In the August 9, 2020 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we delve into the state of the Fraser River Salmon stocks and related recreational fishery, provide a specially curated list of the latest fish and fishing news, and share a provocative opinion piece prepared by several fishing legends on catch-and-release fishing. Grab your cup of coffee, find somewhere quiet, and read on….

Editor Lawrence Gunther and his guide dog aboard the Blind Fishing Boat with a 30” Northern Pike

Fraser River Salmon Sustainability and Recreational Fishing

In 2019 BC’s recreational salmon anglers harvested around 450,000 salmon up and down Canada’s west coast. Contrary to what some may think, the vast majority of BC’s recreational salmon fishing is being conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner. The problem is, the science is lagging behind, and where there’s most certainly room for improvement, the research and policies have yet to be developed that would guarantee healthy salmon stocks for future generations. Making matters worse, are decisions over recreational fisheries being taken without having invested in the science to make sure the management practices being implemented are science-based. Not everywhere, but especially it’s not happening where it’s needed most – along BC’s southern coast and the salmon that use the Fraser River to access spawning habitat.

David Brown was recently awarded the highest honour Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans can bestow to a recreational angler for his dedication and work on safeguarding West Coast salmon. With recreational salmon fisheries around the Fraser River suspended for much of 2020, Brown and others are questioning the science and motivation behind the closure, and have moved to advocacy with the formation of the Public Fishery Alliance, and a public protest held in front of DFO’s Vancouver office. Link below to hear David Brown in Conversation with editor Lawrence Gunther immediately following the protest on Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/public-fishery-alliance-protests-dfo-pacific-salmon-closures/

Bob Cole is part of (and a founding member) of the west coast’s most successful fisheries round table. The Port Alberni and Area 23 round table involves all fishery stakeholders. Their collective decision taking model has meant sustainable salmon numbers and equitable access to stocks for all concerned. Port Alberni salmon stakeholders include local and area First Nations, two of the three commercial sectors ( Area B Seine and Area gill-netters), plus the Somass bands Economic Opportunity fishers, the West Coast Aquatic Stewardship Association, processors, environmental groups, and DFO and their Robertson Creek hatchery (the largest DFO production hatchery on the West Coast). The cooperative model has developed tables and parameters that include environmental conditions, Fish fecundity, social and economic benefits as well as managing water levels with the local dams for the benefit of fish migration. It’s meant fish stock abundance and open fisheries. The round table meets 2-3 times for full day sessions in the off season, and meets weekly to take Fishery management decisions in season. Listen as Bob speaks with editor Lawrence Gunther about the successes and challenges of the round table, and how it can serve as a management model for the rest of B.C. on this episode of Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/port-alberni-round-table-ensures-salmon-stocks-and-equitable-access/

Greg Taylor from Fish First Consulting is the guest on two episodes of Blue Fish Radio. In part I Greg talks to editor Lawrence Gunther about the state of salmon stocks and research along Canada’s west coast, and why DFO seems to be grasping at straws when it comes to managing Fraser River salmon fisheries. Listen to Greg talk about why DFO needs to adopt salmon recovery initiatives and to respect recreational fishing interests on this episode of Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/fraser-river-salmon-stocks-and-greg-taylor-part-1/

In Part I with Greg Taylor from Fish First Consulting we spoke about DFO’s absence of fisheries research and their inability to manage to make sure both enough salmon reach spawning grounds, and to keep fishers on the water informed to ensure sustainable fishing is taking place. In Part II Blue Fish Radio presents Taylor’s strategy for moving forward with stakeholders to assume greater responsibility for setting fisheries related decisions and to identify gaps in research, similar to what Bob Cole and his fellow Port Alberni and FN stakeholders have accomplished on Vancouver Island. Link below to learn more about the proposed B.C. salmon fisheries management strategy to be released this fall. https://bluefishradio.com/fraser-river-fishing-access-and-greg-taylor-part-2/

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Canadian Ranger Boats Pro Chris Johnston Wins Bassmaster Elite — NPAA
Ranger Boats pro angler Chris Johnston won the Bassmaster Elite Series event on the St. Lawrence River, July 26. The win marks the first time a Canadian pro angler has won an Elite title. He weighed more than 22 pounds of fish each day.

Looking for sockeye? Salmon fishing in Osoyoos Lake is now open — Info News
Okanagan sockeye salmon are back in the South Okanagan, and fishermen have been given the green light in Osoyoos Lake.

Tips on Avoiding Water Flea issues While Trolling — Fishing Wire
Check out these tips for expert anglers Ron Winter and Randy Colom who spend a lot of time trolling.

Chinook salmon fishing opened in July on much of the Columbia River — The Spokesman-Review
With the summer Chinook salmon run exceeding preseason expectations, large portions of the Columbia River will open to recreational chinook fishing in July.

Fish:

B.C. July Salmon Stock Assessment Report — Watershed Watch Salmon Society
Greg Taylor from Fish First Consulting presents his July Salmon stock update for B.C.’s west coast. It’s a report that demonstrates a wide range in fish stock status, made even more challenging to assess given that each stock is continuously on the move.

Meet the “sturddlefish” — Popular Mechanics
A hybrid of paddlefish and sturgeon was created in a Russian lab by accident while researchers were trying to figure out how to save the endangered Russian sturgeon. The scientists simply didn’t expect the two fish to–ahem–warm to each other quite so much.

Sockeye Salmon May not make it to spawning grounds in Fraser River — My Cariboo Now
A run of sockeye salmon is having trouble making it up the Fraser River, mostly due to the ongoing Big Bar landslide.

Woman Attacked by Musky in Winnipeg River — Fishing Wire
A Winnipeg woman is recovering after being attacked by a muskie while swimming with her family at a fishing resort. The attack happened on July 25 at the North Star Village, in Minaki, north of Kenora. The unusual attack resulted in the woman being dragged under water and severe puncture wounds in her leg.

Interior hatchery resurrected to incubate chinook fry caught at Big Bar Slide — BC Local News
Chinook salmon unable to migrate past the Big Bar Slide on their own are being collected to enhance dwindling stocks in tributaries of the Upper Fraser.

Atlantic Canada’s Salmon Returns Continue to be Strong — Atlantic Salmon Federation
Warm waters and the protocol for closures are drawing attention on the Margaree, but overall counts are up and the good runs of 2020 continue.

Wiped out 105 years ago by a dam, coho salmon set to return upstream of Coquitlam River — The Georgia Straight
Fisheries and Oceans Canada plans to reintroduce coho salmon upstream of the Coquitlam River this fall.

Indigenous:

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser — Hope Standard
Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned. First Nations communities have a right to priority fishing for Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) purposes protected under the constitution. Only conservation concerns take precedence. “It was a bit of a shock,” Tribal Chief Tyrone McNeil said about the recreational openings.

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks — Salmon Arm Observer
The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks. The Tsilhqot’in Nation said alternative management actions are required and that they believe immediate steps must be taken to implement strategic emergency enhancement of key stocks. the Tsilhqot’in Nation said while it welcomes the stronger restrictions on exploitation, they are not enough to reverse the population decline and mitigate extirpation risk facing Fraser River Chinook.<

Water Quality:

Flood infrastructure: ‘the biggest salmon habitat issue you’ve never heard of’ — The Narwhal
Along B.C.’s Fraser River, concrete obstructions block 1,500 kilometres of fish habitat and ‘meat grinder’ pump stations kill fish. Critics say it’s time for fish-friendly flood control.

Does It Make Sense to Build a New Island at the Mouth of the Fraser? — The Tyee
The Vancouver port has big expansion plans. The proposed new artificial island that the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority proposes to build at Roberts Bank, to expand its existing Deltaport container port, resides in the heart of the Fraser River estuary, about 30 kilometres south of Vancouver.

Ontario takes important first step in cormorant control — OFAH
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) announced that they will be introducing a fall harvest for double-crested cormorants. Over two decades of advocacy, OFAH has been at the forefront of requesting government control of overabundant double-crested cormorants. This fall season marks the first step in utilizing hunters to help create a manageable population of cormorants and minimize their impacts on other fish and wildlife species, as well as the habitat and ecosystems that support them.

In Scotland new disease casts further doubt on the future of Atlantic salmon — Atlantic Salmon Federation
Salmon with an unusual red skin disease have been showing up, and scientists are scrambling to understand its importance and extent. A call has now gone out to Scottish anglers to help identify cases of the condition and to pass on details of affected fish to authorities in the hope that a cause can be found.

Canada to ban ‘nuisance seals’ killing to keep access to U.S. market — CBC News
In an effort to maintain access to the lucrative U.S. seafood market, Canada will abolish permits that allow the killing of so-called “nuisance seals” by commercial fishermen and aquaculture. DFO is making this change in order to ensure continued access to the U.S. fish and seafood market, a market worth about $5 billion annually to Canada.

U.S. President Signs Great American Outdoors Act into Law — Fishing Wire
The Great American Outdoors Act is now codified as federal law. The Act is to enhance conservation and access to public lands and waters today and for generations. American Sportfishing Association (ASA) President Glenn Hughes attended the signing ceremony. Ducks Unlimited also supports the new law as half the revenue from energy development on public lands would be allocated to the fund and distributed to the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Education to cover overdue maintenance costs.

Industry:

The Road from Today to Tomorrow: Northern Operators Share Their Path
This panel discussion includes Northern Ontario lodge Operators, centered around the COVID-19 crisis. Join us to learn how our panelists are managing the reopening of their businesses, how they are planning for the future, and how they have addressed workforce issues now that tourism has opened back up! Panelists include: David MacLachlan, CEO of Discover Northern Ontario, Pat Peterson, owner/operator of Bruce Bay Cottages and Lighthouse, Krista Cheeseman, owner/operator of Wilderness North, Betty McGie, owner/operator of Watson’s Algoma Vacations, and Charlie McDonald, Manager, Kesagami Wilderness Lodge. Register for the August 12th, 2020 – 11:00 am EDT discussion.

IGFA World’s 2019 record-breaking brands revealed — IGFA
Brands from a household name in the industry took the top honours in the list of world record-breaking tackle. Japanese giant Shimano, owner of the G.Loomis and PowerPro brands, topped the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) list of rods, reels and line that set more than 400 world records in 2019.

Bass Pro and Cabela’s to reward hourly-paid staff for efforts during pandemic — Angling International
Staff at two of North America’s most iconic fishing and hunting chains have been rewarded with bonus payments for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The owner of Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s says that it is making payments ranging from $250 to $1,000 to hourly-paid workers in its retail, distribution centres and manufacturing plants to ‘reward its outfitters and team members for their efforts’. The company has also announced that it is raising nationwide starting wages in its distribution centres.

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris purchases 400-acre former theme park — Talk Business & Politics
While specific plans for the property – Dogpatch USA – remains in the early stages, Bass Pro says that the future development will be an extension of the group’s signature experiences that help families connect with nature. The property is near the 135-mile Buffalo National River, the first national river in the United States, and a 35-minute drive from Big Cedar Lodge, a resort Morris developed in Ridgedale, Mo. Other Morris properties in the Ozarks include 10,000-acre wildlife reserve Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, Ozark Mill and Finley Farms, and Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve.

Boating:

Where do old fiberglass boats go to die? — The Conversation
Too many old fishing boats along ocean coastlines are being abandoned on beaches or sunk in the sea, and that’s a growing problem. The problem of end-of-life boat management and disposal has gone global, and some island nations are even worried about their already overstretched landfill.

Forecasters bump up hurricane predictions for 2020 — EarthSky
2020 was already predicted as an active hurricane season. Now it’s looking extremely active. Forecasters with Colorado State’s Tropical Meteorology Project said on Wednesday they now expect 24 named storms (5 major hurricanes) in the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. The average from 1981 to 2010 is 12 named storms per year.

