issue after 50 years – InfoNews
By the time the B.C. government realized that introducing mysis shrimp into Okanagan Lake was a bad idea, it was too late. The Ministry of Environment thought the shrimp would provide a food source for the declining Kokanee fish population, but their science was flawed and has led to unforeseen consequences.

Water Quality:

Earth’s Largest Waterfall is Under the Ocean – EarthSky
Earth’s largest waterfall – known as the Denmark Strait cataract – begins 2,000 feet (600 meters) under the ocean surface near the southern tip of Greenland. From there, it plunges down nearly 3 km to the ocean floor.

Final Report – Nature-Based Climate Solutions Summit
Last February I attended the Nature-Based Climate Solutions Summit in Ottawa in my capacity as a member of the media. Interest in the topic of nature-based climate solutions was overwhelming with the Summit being capped at 400 participants. Clearly, the appetite for these conversations is there, and Summit organizers want to ensure that the momentum continues despite the current circumstances with COVID-19. The final Summit report containing links to videos of many of the sessions is now available.

Ontario Restores Environmental Rights – CELA – Canadian Environmental Law Association
The government of Ontario restored the 1994 Environmental Bill of Rights on June 15, 2020. Ontario suspended key provisions of the EBR in early April prompting 50 civil society organizations to raise concerns over the suspension as it eliminated public knowledge and accompanying rights to stay informed about environmentally significant decisions using the Environmental Registry.


Master Promotions Acquires Canadian National Sportsman Shows – Master Promotions Ltd.
Halifax, Canada-based Master Promotions Ltd announced on Wednesday that it has acquired five major-market consumer boat and sporting goods shows from Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows (CNSS). This includes one of the biggest and oldest outdoor shows in Canada, the Toronto Sportsman Show. Master Promotions has been producing trade shows and consumer shows across Canada since 1973, and several years back acquired the Ottawa Boat Show from CNSS.


Step up to your plate of sustainable seafood – The Chronicle Herald
The world has changed. Canadians have changed. As part of that change, we need to increasingly value what we have as a country and what our natural ecosystems continue to produce — for ourselves and for the world., With Covid-19 playing havoc with our traditional food chains, it is a fitting occasion to remind ourselves of Canada’s extraordinary potential to establish secure, long-term access to wild, organic sustainable seafood, rich in protein, nutrients and oils. Yet despite having the world’s longest coastline, most of the seafood consumed by Canadians is imported.

Patagonia Provisions challenges ocean fish farms by selling seafood – Forbes
Outdoor gear and seafood may seem like an unlikely pairing, but Patagonia wants to expand its environmental mission to restructure food supply chains through the Patagonia Provisions brand. Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard describes this new foray into the food realm as “the most important experiment we’ve ever tried”

Ten Bass Tournament Sustainable Fish Management Tips:

  1. Keep boat livewells clean and free of mold. Ensure pumps and aeration systems are operational.
  2. Avoid fishing bass at depths below 25-feet. Make sure you have the training and tools required to fizz Bass showing signs of Barotrauma.
  3. Use knot-free rubber nets to prevent scale and fin damage. Hold bass away from clothing and boat decks to protect fish slime.
  4. Use pliers to quickly remove fish hooks. Cut off deeply set hooks to minimize injury instead of attempting their removal.
  5. Use non-puncturing weighing and culling technologies. Release culled Bass below gunnel height to avoid stressing or stunning bass.
  6. Maintain constant livewell temperatures by adding just enough non-chlorinated ice to ensure stable water temperature. Avoid replacing livewell water when transiting warm shallow bays.
  7. Keep bass in livewells until invited by tournament officials to approach the weigh-in station. Keep bass in weigh-in bags for no longer than 2 minutes.
  8. Dispose used soft plastic baits, fishing line, and lead weights and jigs responsibly.
  9. Empty and clean boat livewells, bilges and boat trailers before departing the launch to prevent transporting invasive species.
  10. Report tagged fish, unethical behaviour and water quality issues to relevant authorities.

About us:

You can read current and back issues of Blue Fish Canada’s Newsletters by visiting: www.BlueFishCanada.Ca

For more about Lawrence Gunther, North America’s only blind professional angler, conservationist, writer, blogger, podcaster, film maker and TV personality, visit:

Gunther founded the charity Blue Fish Canada in 2012 and launched the podcast Blue Fish Radio in 2013.

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