Guest Feature on Sustainable Fishing: “Major Challenges to Sport Fishing”

By Ron Lindner and Al Lindner with The Lindner Media Staff and Steve Quinn
(Link here to read the full length article)

No doubt about it; sportfishing today is facing a host of threats. They range in size from the tiny but invasive zooplankton creatures that threaten the underwater food web to the changes we see in the climate that encompass our whole earth. They include the simultaneous challenges of declining participation in fishing and increasing catch rates that threaten the quality of fisheries. Technology offers both its own threats as well as potential solutions.

Here we want to emphasize a threat that’s been present for a long time, but rarely has been recognized or acknowledged. It’s enmeshed with the highly popular practice of catch-and-release, which most fishery managers embrace as a boon to fish populations.

The catch-and-release ethic grew rather rapidly in the trout, muskie, and bass realms, as fishery management agencies altered many harvest regulations to require immediate release of various length groups of fish, including minimum-length limits, which had been often applied on a statewide basis with little biological basis, maximum-length limits, and slot limits, including both protected slot lengths and harvest slot lengths.

Barotrauma

These previous challenges to catch-and-release pale in comparison, however, to one that anglers and fishery managers have been aware of for many years, but generally chosen to “sweep under the rug.” That’s the growing problem of barotrauma, meaning the physiological damage to fish that are caught in excessively deep water.

Ron relates a story from 40 years ago around Morson on Lake of the Woods. Using vintage sonars, he and Al had found groups of crappies suspended in what is now known as a classic late-fall pattern, about 30 feet down over 45 feet or so. “We were catching them one after the other,” Ron says, ”and releasing these big slabs, 13 to 15 inches. We started looking around and I said to Al, ‘We got a problem.’ Fish were floating all around the boat, just struggling on the surface.” This lesson was reinforced a few years later while they were fishing in Florida for snapper. Those schools were in 60 to 70 feet and when they came up, their stomachs were protruding from their mouths, and some had bulging eyes. They struggled to swim down, but most floated off into oblivion.

Back in 1989, In-Fisherman contributor and fishery scientist Ralph Manns wrote the first in-depth article pointing out the problems of barotrauma, and calling for anglers and fishery management agencies to address concerns before the situation got worse. Unfortunately, little heed was paid to the problem in the freshwater realm, except for tournament anglers fishing the Great Lakes and other deep water habitats for walleyes and smallmouth bass who learned how to “fizz” fish caught from deep water (generally over 30 feet deep) using a hypodermic needle. Correctly inserting the needle into the gas bladder allowed air bubbles to escape from that organ, allowing the fish to swim back down.

While physiological studies showed that the gas bladder healed rather quickly, problems arose from anglers sticking needles the wrong locations, paralyzing fish or damaging their livers. As a result, some state agencies discouraged or even banned “fizzing,” while others continued to allow or even recommend it.

The problem afflicts fish species that do not have a duct structure (called the pneumatic duct) between the gas bladder and the alimentary canal, which allows expanding air to escape. Due to the laws of physics, pressure is doubled at 33 feet of depth, compared to sea level, theoretically doubling the volume required to hold it. Because the gas bladder is a rather elastic organ, it resists stretching, but gradually succumbs to drastic changes in pressure and expands, often preventing fish from swimming back down. While immediate release from moderate depths (20 to 40 feet) typically causes no problems with bass and walleyes), holding the fish at the surface for several minutes increases barotrauma problems. And storing a fish in a livewell for hours can cause severe symptoms in fish caught in 20 to 30 feet of water.

Species lacking this duct (including walleyes, bass, crappies, perch, and white bass) require substantial time to adjust pressure levels when shifting depths. Species with ducts, including catfish, sturgeon, salmon, and trout, carp, and shad, can release air immediately, thus are generally capable of greater vertical mobility. You see this in action when big lake trout, sturgeon, or catfish release air and create large bubbles as they near the surface. And they can generally swim straight back down, even from depths over 100 feet. At greater depths, physiological damage can occur, including hemorrhaging, exophthalmia (eyes popped out of their sockets), and tissue damage as bubbles form and expand in organs or the blood stream. This most often occurs in marine situations, where fish often are targeted deeper than 100 feet. Valuable species such as groupers, snappers, and rockfish lack ducts and are at great risk of post-release mortality.

Given the economic value of recreational saltwater fishing, and the heavy fishing pressure on popular species that’s caused widespread overharvest, marine fishery managers have been way ahead of their inland colleagues in studying and addressing this problem. In October 2019, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council made a landmark decision by mandating that all commercial and recreational fishermen who are targeting grouper or snapper must have a descending device readily available on boar to release fish. A variety of these devices have been on the market for several years. Some, such as SeaQualizer and RokLees Fish Descender, clip on the jaw of a fish, and carry it back into the depths, reducing gas pressure in the descending process. Back down where it was caught, the device releases the fish or can be triggered to pop open, leaving the fish in good condition, as long as no other damage had been done. Other devices function like cages with a trap door that carry fish back down and the door releases at the appropriate depth.

This decision by the Management Council followed findings by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) that almost 30 percent of all snapper and almost 40 percent of grouper caught by recreational anglers died after release, obviously an unacceptable level of post-release mortality. They found that unwanted fish released improperly was one of the largest problems facing marine fishery managers in recent years. The following month, a bipartisan group of U.S. congressman introduced “The DESCEND Act of 2019” requiring commercial and recreational fishermen to possess a descending device rigged and ready for use or a venting tool (needle used for “fizzing”) when fishing for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico. This proposed legislation was praised by a group of fishing and boating organizations, including the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), and the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation CSF).

In the freshwater realm, anglers have been exploiting deep fish aggregations, aided by hi-tech sonar units that depict fish, and can even define species, at great range and with amazing clarity. At recent major bass tournaments on the St. Lawrence River, on the border of New York and Canada, pros located groups of huge smallmouths deeper than 40 feet. Several pros later reported being shocked to see the many dead trophy-size smallmouths floating near the weigh-in site in New York, victims of barotrauma. In other areas with deep reservoirs such as the Southeast and West, anglers often target bass and walleyes in water deeper than 30 feet, waters where minimum-length limits often are in place. Such limits may thus mandate the release and waste of fish caught from great depths.

Ice anglers have discovered the deep-water winter haunts of walleyes and crappies, often pulling fish from more than 30 feet. As Ron and Al observed years ago in Canada, crappies are particularly vulnerable to even mild barotrauma, sometimes having difficulty swimming back down when caught and quickly released in less than 25 feet of water. Anglers with underwater cameras have reported popular fishing areas littered with the carcasses of fish that were released and did not make it, primarilly due to barotrauma.

With this article, we seek to inspire action by angler organizations, fishery management agencies, and individual anglers to address this growing problem head-on. We must document the extent of delayed mortality in enough cases to generalize across many more waterways, and put potential solutions on the table. Ignoring this problem any longer only serves to perpetuate bad habits and further damage the fisheries we love and depend on for our recreation and livelihood.

Let’s not forget that angler opportunity and healthy fish populations are not only vitally important to millions of anglers, they represent a huge economic engine. According to the latest statistics, America’s anglers are estimated to spend $49.8 billion per year in retail sales associated with fishing. With a total annual economic impact of $125 billion, fishing supports more than 800,000 jobs and generates $38 billion in wages and $16 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

It’s important to keep the momentum and continue to promote sustainable recreational fishing. In this effort we need to further address the challenges presented by barotrauma to fishery management and healthy fish stocks. Marine fishery managers have been far more responsive to this issue, and we’ve seen new legislation to promote use of descending devices. In the freshwater realm, we need to take a harder look at this problem.

About Blue Fish Canada

You can read current and back issues of Blue Fish Canada’s Newsletters by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/

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

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

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In this July 19, 2020 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we present:

  • A 3-part Blue Fish Radio program exploring the recently launched Atlantic Angler Challenge;
  • The latest fish and fishing news; and,
  • Blue Fish Sustainable Hot Weather fishing tips.
Acadian University Honours student Leah Creaser with a Striped Bass during the 2019 Miramichi River Striper Cup

Atlantic Angler Challenge
Professor Trevor Avery teaches and conducts fisheries research out of Acadia University in Nova Scotia. More recently he’s teamed up with Jeff Wilson of the Striper Cup and Sean Simmons of Anglers Atlas to form a ground-breaking recreational fisheries research initiative called the Atlantic Angler Challenge. The initiative rewards anglers to download and use the MyCatch app to track and report their angling pressure and success. Listen as professor Avery shares with editor Lawrence Gunther his rationale and expectations for the research that is now taking place across all four Atlantic provinces on this episode of Blue Fish Radio.
https://bluefishradio.com/atlantic-angler-challenge-rewards-citizen-scientists/

Professional Angler Jeff Wilson is the lead organizer and spokesperson for the Atlantic Angler Challenge. You might remember Jeff from previous Blue Fish Radio episodes when we featured his championing the Striper Cup tournament that takes place each spring on New Brunswick’s Miramichi River, and his herculean efforts to protect the return of native Striped Bass to Atlantic Canada. In this Blue Fish Radio episode we speak with Jeff about the logistics behind organizing the Atlantic Angler Challenge, and how it grew so quickly to cover all gamefish species in all four Atlantic Canada provinces.
https://bluefishradio.com/angler-incentives-and-the-atlantic-angler-challenge/

In our 3rd and final installment on the Atlantic Angler Challenge, we go back to an earlier episode of Blue Fish Radio featuring the founder and CEO of Angler Atlas and the inventor of the MyCatch angler app. Sean Simmons has been expanding the use of the MyCatch app as researchers everywhere learn of its many benefits for engaging anglers as citizen scientists. The app is now in use across Canada by scientists and anglers to track angler effort and capture rates, and is the app chosen by organizers of the Atlantic Angler Challenge. Listen as Sean speaks to Editor Lawrence Gunther about the origins of the MyCatch app, and his world-leading progress in advancing recreational fishing science-based fisheries management.
https://bluefishradio.com/nature-meets-shiny-tech-with-mycatch/

Fish and Fishing News

Fishing:

New statistics point to young adults taking up sport fishing – Castanet.net
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC says, unlike many outdoor recreational sports, fishing is on the rise this year. Resident angler license sales are 16 per cent higher than last year and total fishing licence sales are 3 per cent above 2019 sales, numbers that more than offset the loss of licences typically purchased by non-resident Canadian, American and international anglers in April and May.

Recreational Chinook fishing re-open in the Skeena watershed – My Bulkley Lakes Now
As of midnight July 15 the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has reopened fishing for Chinook salmon but additional measures have been put in place. According to the DFO, the maximum number of Skeena Chinook will be two in the Morice, Bulkley and Skeena rivers but only one may be over 65cm. The DFO also added certain tributaries and lakes will remain closed but sport anglers are being encouraged to look at the DFO’s website for a full list of closures.

Thousand Island Open Bass Tournament Cancelled
Organizers of the Thousand Island Open Bass Tournament had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 TIO. The city of Kingston has put in place a limit of 100 total participants in the event, which would have limited the tournament to 50 boats. This limit would make it entirely unfair for organizers to prioritize 50 out of the 94 who registered for the event. entry fees will be refunded promptly. For more details contact Janet Eastman janet@hookset.com

Kootenay angler’s program off to a great start – Trail Times
The first lucky winner of the new Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program is local Dave Johnston from Grey Creek. In the first month of the program, there were 2,082 rainbow and bull trout heads submitted. The goal is to help with the recovery of the main lake kokanee population that has been severely depressed for nearly a decade due to an overpopulation of rainbow and bull trout. The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC joined the program by providing funds for the monthly draw and the grand prize, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and Jones Boys Boats at Woodbury Creek on the lake are also partners.

Barracuda caught in Vancouver Island waters – Mid Island Independent News
A Vancouver fisherman got a rare experience earlier this week while fishing in the Alberni Inlet.

La Onda Mila Named 2020 Blue Marlin World Cup Champions – In The Bite eNews
Capt. Marty Bates and the La Onda Mila team became this year’s Blue Marlin World Cup Champions after reeling in a 964-lb. blue marlin. Capt. Jason Buck and the Done Deal team earned the Big Blue Challenge for their 667.2 blue marlin.

Anglers Advised to Keep Fish Caught in Deep Water – Fishing Wire
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department encourages anglers to keep fish caught from depths of more than 25 feet, rather than practice catch-and-release. The N.D. fisheries management section says while catch-and-release is often encouraged under the right conditions, fish reeled in from this depth will likely die if released because of the extreme change in water pressure. Change in water pressure will cause the swim bladder to expand which means fish can no longer control balance. In addition other internal injuries are likely, such as ruptured blood vessels or internal organs. Because of these other internal injuries, biologists discourage fizzing, the practice of deflating the swim bladder.

Fish:

Protect Game Fish in Michigan – NPAA
Commercial fishing interests have turned their sights on Lake Michigan’s game fish species including yellow perch, lake trout and walleye. These species contribute to the $2.3 billion recreational fishing industry in the state of Michigan through the participation of 650,000 Great Lakes Anglers. The vast majority of the fish in the Great Lakes are managed by funding generated through the sale of recreational licenses, indirectly benefiting the commercial fishing industry.

Tracking the Great Lakes Sucker Run – IJC
Every spring, rivers and streams connected to the Great Lakes fill up with suckers to lay their eggs. This group of fish species is known for eating their meals off the lake bottom. They are not a popular game fish and may be regularly overlooked, but recent research shows they play an important role in the broader ecosystem. The Great Lakes are home to several species of suckers. Two are found in all five lakes in abundant numbers: the longnose sucker and white sucker.

New Brunswick orders smallmouth eradication project to register for environmental assessment – ASF
The latest curveball in the push to eradicate smallmouth bass from the Miramichi watershed came Monday. The province of New Brunswick ordered the Working Group on Smallmouth Bass Eradication in the Miramichi to register its plans for a potential environmental assessment.

How Do Low Lake St. Lawrence Water Levels Affect Fish Habitat? – IJC
Lake St. Lawrence is the portion of the St. Lawrence River above the Moses-Saunders Dam that was made artificially wider and deeper when the dam was built. The area is a destination for sport fishing, including an annual Bassmaster tournament. High flows through the dam in recent years to remove water from Lake Ontario have resulted in historically low water levels in this portion of the river.

Hiding in Plain Light – Hakai Magazine
A natural phenomenon of light and waves helps prey fish use stealth when running from predators. It’s one of those things that everyone recognizes, but no one really knows the name for: the quivering light cast by sunlight through waves that makes a net-like pattern on the bottom of lakes, oceans, or swimming pools. The phenomenon is called water caustics, and it may help some fish to escape predators.

Infectious salmon anemia will result in fish removal from Aquiculture site – ASF
The years long ISA outbreak in Atlantic Canadian aquaculture rolls on with the 13th detection of virulent infectious salmon anemia in southern Newfoundland since late 2017. More than 300,000 diseased fish will be cleared out and sold to supermarkets, adding to the millions affected so far.

Indigenous:

83 Pound Lake Trout Caught in Northern Canada – The Venatic
A monster lake trout that should have eclipsed world records was caught by fishermen and Canada’s Northwest Territories earlier this month. Hauled in by members of the Deline First Nation Tribe, the fish was caught by using a gill net as the fishermen were sustenance fishing. Their catch would have been placed in the record books had it been caught using rod and reel. The current record is a 72-pound lake trout established 22 years ago. The fishermen attempted to revive the fish and release it, but unfortunately it had already died.

To bring back endangered fish First Nation claims environmental management authority – Phys.org
Over 20 years ago, the Bella Coola River—located in southern British Columbia and central to the traditional territory of the Nuxalk Nation—saw its last healthy run of eulachon before populations dramatically crashed in 1999. A kind of smelt, eulachon are anadromous fish, which means they spend the majority of their adult lives in the ocean and return to their natal streams only to spawn and to die. A sovereign Indigenous or First Nation within what is known as Canada, Nuxalk people have maintained a strong relationship with the eulachon since time immemorial.

Water Quality:

Asian carps and the Great Lakes – FOCA
Did you know that vegetated nearshore areas would be the most vulnerable habitats, if Grass carp became established in the Great Lakes? Loss of nearshore vegetation would negatively impact your water quality because plants along the shoreline slow surface runoff and filter contaminants before they reach the water.

Deep Geologic Repository cancelled – FOCA
Plans for nuclear waste storage on the Lake Huron shore have been shelved. Ontario Power Generation has cancelled the Environmental Assessment and their application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a construction licence for the proposed Deep Geologic Repository.

TAKE ACTION: Canada needs a strong policy on Non-Fuel nuclear waste
Canada does not have adequate rules in place to manage non-fuel nuclear waste. This kind of waste is planned to be stored in the Near Surface Disposal Facility at Chalk River, on the shores of the Ottawa River and just upstream of our nation’s capital. The international community has recognized that Canada’s policies for managing nuclear waste are inadequate. The Ottawa River Keeper is asking the public to share their concerns by signing their petition and contacting your MP

How does Covid 19 and recreational water mix? – CDC
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), “there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through recreational water”.

Boating:

Jumbo Electric Outboards on the Way – Fishing Wire
Evoy says the 150-hp electric outboard is just the beginning. Following the introduction of its 150-hp electric outboard earlier this year, Evoy is planning to add more powerful all-electric engines in the future. The Norwegian manufacturer says it will add 300-hp and 450-hp versions with the 300 being available for pre-order in 2022. The 450 will follow with pre-order expected for 2024.

Business:

ICAST 2020 Virtual Sportfishing Showcase a Success – ASA
In response to COVID-19, ICAST, the world’s largest recreational fishing trade show, transitioned from an in-person show to a virtual event. The American Sportfishing Association produced the Show and delivered attendees and exhibitors alike an engaging, interactive virtual trade show experience. Editor Lawrence Gunther was one of the judges this year for the “best in show” competitions involving over 30 categories of fishing equipment. Visit the ICAST 2020 Online New Product Showcase to learn about all the amazing entries and category winners.

Will Your Next Salmon Come from a Massive Land Tank in Florida? – POLITICO
The so-called Bluehouse located in Florida is on track to become the world’s biggest land-based fish farm on a campus the size of the Mall of America. Over the next decade the farm will ramp up to producing a billion meals of Atlantic salmon a year. The operation is on schedule to begin delivering salmon to customers later this year. The Norwegian firm Atlantic Sapphire has moved its entire river-to-sea life cycle into indoor tanks, with the goal of supplying nearly half the current U.S. salmon market.

This Week’s Feature – Blue Fish Sustainable Hot Weather Fishing Tips

  1. Fish during the cooler early morning or at night when air and water temperatures are lower.
  2. Use appropriately sized equipment and land fish quickly to reduce fish fatigue.
  3. Keep fish in the water while removing hooks and while taking photographs.
  4. Ensure nets and hands are wet before touching fish.
  5. Revive fish before release by holding the fish upright, facing current, and as far below the surface as possible.
  6. Avoid angling in deeper river pools where fish have concentrated in cooler water.
  7. Fill your boat’s live-well during the morning in deeper cooler water and add only minimal ice to prevent excessive chlorine build-up from melting ice.
  8. Switch the circulation pump on your boat’s live-well to recirculate when travelling through shallow areas where water is hottest.
  9. Ensure fish are quickly returned to water with the depth and temperature from which they were caught.
  10. Fish for only those fish species that can be safely harvested when surface temperatures exceed 25 degrees C.

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: www.LawrenceGunther.com

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

Please rate The Blue fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast so others will learn of this unique Canadian resource by visiting: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-blue-fish-radio-show/id1090189487

Should you have a podcast suggestion or resource you would like to share, please send us a message to: admin@bluefishcanada.ca

Blue Fish Canada is a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity. Please consider making a small monthly donation to off-set the costs of this Newsletter and our other Blue Fish Canada programs by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

It’s a short week and so is this week’s Blue Fish Canada News.

Stewardship Quiz – It’s a Wrap!

Blue Fish Canada wants to thank the near-400 readers who stepped up and tested their stewardship knowledge using the Blue Fish Stewardship Quiz. With eight prizes now valued at close to $1,000, the first eight randomly drawn names of those who took the Quiz have now been sent out emails inviting them to get back to us with their 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize choices. The prizes were provided by Ranger Boats, Orleans Boat World, Shimano, Catch Fishing, Musky Factory Baits, Eagle Claw, Salus Marine and Scotty fishing. Check your email and spam folder to find out if you were one of the lucky ones. We are giving the first eight 48 hours to get back to us with their choices before we move down the list.

For more details about the gifts or if you still want to try the Quiz just for fun, visit: Blue fish Steward 12-question Quiz

Blue Fish Radio Feature:

Professional angler David Chong spoke with editor Lawrence Gunther on Blue Fish Radio about the challenges of making a living as a professional angler in Canada during the pandemic. A competitor who fishes upwards of 50 tournaments a year, it hasn’t been easy for David to step back in the interest of keeping his family, friends, and himself safe. Learn about the many considerations, opportunities and challenges that go along with being a professional angler – it’s not all about fast boats, blue skies and big cheques –now even more challenging because of the pandemic. https://bluefishradio.com/covid-19-impacting-professional-angler-david-chong/

Girl Guides Go Fishing:

Every spring Blue Fish Canada volunteers take part in numerous youth and family fishing events. One of our favorites has been taking the Girl Guides of Ottawa fishing on the docks at Dow’s Lake in central Ottawa. Upwards of 75 young women ranging in age from 6 to 16 come out each year and practice catch-and-rlease fishing, and to learn about fish biology and behavior. The pandemic put a stop to such events since March 2020, but if you want a glimpse of the fun we have, check out the following 3-minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syyfYYplH4c

Successful catch on Dow’s Lake in Ottawa

National Fishing Week – July 4-12 – and Now Up to July 19 in Ontario!

With National Fishing week now underway, a time when all Canadians can fish without a license in their home provinces, our friends at Catch Fishing and the Canadian National Sportfishing Foundation have some precautions they are advising families to take to stay safe. The guidelines serve as a good starting point when contemplating that next fishing trip.

Everyone’s situation is different, but if there was ever a good time to take a step back, simplify things, and enjoy family time on the water or shoreline, it is now. Take a bad situation and turn it into something positive, even if it’s just something simple like fishing with your kids.

“It’s been proven that fishing has a positive impact on mental wellness, which is something that’s crucial during the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Mike Melnik, Managing Director of the Canadian National Sportfishing Foundation. “It’s also an important local food source for countless Canadians. For these reasons, fishing is an essential pastime that deserves to be promoted, fostered, and celebrated.”

NATIONAL FISHING WEEK COVID-19 GUIDELINES:
  • Adhere to all travel advisories and self isolation requirements. Conduct your fishing activities as close to your home residence as possible.
  • If you must travel beyond your home community, totally provision your trip from your community of origin. Do not plan on buying food, drinks or even fuel after you begin your trip and until you return home.
  • Ensure you have all the necessary supplies to keep you safe including life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Only fish with members of your household or by yourself. Please remember that there are restrictions on the number of people who can gather at one time.
  • Adhere to all municipal, First Nation community, provincial and federal closures and restrictions.
  • As recommended by Health Canada, practice physical social distancing by keeping a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) between you and others at all times.
  • Consider wearing a non-medical mask or face covering when social distancing is not possible in public spaces.
  • Practice proper hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus, especially around communal areas.
  • Outdoor businesses are suffering. Consider ways to support your favorite outdoor retailer, tour company, or tackle shop, like buying a gift certificate or ordering online when possible.

Fishing:

  • fosters a new generation of conservationists — it benefits the environment because it gives people a reason to care about the resources their activities depend on.
  • is easy and affordable.
  • is a great way to escape electronics and reconnect with family and friends.
  • helps us connect with nature and develop an appreciation for Canada’s vast natural environment.
  • provides mental and physical health benefits.
  • generates over $8 billion to the Canadian economy.

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: www.LawrenceGunther.com

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

Please rate The Blue Fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast so others will learn of this unique Canadian resource by visiting: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-blue-fish-radio-show/id1090189487?uo=4

Should you have a podcast suggestion or resource you would like to share, please send us a message to: Admin@BlueFishCanada.Ca

Blue Fish Canada is a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity. Please consider making a small monthly donation to off-set the costs of this Newsletter and our other Blue Fish Canada programs by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

In this June 28 2020 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we celebrate the up-coming Family Fishing Week – July 4-12! This week’s news includes curated Blue Fish Radio content to get those new to fishing connected with anglers from across Canada; links to the latest fish, fishing and water quality news; and, a Blue Fish Canada pan fishing resource to ensure you and your family get the most out of the up-coming Family Fishing Week.

**Last chance to take the Blue fish Steward 12-question Quiz and enter your name to win one of seven great prizes totaling $750 in value**

Editor Lawrence Gunther with his two youngest holding a Largemouth Bass that bit their artificial frog

Virtual fishing networks connect anglers across Canada, while groups seek to ensure the survival of native fish species:

Canadian Fishing Network nearing 11,000 strong – Blue Fish Radio
If you’re looking for a new fishing buddy or information about fishing in your area, you may want to consider following the Canadian Fishing Network on Facebook. Scottie Martin is the host and driving force behind the wildly successful CFN, which now has close to 11,000 followers on Facebook. They also just concluded another successful edition of the national fishing “Fish-Off” tournament led by CFN Michael Consul. The virtual fishing platform shows no signs of slowing, and is truly a grass-roots Phenomenon. Scottie and Mike were the guests on this episode of Blue Fish Radio.

Alberta Focusses on Rebuilding Native Trout Species – Blue Fish Radio
Five Alberta conservation groups and the Alberta government are working hard to rebuild native trout populations. Westslope Cutthroat Trout, bull trout and Athabasca rainbow trout are native trout species found in Alberta that now need help. Protecting these native species and the diversity they represent is crucial if we are to ensure the wide variety of fish and fishing opportunities across Alberta and Canada. The Alberta Native Trout Restoration Program includes The Cows and Fish, Trout Unlimited Canada, Foothills Research Institute, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the Alberta Government. The Program entails: fish habitat improvements, a north Central Native Trout Recovery Program, a roadway Watercourse Crossing Remediation Initiative, a Westslope Cutthroat Trout Recovery Program, and a Whirling Disease detection, education and mitigation strategy. Listen as editor Lawrence Gunther speaks with senior ACA biologist Mike Rodtka as they discuss the many challenges ahead on Blue Fish Radio.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

DFO’s Response to Fraser Chinook Salmon Conservation – Seafood Source
The DFO’s Fraser River Chinook salmon management measures announced June 20, 2020 are assessed by conservation groups as failing to protect endangered salmon runs. Others report that Fraser River Chinook stocks will continue to be tightly controlled, including limited harvests and a push-back on dates of certain fisheries. Specifically, a maximum size limit of 80 centimetres in southern marine recreational fisheries will be enforced for July and August, as well as a fishing closure at the mouth of the Fraser River. Limited harvest for First Nations will be allowed, and the commercial troll fishery will be pushed back into August to avoid Fraser chinook encounters.

Covid-19 Hits Florida Recreational Fishing Hard – Angling International
Florida is one of the US states hardest hit by COVID-19. Florida, often referred to as the ‘fishing capital of the world’, has more than four million anglers who generate $11.5 billion in economic impact and support more than 106,000 jobs.

The Golden Age of Smallmouth Bass – The IGFA
Smallmouth bass thrive in clear water. So, their tide began to turn after the Clean Water Act limited pollution of the Great Lakes and other waters, while clearing it as well. Further water clarification has been provided by exotic zebra and quagga mussels that crossed the Atlantic from Europe and colonized the Great Lake in the 1980s. Their populations have expanded to more lakes ever since, causing problems with shoreline infrastructure but providing water clarity for smallmouths to thrive. Invasive prey fish, such as the round goby, have also provided added forage for smallmouth bass. In their northern natural range, annual ice cover has been reduced in recent decades due to milder and shorter winters, which gives this warm water fish more time to spawn and grow.

American Sportfishing Association applauds passing of Great American Outdoors Act – Angling International
The body that represents the fishing tackle industry in the USA has applauded the passing of an historic public lands bill. By a comfortable majority, the US Senate gave the go-ahead to the Great American Outdoors Act, a landmark legislative package to fund access to and the maintenance of the nation’s public lands.

Fish Health:

Report on the 2020 State of Wild Atlantic Salmon – Atlantic Salmon Federation
The ASF’s annual look at Atlantic salmon returns to North American rivers shows that the downward trend in abundance continues. Last year’s adult salmon returns to North America were among the lowest in a 49-year data series, continuing a downward trend that threatens the sustainability of the species. In recent decades, the human harvest of wild Atlantic salmon has been significantly reduced through a series of conservation measures, helping to stabilize some populations, but recovery has been inhibited. Wild Atlantic salmon are struggling to adapt to warming rivers, changing oceans, and pressure from human development.

Teck Mines Elk Valley B.C. Coal Mine Expansion Threatens Westslope Cutthroat Trout – The Narwhal
Teck Resources’ Castle Mountain is being described by the company as an expansion of an existing mine, and not a ‘new’ mine — but critics say the project’s significant environmental impact should make it subject to a rigorous federal assessment. Tech’s own scientists report that mining associated selenium contamination has contributed to a 93% reduction in Westslope Cutthroat, a problem for Alberta’s trout recovery program. The coal mine’s expansion is expected to increase selenium pollution entering the rivers that flow into Alberta and Montana, causing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to request clarification on how the scientific assessment was conducted.

300-million-year-old fish resembles a sturgeon but took a different evolutionary path – Science Daily
Sturgeon, a long-lived, bottom-dwelling fish, are often described as “living fossils,” because their form has remained relatively constant, despite hundreds of millions of years of evolution.

Size matters in sex life of Atlantic salmon – Science Daily
For Atlantic salmon, size matters when it comes to love. Larger males and females that may spend up to four years at sea produce many more babies, but they are exceedingly rare compared to younger fish.

Key monitoring of herring near Haida Gwaii cancelled due to coronavirus – The Narwhal
The federal government axed seasonal dive surveys of endangered pacific herring off the B.C. coast, where the species has suffered worrying declines in recent decades. Herring are a key food source for west coast salmon and their continued over-harvesting is undermining the recovery of certain Chinook stocks at risk.

Water Quality:

More regulatory changes introduced in wake of Mount Polley mine disaster – Vancouver Sun
One of the largest mining-dam failures in the world in the past 50 years, the Aug. 4, 2014, collapse of Imperial Metals’ gold mine dam in B.C. shook the industry and caused wide spread concern that aquatic life would be harmed, particularly salmon that use the Quesnel Lake system to spawn. If the legislation is passed under the minority NDP government, a new chief permitting officer position will be created, separate from the chief inspector of mines.

A Shipwreck’s Incalculable Toll on a Remote Reef – Hakai Magazine
After a fishing boat ran aground on a fragile atoll, the consequences for the ecosystem were alarming—and curious. How the toxins from the shipwreck altered the ecosystem of the coral reef and the fish that lived nearby presents a disturbing but fascinating story.

Tourism:

Alaska Airlifts ‘Into the Wild’ Bus Out of the Wild – Outside Online
In recent years, the bus once occupied by Christopher McCandless had attracted tourists from all over the world—a growing number of whom had to be rescued in their attempt to reach the remote location. McCandless occupied the bus, located outside the town of Healy near the boundary of Denali National Park, during the spring and summer of 1992. He died there in mid-August, and his story was made famous by Jon Krakauer—first in a now-classic Outside story, “Death of an Innocent,” and then in his bestselling 1996 book, Into the Wild.

Business:

Fishbrain reaps benefit of significant shift to digital sales – Angling International
The shift towards e-commerce has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen bricks-and-mortar retailers across the globe forced to shut up shop. One company that has experienced the benefit of the shift is Fishbrain, described as the world’s largest social network for anglers.

Blue Fish Canada Sustainable Panfish Fishing Tips:

  1. Panfish live under docs and boathouses, and near rocks, weeds or around sunken brush.
  2. Panfish eat worms, grubs, flies and small fish, and can be caught using small artificial baits and lures.
  3. Use 4-6 pound test fishing line, non-lead weights and jigs sized 1/8 ounce or smaller, or non-offset size 8-12 circle hooks.
  4. Check harvest regulations before you go fishing and report tagged fish to aid with fish research.
  5. Use of small needle nose pliers can help with removing hooks, as does pinching down hook barbs.
  6. Cut the line near the hook if swallowed as fish can pass most small hooks safely.
  7. Hold fish out of water no longer than 30 seconds and always keep fish wet to protect the slime coating.
  8. Keep one of each panfish species in a bucket of water for observation, and change water regularly release fish.
  9. Never discard old fishing line, hooks, weights, artificial baits and live minnows into the environment.
  10. Always release extra-large panfish as these are the primary breeders.

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: www.LawrenceGunther.com

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

Please rate The Blue Fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast so others will learn of this unique Canadian resource by visiting: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-blue-fish-radio-show/id1090189487?uo=4

Should you have a podcast suggestion or resource you would like to share, please send us a message to: Admin@BlueFishCanada.ca

Blue Fish Canada is a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity. Please consider making a small monthly donation to off-set the costs of this Newsletter and our other Blue Fish Canada programs by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

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: https://bluefishradio.com/bass-fishing-tournaments-and-covid-19/

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: https://bluefishradio.com/bruce-tufts-on-gobies-bass-and-youth/

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: https://bluefishradio.com/dr-bruce-tufts-on-bass-research-and-regulatory-changes-in-fm-zone-20/

**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.

Industry:

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.

Business:

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: www.LawrenceGunther.com

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

Please rate The Blue fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast so others will learn of this unique Canadian resource by visiting: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-blue-fish-radio-show/id1090189487?uo=4

Should you have a podcast suggestion or resource you would like to share, please send us a message to: Admin@BlueFishCanada.ca

Blue Fish Canada is a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity. Please consider making a small monthly donation to off-set the costs of this Newsletter and our other Blue Fish Canada programs by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

In the June 14, 2020 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we dive into the Great Lakes and explore what’s good, what’s not good, and what’s being done about it. As always, the news includes links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other fishing related articles, and more about our Blue Fish Steward Quiz along with details of the prizes totaling over $750 in value!

Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther fishing on the St. Lawrence River

This Week’s Feature:

Ever wonder why recreational fishing harvest regulations and fish consumption advisories don’t always mesh up? Or why different government organizations issue conflicting advisories concerning the same fish from the same body of water? Want to no more about why fishing advisories are issued in the first place, or what makes advisories necessary in the first place? As well, Fish move around, as does the water in the great lakes, so why do we have different advisories for the same species of fish based on some invisible line on the water? I and many other recreational anglers and indigenous fishers have been asking these questions and others for decades, and all the time wondering just who to believe.

For several years now I’ve been part of a process called the “Healthy Great Lakes Initiative” organized by the Canadian Environmental Law Association. They understand that water quality issues in the Great Lakes Basin and Upper St. Lawrence River includes fish health. With their support, I conducted a stakeholder consultation that explored Great Lakes and St. Lawrence fish health issues including speaking with people including recreational and indigenous fishing, the fishing and boating industry, conservation groups, government officials and the scientific community. They all agreed that not only is non-commercial fishing a valuable economic contributor valued at over $8-Billion annually, but an important part of the social fabric of both indigenous and non-indigenous shoreline communities. A number of recommendations came out of the process, which I’m pleased to report are beginning to be acted upon. You can read the report for yourself here: https://bluefishcanada.ca/resources/fish-health/

Mark Mattson is a lawyer and the Waterkeeper for Lake Ontario. Mark’s been advocating for more responsible ways to release sewage into our ecosystems. No doubt, the untreated sewage that is routinely released into the Great Lakes and associated watersheds each time there’s a significant rainfall is one problem. Another is the harmful chemical and other toxins that end up passing through sewage treatment plants and being released into the lakes and rivers each day. Link below to hear my conversation with Mark Mattson of Swim Drink Fish Canada on Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/sewage-continues-to-pose-problems-for-fishability/

The Great lakes and St. Lawrence Collaborative recently wrapped up their own consultations in which they explored issues such as addressing shoreline erosion, outdated infrastructure, invasive species, exposure to toxins, and beach contamination. The Collaborative recently released their final Action Plan calling for a $2.2 Billion investment by Canada that would result in ecological, public health, economic, and lifestyle benefits. One of the five organizations participating on the Collaborative was the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, responsible for overseeing what is the most valuable freshwater commercial fishery in the world. I had a chance to speak with the Fisheries Commission’s Bob Lambe Executive Director and Marc Gaden Communications Director and Legislative Liaison to discuss how fish health factored into the work of the Colaborative on this episode of Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/great-lakes-and-st-lawrence-collaborative/

Mercury and PCB have been an issue with fish health and the source of numerous fish consumption advisories throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence for decades. While many of these issues continue to this day, steps have also been taken to ensure further such contamination is prevented. Not so with a variety of new “forever” chemicals being released into the ecosystem by industry such as PFAS commonly found in products such as fire retardants and waterproofing agents. These are chemicals that biomass [accumulate] in fish and, if eaten by us, in humans as well. Worse, they are considered endocrine disruptors, or in other words, the cause of cancerous tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders such as with the sex organs of juvenile fish. John Jackson, Co-Chair of the Binational Toxic-Free Great Lakes Network, is leading the charge in Canada to get chemicals such as PFAS listed as “chemicals of mutual concern”. John was my guest on the following episode of Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/great-lake-chemicals-of-mutual-concern/

Normand Peters is a Mohawk elder who has taken on the responsibility of educating the next generation of Mohawk of Akwesasne youth on their 10,000 years of fishing culture. Fears over consuming contaminated fish from the St. Lawrence has meant two generations of Mohawk people have lived along the river without catching and eating the fish. No wonder then it was the Mohawk that successfully pursued the companies that once dumped the chemicals into the river over decades of manufacturing along the its banks. The restoration work will be on-going for years. Blue Fish Radio was on hand to record the story of four Mohawk activists and now fishers who graduated from Normand’s outdoor education program: https://bluefishradio.com/restoring-the-st-lawrence-thanks-to-the-mohawks-of-akwesasne/

Finally, One of the recommendations concerning fish health getting underway is a new International Joint Commission initiative intended to explore fish consumption advisories of specific relevance to the Mohawk of Akwesasne. The goal is by working with the Mohawks, scientists and officials from both the Canadian and U.S. governments, we can begin to make sense of how advisories are formed and issued. Blue Fish Radio recently spoke with Dr. Laurie Chan, Canadian Co-Chair of the IJC initiative. Link below to hear how this first step will be used to inform a much broader process that will look at fish consumption advisories throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence: https://bluefishradio.com/ijc-on-new-great-lakes-fish-health-advisory-committee/

The Latest Fishing, fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Renegade Bass Tour’s 2020 season will continue
To comply with Federal and Ontario health guidelines, a number of changes will be implemented. RBT competitors are not to participate in the tournament if they have had any Covid-19 symptoms within the last 14 days leading up to an event.

Fish Health:

Sockeye Salmon Back in Canadian Lake for First Time in Fifty Years! – Goodnet
Restoration efforts have successfully brought back thousands of sockeye salmon to British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake. Sockeye salmon were once native to this lake in British Columbia, Canada, although they had not been seen in it for five decades.

Goldfish are rapidly taking over this B.C. lake – CBC
Dumping a couple of unwanted pet goldfish in a lake may not sound like a big deal but two can quickly multiply. Pinecrest Lake, which is located about halfway between Squamish and Whistler, had no goldfish in its waters last year — but now they number in the hundreds, according to the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council.

Atlantic Salmon Continue to Dwindle in Nova Scotia’s LaHave River – CBC
The Atlantic Salmon Federation calls on DFO to focus on restoration of Atlantic salmon in the LaHave River, instead of their current preoccupation with the St. Mary’s River in northeast Nova Scotia where Salmon populations are stable. The salmon advocates are asking for better support from government in areas where help is required.

Virus-infected salmon should not be sold – ASF
Nova Scotia salmon advocate raises concerns on the potential harm from distributing virus-infected salmon in areas not originally impacted. Advocates claim The Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture’s decision to give a 20-year permit to Cooke Aquaculture to raise farmed salmon in Liverpool Bay is both devious and reckless.

‘Eyes the size of a coffee cup’: Rare deep-sea fish found near Port Angeles – KOMO
A paddle boarder made a discovery of an extremely rare fish near Port Angeles Sunday that has wildlife researchers buzzing. The ribbonfish, known as the King-of-Salmon, was found at the Salt Creek Recreation area. The fish typically live down around 3,000 feet deep along the Pacific Coast and up till now, only four or five had ever been spotted between Washington and British Columbia.M

Water Quality:

Pebble Mine Nears a Decision but Questions Surround its Environmental Review – Hakai Magazine
Documents unveiled by a Freedom of Information Act request show agencies’ behind-the-scenes critiques of the proposed Pebble Mine. The Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) plans to build an open-pit mine in a largely undeveloped stretch of southwest Alaska to extract a fraction of what may be the world’s biggest unexploited deposit of copper and gold. The proposed site for the mine lies under two rivers that drain into Bristol Bay, home to one of the world’s most productive wild salmon fisheries.

Elephant in the room – liabilities of open-pit mining – The Narwhal
On April 17, with the energy industry in crisis, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $1.7 billion in federal funding for cleaning up a long-festering environmental liability: orphan and inactive oil and gas wells. While it was viewed as a positive step to fix a growing problem, it also drew criticism for offloading the responsibilities of private corporations onto taxpayers. What about Alberta’s oil sands? The Alberta Energy Regulator says publicly that the liabilities of open-pit mining — the operations that produce tailings ponds — amount to $30 billion, though its internal estimates calculated a “worst-case scenario” of $130 billion. The province of Alberta has on hand less than $1 billion as the oil sands industry grapples with a declining market.

Lake Ontario Containment of 150-year-old toxic blob – The Narwhal
A $139-million underwater box the size of six city blocks is being built to contain an underwater contaminated zone in Hamilton’s Randle Reef for some 200 years. While critics point out the answer to the steel town’s historic pollution shouldn’t be found in making more steel, others say the technique should be considered for other toxic sites in Canadian waters

How a Yukon mine left behind a $35-million clean-up bill – The Narwhal
The Yukon Territorial government is on the hook to clean up the Wolverine mine after its owner went bankrupt. A system in place to secure funds for remediation throughout a mine’s life should have prevented this scenario, but it didn’t — and that doesn’t bode well for future mine clean-ups.

Indigenous:

Northern B.C. First Nations wrap up testimony in supreme court case against Rio Tinto (Alcan) – Prince George Matters
Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations launched legal action in BC Supreme Court in 2011 to save the Nechako River and its fisheries. The case centres around the impacts of the construction and operation of the Kenney Dam on the Nechako River and Saik’uz and Stellat’en’s constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights, including fisheries on the river.

Business:

Free Business Re-Opening Resource
A new free toolkit has been prepared by Destination Northern Ontario and Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario (NOTO). The toolkit is designed to provide guidance for business owners, operators, staff as well as customers.

Arts:

“Invader Crusader” Art Contest Winner Announced – Outdoor.Com
Wildlife Forever and Title Sponsor Bass Pro Shops, is proud to honor 7th grade, Pennsylvania artist, Tilden Abercrombie with the prestigious Invader Crusader award. The Invader Crusader award was created to spotlight the impact that invasive species have on fish and wildlife.

Blue Fish Steward Quiz

You already know how to catch fish, great, but are you the best angler you can be? Want to test your knowledge to see if you’re following the latest science-based best practices so released fish swim away healthy, and the fish stocks you harvest from are sustainable?

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C6FS5MQ

Be one of seven lucky anglers who will receive gifts from Ranger Boats, Shimano, Orleans Boat World, EagleClaw, Salus Marine, Scotty Fishing and Musky Factory Baits – gifts totaling over $750 in value.

Blue Fish Canada has assembled a series of short quizzes to test your knowledge about fishing sustainably. They go beyond fishing regulations, and test how well you know the latest best practices and proven technologies that safeguard the welfare of fish and their long-term sustainability.

Take the first quiz and gain access to Blue Fish Canada’s interactive on-line citizen science resources, and the tools to become a certified Blue Fish Canada Steward including free decals and the chance to sample the latest sustainable fishing gear.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C6FS5MQ

Whether you’re new to fishing and you want to make sure you’re catching, releasing and harvesting fish sustainably, or you want to mentor those new to fishing using the best available science-based knowledge, Blue Fish Canada has the free resources you need to fish with confidence, connect with nature sustainably, and give back in meaningful ways.

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: www.lawrencegunther.com

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

Please rate The Blue fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast so others will learn of this unique Canadian resource by visiting: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-blue-fish-radio-show/id1090189487?uo=4

Should you have a podcast suggestion or resource you would like to share, please send us a message to: admin@bluefishcanada.ca

Blue Fish Canada is a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity. Please consider making a small monthly donation to off-set the costs of this Newsletter and our other Blue Fish Canada programs by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

In this June 7, 2020 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we celebrate World Ocean Day (June 8) and the bounty the ocean represents.

This week’s Blue Fish Canada News includes:

  • Our weekly Feature including curated Blue Fish Radio interviews with experts and analysis;
  • Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news; and
  • A resource that will inform and inspire you to become better at both catch-and-release fishing, and at harvesting fish sustainably.

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

Lawrence Gunther surf casting

World Ocean Day June 8:

This Week’s Feature celebrates World Ocean Day on June 8, and the sustainable seafood opportunities the world’s ocean represents. Not only is Canada surrounded on three sides by three oceans, but Canada also has the longest coastline in the world. Further, taking into consideration Canada’s rights over it’s coastal waters, the total area of ocean Canada has responsibility over is 2.67 million square kilometres representing 72% of Canada’s total territory. You would think that we would be world leading stewards of our good fortune.

Bren Smith is a Canadian now living on Long Island in the state of New York where he’s pioneering a Green Wave by showing and teaching the world how to farm the ocean sustainably. In Bren’s conversation with editor Lawrence Gunther on this episode of Blue Fish Radio, he speaks about his leaving Newfoundland and a career in the commercial fishing industry, and what inspired him to start an international movement to practice green aquiculture: https://bluefishradio.com/bren-smith-pioneers-green-wave/

With large-scale commercially harvested seafood piling up in freezers due to the closure of restaurants and vacant hotels, you would think that grocery stores would be bursting at the seems, but they’re not. No wonder then direct consumer to fisher seafood purchasing relationships are growing in number as never before. It’s a movement that has been long in the making, and we owe much of it to the hard work of Josh Stoll, a leader in the world in setting up Community Supported Fisheries and a past guest on Blue Fish radio: https://bluefishradio.com/josh-stoll-on-community-supported-fisheries/

Oceana Canada recently investigated seafood being sold in stores and restaurants in five cities across Canada, and their DNA findings were not promising. Upwards of 30% of seafood is being miss-labeled and its never the case of Arctic Char being sold as Tilapia. Josh Laugrehn is the Executive Director of Oceana Canada and has a lot to say about the state of Canada’s commercial fisheries. We use to be the 7th greatest commercial fish harvesting nation in the world, but we’ve since slipped to 21st. Are we on our way back? Listen as Lawrence and Josh discuss progress, challenges and what we still need to see happen before Canada can hold its head high as a sustainable commercial fishing nation: https://bluefishradio.com/oceana-canada-speaks-out-about-the-state-of-canadas-marine-fisheries/

Curious to learn if anything was being done to address the lawless harvesting and misleading sales of ocean seafood taken from international waters, Blue Fish Radio reached out and spoke with Michele Kuruc, VP of world ocean policy at the World Wildlife Fund. We heard about their leadership role in partnership with the U.S. government to rain-in the fish piracy taking place in international waters. https://bluefishradio.com/wwf-on-illegal-fishing/

Having taken part in the North Atlantic Cod fishery up until it’s ultimate demise in 1992 as a deckhand jigging for Cod aboard a 10-meter homemade wooden dory off Cape Breton Island between semesters at university, I know first-hand what it’s like when a once vibrant fishery is depleted. Fortunately, Canada is slowly turning this ship around and rebuilding fisheries, one fish stock at a time.

Non-profits such as Ocean Wise, formally known as the Vancouver Aquarium, have been leading the charge to raise awareness and demand for sustainable seafood. There are many businesses across Canada that are now delivering sustainably harvested seafood right to your door, and Ocean Wise is there to help connect consumers with just such seafood retailers who have earned their Ocean Wise sustainable certification. Learn about sustainable seafood home delivery options in Canada: https://www.aquablog.ca/2020/05/get-ocean-wise-seafood-delivered-to-your-home

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Atlantic Salmon Federation News — ASF RiverNotes – 5 June 2020
Overall the 2020 Atlantic salmon angling is slow in starting. High water and a pandemic are reducing activity on many rivers. Yet Atlantic salmon are returning, and in some rivers there are some very beautiful early fish.

Angler incentive project launched on Kootenay Lake — Nelson Star
Anglers are asked to harvest their catch of rainbow and bull trout, then turn in the heads to one of four depots, and be entered into a monthly draw for prizes valued at $1,000.

Size Matters in Balancing Recreational Fishing Policy for Striped Bass — NOAA
A recent study by Science Center scientists sheds light on possible actions needed to rebuild the Atlantic striped bass fishery while minimizing adverse impacts to anglers. Andrew Carr-Harris and Scott Steinback evaluated the immediate economic and biological impacts of different types of recreational Atlantic striped bass fishing policies. Understanding how anglers respond to management changes is key to rebuilding overfished stocks like Atlantic striped bass.

Effort to Save Endangered Rockfish in BC Is Working — The Tyee
Many rockfish species are vulnerable to over fishing: they can live for more than a century, are slow to grow and reproduce, and don’t stray far from home habitats. Rockfish targeted within the inshore waters of Vancouver Island, including the Gulf Islands, have been in decline. A push using education and spy cameras shows promise in turning things around.

Bassmaster Elite Series Resuming Schedule On Historic Lake Eufaula
Finally, after the longest unplanned break in B.A.S.S. history due to COVID-19 precautions, the Bassmaster Elite Series will resume tournament action next week.

Fish Health:

Fraser River Big Bar Landslide Mitigation Costs Escalate — CBC
The cost of the federal contract for clearing out the Big Bar landslide has tripled to $52.5 million as crews try to meet the “very, very difficult” goal of allowing salmon to migrate naturally along the Fraser River. Federal scientists say some salmon populations in B.C. face possible extinction as a result of the landslide.

Why the Ocean Fish We Eat May Become More Toxic than Ever — Nature
Many species of fish — several of which end up on our plates — are displaying increasing levels of methyl-mercury, a very toxic substance. Why is this happening? Researchers from Harvard University believe that they may have the answer. At the moment, according to recent research, approximately 82% of the exposure to methyl-mercury that consumers get comes from eating seafood. In a new study, the results of which appear in the journal Nature, researchers suggest that levels of methyl-mercury in fish such as cod, Atlantic blue-fin tuna, and swordfish are on the rise. The reason? According to the research team, we should blame the ill effects of global climate change.

Montreal’s rare humpback whale sighting draws crowds and concern — Global News
This is the first time in recorded history that this species of whale has been spotted this far up the St. Lawrence River. Humpback whales usually live in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and can be seen during summer months near Tadoussac, Baie-Comeau and Rivière-du-Loup, all cities about 500 kilometres away. The reasons why the whale has traveled so far are still unknown, perplexing local marine scientists.

Water Quality:

PFAS “the Forever Chemicals” Contamination in the Great Lakes
The Toxics Free Great Lakes Network, Healthy Great Lakes Program (a Program of the Canadian Environmental Law Association), and National Wildlife Federation will be hosting the following webinar: PFAS “the Forever Chemicals” Contamination in the Great Lakes Basin – A Strategic Discussion on Further Steps Around Binational Citizen Action. DATE: Monday June 22, 2020. TIME: 12 noon ET.

Yukon gold mine releases 43 million litres of wastewater amid spring runoff — The Narwhal
Meltwater from heavy snowpack combined with unseasonably warm temperatures caused Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold Mine to divert wastewater into sump, where arsenic levels were measured at four times the allowable concentration on April 27.

Lobster and Sea Scallop Habitat Shifting North — NOAA
A new NOAA study projects that climate change will pose management challenges for two commercially important species—lobster and sea scallop—as suitable habitat shifts north. Researchers have projected significant changes in the habitat of commercially important lobster and sea scallops on the Northeast continental shelf, posing potential trouble for the U.S. commercial fishing industry.

Industry:

ICAST Trade Show Goes Virtual — Angling International
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), producer of the ICAST trade show, has revealed details of the virtual event that will replace the conventional show this July. The transition from conventional show floor to a 24/7 virtual experience means that ICAST, already the world’s biggest trade show, will reach a larger audience than ever before. During ICAST week, ASA will host several conservation-related events to engage the recreational fishing audience, providing information on the nation’s conservation efforts and critical needs for the future.

Boating:

Boat Buying Frenzy Across U.S. — BoatTest.com
Reports of a tremendous spike in boat buying this spring as families seek isolation on the water. A boat buying frenzy is playing out at many dealerships. From runabouts and center consoles to large express and flybridge cruisers and motoryachts, boats are selling at a fast pace, and many dealers are running out of inventory. Builders of large boats in the $1 to $2 million range report that nationwide inventory is often in single digits, and in some cases only a couple of boats are available for immediate delivery. One financial institution is saying its boat loan business is up 31%. BoatTEST has seen a huge spike in boat research on its website, something echoed by virtually all major online classified services.

Sea Tow Foundation Appoints Angie Scott to Serve on North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council — NPAA
The Sea Tow Foundation has appointed Angie Scott, Podcast Host of The Woman Angler & Adventurer as one of seven new marine industry stakeholders to serve a two-year term on its North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council which was established in 2019. In this capacity, Scott joins a combined slate of 19 council members charged to collaborate on and develop a variety of strategies and tactics to promote greater awareness and adoption of boating safety initiatives and messages.

BRP discontinues production of Evinrude E-TEC and E-TEC G2 outboard engines — Global News
VALCOURT, Quebec, May 27, 2020 BRP announces it has re-oriented its marine business to focus on the growth of its boat brands with new technology and innovative marine products. The Stuyvesant WI facility will be repurposed. In 2018 BRP acquired Alumacraft and Manitou boat companies in the U.S., followed by the acquisition of Australian boat manufacturer Telwater in 2019. “Our outboard engines business has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, obliging us to discontinue production of our outboard motors immediately. This business segment had already been facing some challenges and the impact from the current context has forced our hand,” said José Boisjoli, President and CEO of BRP. BRP has signed an agreement with market leader Mercury Marine to supply outboard engines to BRP’s boat brands. BRP will continue to supply customers and dealer network service parts and will honour manufacturer limited warranties, plus offer select programs to manage inventory. These decisions will impact 650 employees globally. BRP plans to expand its presence in the pontoon and aluminum fishing markets and continue to develop unique new marine products, such as the next generation of engine technology with Project Ghost and the next generation of pontoons with Project M.

Business:

Outdoor retailer Sail Outdoors Closes Six Stores — Canadian Press
Sail will shrink its footprint by a third with the closure of four stores in Quebec and two in Ontario that will affect about 500 workers. The move comes two days after the Quebec-based company said it filed for creditor protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act due to the pressure of having its stores shuttered for several weeks because of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. The restructuring will see it end the Sportium brand by closing locations in Quebec City, St-Hubert, Laval and Kirkland at the conclusion of a liquidation sale that will start in a few days. Ontario stores in Vaughan and Etobicoke, near Toronto, will also close. The company, founded more than 40 years ago, will focus on 12 remaining Sail locations, including eight in Quebec and four in Ontario, as well as its e-commerce business. Sail has 1,800 employees, some of whom will be able to transfer to other stores or its distribution centre.

Ottawa Unveils Biggest Fishing Industry Aid Package Since Cod Moratorium — SaltWire Network
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $469 million in direct support for fish harvesters, who are facing mounting uncertainty. Crab and lobster fisheries throughout Atlantic Canada have faced delayed season openings due to fears about the coronavirus spreading in small communities and close working conditions. The start of the season is also overshadowed by a significant drop in prices due to a collapse in retail and restaurant markets in the United States, Japan and China, major export markets for Canada’s seafood.

Art:

Winners of the 2020 State-Fish Art Contest — Wildlife Forever
A distinguished panel of judges selected winners from over 5,000 entries received from 47 states and 32 international countries. On May 18, judges from around the world including Jeremy Wade of River Monsters utilized a new online platform to help to select this year’s winners. Artists competed for state, national and international recognition including several unique award categories including the Guy Harvey Award, Fish Migration Award and Invader Crusader Award. Students also competed by submitting a written essay for the Fish Make You Smarter Award. Art has been intricately linked to nature for thousands of years. From pictographs on stone walls, to Ding Darling and the creation federal duck stamp program, utilizing art to build connections to nature is at the core of modern conservation. Fish Art captures the wonder and real-life experiences of stories told and lessons learned, inspiring visions for tomorrow. For many students, the Fish Art Contest is their first experience learning about fish and fishing. 22 years ago, the Wildlife Forever contest was born from a child’s idea that has since inspired tens of thousands of youth to create, learn and become uniquely connected to the outdoors.

Photo of editor Lawrence Gunther fighting a 300lb Bull Shark using a stand-up harness, a #10 inline circle hook with a 15lb Bonita as bait, 500lb steel leader and 200lb main line

Blue Fish Canada Sustainable Saltwater Fishing Tips:

  1. Use corrosive / non-stainless steel hooks to shorten the time the hook will take to dissolve if left in a fish.
  2. Use non-offset circle hooks designed to hook fish in the jaw, reducing the chance of causing internal injuries to fish.
  3. Photograph and release fish while in the water whenever possible. Large fish can injure themselves and anglers, and cause damage to the interior of boats.
  4. The protective slime on a fish is important, so handle fish as little as possible. If you must handle a fish, only use wet hands, and never use a towel.
  5. Avoid lifting a fish from the water by the line. If you use a landing tool such as a Boga-Grip® to control the fish, use your hand to support the belly of the fish.
  6. If a fish needs to be taken out of the water to measure or vent it, or to remove the hook, this is another perfect opportunity to quickly take a picture.
  7. Avoid lifting a fish by its jaw, especially large fish. This can injure the fish so it can’t feed normally and may harm its internal organs.
  8. If a hook is lodged deep in a fish’s throat, cut the line as close as possible to the hook.
  9. If a net is needed to land or control the fish, always use a knot-less rubber-coated net. Only gaff a fish when you intend to keep it.
  10. Gently release fish headfirst into the water. If a fish is exhausted, revive it before releasing it by moving the fish forward in the water with its mouth open, allowing water to flow through its mouth and over its gills. Be cautious of predators while reviving fish.

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: www.LawrenceGunther.com

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

Please rate The Blue Fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast so others will learn of this unique Canadian resource by visiting: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-blue-fish-radio-show/id1090189487

Should you have a podcast suggestion or resource you would like to share, please send us a message to: admin@bluefishcanada.ca

Blue Fish Canada is a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity. Please consider making a small monthly donation to off-set the costs of this Newsletter and our other Blue Fish Canada programs by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

In this May 31 2020 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we thought the time was right to pay homage to the ultimate shore fishing experience, Common Carp. Now’s the time to get out there and intercept these shoals of bruans that make their annual spring appearance.

This week’s Blue Fish Canada News also includes:

  • Live coverage, interviews and resources designed to fire up your Carp fishing engine;
  • Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news; and
  • Blue Fish Canada Carp Fishing Best Practices.

**Don’t forget to take this week’s Blue fish Steward 12-question Quiz and enter your name to win one of seven great prizes totaling $750 in value**

Editor Lawrence Gunther aboard his ranger Fisherman holding a 25lb Common Carp caught on a Senko while flipping pads for bass

Canada’s World-Class Carp Fishing

As the water begins warming Common Carp move into the shallows to feed and spawn – not simultaneously, but the point is they make their appearance. Brought to Canada in the early 1900’s from Eastern Europe as a “comfort food” their status in North America has long since transitioned from “invader” to that of “sportfish”? Well maybe not sportfish yet, but if what happened in Europe makes it over to this side of the pond, these fish might just someday become regarded as a truly prize catch.

Our friends at Fish’n Canada believe in carp fishing so much they bought the business. In 2018 they began hosting the FNC Carp Cup, and in 2019 Blue Fish Radio was on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River to speak with the different teams competing in the grueling weekend-long tournament: https://bluefishradio.com/fishn-canada-carp-cup-live/

A big issue many believe to be slowing the growth of carp fishing in Ontario is the inability of anglers to use multiple fishing lines such as the case in the U.S. and Europe. Blue Fish Radio spoke with Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, who committed to have this inequity addressed: https://bluefishradio.com/ontario-gives-carp-fishing-a-long-needed-boost/

I think a big part of the issue behind carp fishing being slow to take off in Canada also has to do with the threat of invasive Bighead and Silver Carp making their way up the Mississippi River and threatening to wreak havoc on the ecosystems within the Great Lakes. While all carp may not be made the same, there’s no doubt that the threat of these filter-feeding disruptors is real as discussed with our friends at Save the River in Clayton NY on this episode of Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/save-river-looks-halt-spread-asian-carp/

The Ontario Federation of Angling and Hunting are also hard at work raising awareness of the danger invasive carp species represent as explained by one of their campaigners on Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/invading-species-toronto-sportsman-show/

If you want to learn about the basics and more advanced techniques and equipment commonly used by carp anglers, this on-line resource full of great articles featuring one of the greats in the carp fishing world, Jeff Vaughan , were written especially for carp fishing in Ontario: https://www.ontariocarpfishing.com/

It’s a good time to go carp fishing with your family, those your sheltering with, or a fishing buddy that you can count on to adhere to social distancing. Shorelines provide ample space to spread out, and once you get set up, it’s pretty much wait-and-see. Early mornings and later in the afternoon are generally your best bites, but mid-day can provide steady action as well. So, pack up your kit, some food and drink, and your favorite outdoor chair and go fish. For tips on where, visit Carp Anglers Group Ontario on Facebook and the folks there will be happy to offer advice.

Fishing, fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds —| Smithers Interior News
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced widespread closures to recreational salmon fishing affecting all fresh water areas of the North Coast. The notice expands on the May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed.

Lake Superior anglers are asked to avoid the overharvest of steelhead — Duluth News Tribune
As Lake Superior gradually warms up this spring and the fishing heats up, fisheries biologists are asking anglers to pay closer attention to their catch. Steelhead/rainbow trout and Coho salmon are cousins of a sort, both in the Salmonidae family, but conservation measures in place for Steelhead means knowing which-is-which is important. . They look close enough alike that some anglers are keeping steelhead to kill and eat thinking they are Coho.

Lake Erie Expected to Provide Great Walleye Fishing this summer — The Fishing Wire
World-class fishing continues to exceed expectations on Lake Erie in 2020, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Walleye harvest rates set records for the second straight year in 2019. Top Lake Erie walleye catch rates from 2019 were in June, July and May, respectively. Numerous large hatches point to an increasingly bright future for Lake Erie.

Pandemic complicates salmon angling in Quebec — Atlantic Salmon Federation
Anglers are experiencing challenges over the Covid-19 restrictions and their impacts on the salmon angling rivers in Quebec.

Indonesian lockdown heralds micro fishing craze — Angling International
A Japanese style of micro fishing has become increasingly popular during the lockdown in Indonesia. Inspired by senior anglers, Budi Wi and Harry Buana, Ispull Micra Fishing Tanago (IMFT), has taken off because it can be carried out close to home in the smaller rivers.

Crappie USA Reschedules Tournaments
The first and largest crappie tournament organization in the world, and the founder of the American Crappie Association, the first and largest association of crappie anglers, has announced new dates for some of its events. Events have been moved back and safety precautions have been put in place, but the tournament group still plans on holding 10 competitions this year.

Competition fishing given go-ahead across England — Angling International
Competition fishing in England can be resumed immediately across all disciplines after Government approval was given this week. Competition anglers are among the sport’s highest spenders and the return of matches will be a welcome boost for the industry. Separate guidelines have been produced for game, coarse and sea angling.

Plea of South African anglers falls on deaf ears as fishing ban remains in force — Angling International
John Pledger is the head of the representative body of anglers across South Africa, and has expressed his disappointment at a lack of response from Government ministers to its plea to allow angling to resume during the COVID-19 crisis. The South African Consolidated Recreation Anglers Association (SACRAA) wrote to six senior politicians, including the head of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, asking them to act now to save many businesses threatened with closure.

Fish Health:

Salmon expected to begin arriving soon at Fraser River landslide — Times Colonist
Parts of a pneumatic fish pump dubbed the salmon cannon have arrived at the site of a massive landslide along British Columbia’s Fraser River. A fish ladder that’s nearly complete would attract salmon, guiding them into a holding pond before they enter the fish pump and tube system that will take them up river and over the slide.

5 Ways Hatchery Fish Hurt Our Wild Salmon — Skeena Wild Video
Large scale hatcheries may seem like an easy answer to dwindling fish stocks; however, new research shows that they tend to do more harm than good. There is limited food out in the ocean – especially in recent years due to warming ocean temperatures – and with billions of hatchery fish entering the ocean every year from large production hatcheries, they compete with wild salmon for limited food. But small, community hatcheries have less impact and can be important for restoration of individual stocks.

Water Quality:

How the St. Lawrence River’s Ups and Downs Impact Biodiversity — St. Lawrence River Institute
River water level fluctuations are a natural phenomenon that help shape aquatic communities. However, the St Lawrence River (SLR) water levels have been managed for the past 60 years. Join River Institute Research Scientist, Matt Windle, Wednesday June 3 @ 7pm [online], for a talk on what the SLR used to be like and how aquatic life have adapted to the changes over the years. Matt will also discuss his studies to compare the biodiversity of Hoople Bay to other sections of the river that do not experience the same severe water level fluctuations and to track seasonal biodiversity changes.

Remove dam, let St. Croix River run freely, says Fundy Baykeeper — CBC News
With New Brunswick’s Milltown Generating Station no longer viable, decommissioning of the Milltown Generating Station and dam would provide an ecological boost to the St. Croix River and an economic boost to region say Matt Abbott, the Fundy Baykeeper of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

Industry:

National Outdoor Groups Release Six “Recreate Responsibly” Tips
A newly formed coalition of outdoor groups has created the Recreate Responsibly initiative to share ways for anglers to stay healthy while enjoying public lands, parks, trails, waters, and other outdoor areas.

Boating:

New On-Line Resources to Help Canadian Boaters Navigate COVID-19 — Discover Boating Canada
With Canada’s pleasure boating restrictions being lifted and the season ramping up, DiscoverBoating.ca has launched two new pages to help Canadian boaters find the latest information on enjoying boating while navigating COVID-19 guidelines.

Boating During COVID-19 features guidelines set by Transport Canada and includes helpful, printable infographics for NMMA Canada members to use in their businesses and share with customers.

Coronavirus and Boat Shopping: What You Should Know provides Canadians comprehensive insights into buying a boat during this time, from scheduling appointments and closing the deal, to service and support, plus Discover Boating resources to research and shop online.

Business:

Locals First – Creating Experiences to Appeal to the Local Market — Free Webinar
On June 3rd, 2020 – 11:00 am EDT catch this webinar geared to tourism / outfitting businesses interested in attracting local customers. Learn how to adjust your product offering and experiences to appeal to local customers (e.g. family, couples, and outdoor adventure, culinary).

Arts:

In conversation with Robert Bateman on his 90th birthday — The Narwhal
Iconic Canadian artist and naturalist reflects on his life and his work

Blue Fish Canada Common Carp Sustainability Fishing Tips

  1. Rod, reel, line and tackle should be of sufficient strength to control carp properly to avoid over-tiring fish, keep them away from snags, and to prevent fish from breaking off or spooling your reel.
  2. Soak bait such as corn or nuts to ensure bait doesn’t swell in the stomachs of fish.
  3. Use non-offset circle or barbless hooks, or hooks with micro-barbs, to reduce the chance of deep-hooking fish and to minimize hook wounds.
  4. Use smooth leader material or a rubberized coating to prevent injuring fins and scales while playing carp.
  5. Use lead weight release devices to ensure fish don’t become tethered to snags.
  6. Don’t fish along shores or on peers subject to large waves to prevent injuring fish.
  7. Make sure nets and weigh slings are knot-free or rubber and of sufficient size, and ensure fins are flat against the fish’s body when placed in weigh sack.
  8. Keep forceps, needle nose plyers and hook cutters handy to remove hooks quickly, treat hook holes with an appropriate antiseptic, and use unhooking mats to prevent injuries to fish.
  9. Wet unhooking mats and weigh slings prior to use to avoid removing protective slime from fish.
  10. Wet hands and forearms and carry fish by supporting their bodies near the pectoral and anal fins. Be sure not to remove protective slime with your dry clothing.

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: www.LawrenceGunther.com

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

Please rate The Blue fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast so others will learn of this unique Canadian resource by visiting: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-blue-fish-radio-show/id1090189487

Should you have a podcast suggestion or resource you would like to share, please send us a message to: admin@bluefishcanada.ca

Blue Fish Canada is a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity. Please consider making a small monthly donation to off-set the costs of this Newsletter and our other Blue Fish Canada programs by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

In this May 24, 2020 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we wanted to focus on the human side of fishing. Topics like anglers who become giants of the fishing world, or those who are successful in other ways but use fishing as a way to unwind. Just as importantly, we thought we should include some information just in case all this Covid-19 business is beginning to get you down.

This week’s News includes:

  • Two giants in the fishing world currently hunkered down and dreaming about fishing
  • The latest water quality, fish health and fishing news
  • Tips for staying mentally fit as we begin to re-open society and the outdoors!
Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther aboard his ranger Fisherman

Giants in the World of Fishing:

Every couple months Blue Fish Radio reaches out to one of the giants in the fishing world for a check-in on their take on the state of fish and fishing. Most recently we found Jeremy Wade from River Monsters and singer songwriter and angler Uncle Kracker at their respective homes sheltering from Covid-19.

Jeremy Wade is UK’s “Sherlock Holmes” of angling. His magical blend of solving underwater mysteries through careful planning, local knowledge and a hook-and-line has been capturing the imagination of viewers for over 15 years starting with his world renowned series “River Monsters”. It’s a return to the origins of the true spirit of angling that’s inspiring the next generation of curious and conservation minded anglers. Link below to hear Jeremy in conversation with host Lawrence Gunther on this first of this two part Blue Fish Radio installment in the series “Giants of the Fishing World”: https://bluefishradio.com/river-monster-host-jeremy-wade-part-1-of-2/

In this final installment of our interview with Jeremy Wade from the River Monster series, we dive deeper into what it takes to produce the magical moments Jeremy has been creating to inform and entertain mainstream TV viewers for over 15 years. We also explore Jeremy’s books and his role as an international fish art competition judge. Find out what makes Jeremy tick, and why anglers – and especially youth – are embracing Jeremy’s thirst for adventure and insatiable curiosity to seek out and reveal the freshwater animals called fish: https://bluefishradio.com/river-monster-host-jeremy-wade-part-2-of-2/

Last but not least, Matthew Shafer, AKA by his stage name Uncle Kracker, is an American singer-song writer and musician known for his rock and now country music. Matt is also a big fan of fishing, and lives in Michigan on the shores of Lake St. Clair where he keeps his 25-foot centre console. Uncle Kracker’s musical career includes hit singles Follow Me, Smile, Drift Away and Floatin, and collaborating and touring with Kid Rock and his group Twisted Brown Trucker. Since 1999 Matt has recorded five records as a solo artist Double Wide (2000), No Stranger to Shame (2002), Seventy Two and Sunny (2004), Happy Hour (2009), Midnight Special 2012, and now his hit single Floatin (2018). Link below to hear Matt in conversation with Lawrence Gunther as they explore the challenges of writing songs that reference fishing without having them sound corny, and what it takes to get your kids interested in fishing, on this special “Fishing Musicians” episode of Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/singer-and-angler-uncle-kracker-on-fishing-during-troubling-times/

The Latest Water Quality, Fish Health and Fishing News

Fishing:

Fishing in Canada during Covid-19 – Keep Canada Fishing
Fishing has been and always will be important to the mental well-being of Canadians. It is an ecologically sound method of putting healthy food on the table and a crucial part of the Canadian economy. To help us all get through these trying times, Keep Canada Fishing has compiled a Code of Conduct based on the current recommendations of health officials.

Port Alberni cancels 49th annual Salmon Festival – Port Alberni Valley News
In what many consider the world capital of salmon fishing, it couldn’t have been an easy decision for Port Alberni to cancel their Salmon Festival. Salmon is the foundation of the Port Alberni economy and the social backbone of the various First Nations and non-indigenous communities situated along this amazing salmon runway. The festival will be rescheduled to 2021.

Fish Health:

Take a Survey to conserve and restore Alberta’s native trout
Native trout are some of the most threatened species in Alberta, but there is little public awareness of native fish and their threats. The Native Trout Collaborative Communications project is a joint project aiming to increase awareness of recovery, habitat and threats to native trout in Alberta. Multiple organizations in Alberta are collaborating in this joint effort including Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Conservation Association, Cows and Fish, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Southern Alberta Chapter, Trout Unlimited Canada, and Foothills Research Institute.

Live gene bank only hope for inner Bay of Fundy salmon – CBC News
The survival of Atlantic salmon in the inner Bay of Fundy is now almost entirely dependent on two federal fish hatcheries, according to a new and dire population estimate released by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Smolt tagging and Tracking on the Miramichi – Atlantic salmon Federation
With the longest unbroken data series on Atlantic salmon migration in the world at risk, Atlantic Salmon Foundation Jonathan Car and his son Evan take their social bubble north for smolt tagging and tracking on the Miramichi.

U.S. Fishing Industry urges Trump Administration to deny Pebble Mine proposal in Alaska – Angling International
More than 250 US outdoor sporting businesses and organisations have urged President Donald Trump to safeguard American jobs and industry by denying a key permit for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The letter comes as the US Army Corps of Engineers is poised to release its final Environmental Impact Statement in the coming months, a key document in the permitting process for the large gold and copper mining proposal. The Pebble Limited Partnership is now 100% owned by The Northern Dynasty Partnership, which is a wholly owned Canadian-based subsidiary of Northern Dynasty Minerals, Limited. The letter was delivered by the CEOs of The Orvis Company.

Indigenous:

Living with Sea Otters Next Door – Hakai Magazine
Ecologists and Indigenous leaders are developing strategies to help communities cope with resurgent sea otter populations.

Water Quality:

Protecting Champlain-Missiquoi and Memphremagog from Harmful Algal Blooms – International Joint Commission
Public concerns regarding water quality and harmful algal blooms in Lake Champlain-Missisquoi Bay and Lake Memphremagog have continued to grow over the past decade. The International Joint Commission (IJC), in response to a request from Canadian and United States governments, has issued a report with recommendations on how federal, state, provincial and local governments can work together to clean up the water. Harmful algal blooms produce toxins that can affect human health, pets, ecosystems and wildlife. They also impact recreational activities in the summer, local economies and threaten the safety of drinking water. The blooms occur due to high phosphorus levels in the lakes from sources including cities and farms.

Study finds micro plastics in birds of prey – EarthSky
Past studies have documented increasing amounts of micro plastics in the guts of fish, marine birds, and filter-feeding invertebrates, such as oysters. Now a new study has confirmed the presence of micro plastics in birds of prey – including hawks, ospreys and owls – for the 1st time.

Boating:

Clean Drain Dry Initiative Unveils New Tools to Fight Invasive Species
Wildlife Forever’s Clean Drain Dry Initiative has developed new and innovative products to help stop the spread of invasive species. Across the country, invasives are forcing managers to create new restrictions to protect natural resources. Invasive species destroy native habitat and are a leading cause for endangered species listing. Stakeholders are encouraged to use the ready-made materials on how and why Clean Drain Dry is critical to protect resources and outdoor sports.

Marina Life While Respecting Social Distancing – Boating Ontario
A webinar for marina businesses and those who frequent marinas on May 26th at 11:00 EST on defining expectations from the parking lot to the boat to the service shop, the fuel dock and everything in-between.

Electric PWC Wins Red Dot Design Award
The Taiga Orca, an all-electric personal watercraft from Canada’s Taiga Motors, has earned a Red Dot Award for outstanding design.

Maintaining Sound Mental Health

Anglers everywhere appreciate the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in the outdoors. Fishing is not only a tradition that reconnects us to nature, it’s a way of releasing tension and taking a well needed break from the grind of our daily responsibilities. Unfortunately, the two most common factors linked to suicide are economic setbacks and social disconnection, according to University of Toronto Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Roger McIntyre, both factors associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research shows that following natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, there’s a rise in suicide after the immediate physical dangers of the disaster have passed. It’s why it’s more important than ever to maintain social contact with family, friends and our neighbours now, and even more so once we begin our journey back to “normal”.

We all enjoy fishing, camping, boating, etc. but will it be enough? Experts say Now is the time to learn techniques for “mindfulness” so you will have the tools to move forward without finding yourself suddenly experiencing a mental health crisis. Just like physical exercise, mindfulness techniques can help to keep you feeling well. In the meantime, practice the following:

  • Connect online: See friends and family by Zoom or phone. Feeling understood and sharing feelings of pain can help alleviate it.
  • Adjust your medications if necessary: Make sure you’re on the right medication and the right amount. Many psychiatrists are taking advantage of relaxed rules from insurers regarding telemedicine, so they are still able to meet remotely with patients and can adjust medication as needed during those appointments.
  • Seek teletherapy or group therapy: Teletherapy has seen massive growth for those who can find providers. Also, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are meeting online.
  • Make a safety plan: Discuss with family or partners what works for you — specific measures they can take or not take when you’re in crisis. Make sure you keep guns and ammunition locked up and think about who has access to the keys, or maybe shouldn’t have access for a time.
  • Develop a new routine: Quarantine has disrupted daily life, so developing new patterns that foster good sleep, healthy eating and exercise are helpful. This brings focus to the day and is helpfully distracting from thoughts of hopelessness and anxiety.
  • And finally, learn mindfulness techniques and put them into practice. Just as the body needs exercise, the mind needs to enter regular periods of calm.

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: www.LawrenceGunther.com

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

Please rate The Blue fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast so others will learn of this unique Canadian resource by visiting: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-blue-fish-radio-show/id1090189487?uo=4

Should you have a podcast suggestion or resource you would like to share, please send us a message to: Admin@bluefishcanada.ca

Blue Fish Canada is a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity. Please consider making a small monthly donation to off-set the costs of this Newsletter and our other Blue Fish Canada programs by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

Yours truly,

Lawrence Gunther Euteneier M.E.S. M.S.M.
President / Blue Fish Canada

In this May 17, 2020 edition of the Blue Fish Canada Newsletter:

  • We continue our exploration of salmon and steelhead habitat access issues on the Fraser River; 
  • More water quality, fish health and fishing news; and,
  • In recognition of Safe Boating Awareness Week, we bring you a compilation of Covid-19 inspired boating and fishing best practices.

Fraser River estuaries serve as nurseries to salmon and steelhead
Last week we explored the Big Bar Fraser River landslide. Today we turn our attention to measures underway to rehabilitate the salmon and steelhead rearing habitat at the mouth of the Fraser River. While some doom-and-gloom people may think the writing is on the wall regarding the salmon and steelhead that rely on the Fraser River, there’s a lot of folks who refuse to give up. Their collective efforts, often now combined with resources from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, are beginning to turn the tide on the decline of the river’s former glory. 

The Fraser River is in no way just another of many west coast rivers that empty into the Pacific Ocean. It serves as a 1,375 km long freeway of sorts that links the ocean to numerous rivers and 12 distinct watersheds spread out throughout southern B.C. The steelhead and salmon that commute up and down the length of the Fraser also rely on the estuaries located near the river mouth for cover. Not just the process of smolting (shifting from living in freshwater to saltwater), but to build up the size and strength needed to survive in the open North Pacific ocean. 

Blue Fish Radio is always amazed and pleased to meet and present anglers who have dedicated huge chunks of their lives to stewarding the wild fish resources in their area. Dave Brown is another one of these local champions who may know more about the Thompson River and Chilcotin River steelhead that run up the Fraser River on Canada’s west coast. His knowledge and advocacy were recently recognized in 2017 with DFO awarding Dave the “National Recreational Fisheries Award”. Dave continues to work hard to save the iconic wild steelhead from annihilation. Link below to hear Dave Brown in conversation with Lawrence Gunther about the history, current situation, and what needs doing to save BC’s steelhead on this episode of Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/what-to-do-about-declining-fraser-river-steelhead/

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed 13 of BC’s 26 southern Chinook stocks and found eight to be endangered. Contributing to the demise of these endangered salmon and steelhead is a history of well-intentioned developments along the Lower Fraser estuary such as dykes, pump stations, dredging and infilling that were taken over the past 100 years. Thankfully, a $2.7-million habitat connectivity project funded through the $75-million coastal restoration fund — part of the federal five-year $1.5-billion oceans protection plan – is already helping to restore crucial salmon and steelhead habitat. The days of the Steveston Jetty on the lower Fraser River preventing juvenile salmon from accessing the estuary zone in Sturgeon Bank may be coming to an end. The Steveston Jetty project is one of many underway to restore access to vital salmon rearing habitat essential to the development of salmon smolts prior to their entering the Pacific Ocean. Link below to learn how Murray Manson, a restoration biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is working with angling and conservation groups on this episode of Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/dfo-on-restoring-fraser-river-salmon-habitat/

The Watershed Watch Salmon Society is devoted to addressing issues impacting wild salmon stocks throughout British Columbia. Whether it’s to improve conditions for struggling southern BC Chinook salmon stocks to help feed resident killer whales, or to ensure indigenous fishers and recreational anglers can continue to catch salmon to feed their families and sustain their coastal communities, the organization and its many volunteers are working hard to resolve spawning opportunities and habitat issues. Link to listen to Lina Azeez from Watershed Watch speak with Lawrence Gunther about their recent success in convincing BC municipalities to restore habitat for salmon smolts along the lower Fraser River on this episode of Blue Fish Radio: https://bluefishradio.com/bc-municipalities-vote-yes-wild-salmon/

It’s obvious that rebuilding Fraser River salmon and steelhead spawning and nursery habitats is a complicated issue that we have allowed to fester for far too long. Undoing the issues and reversing the decline of these important fish to the ecosystem and the socio-economic fabric of so many coastal communities will be a time consuming and costly endeavour. Thankfully, the alternatives of doing too little or nothing at all are ones that increasingly fewer people are willing to accept.

No doubt, as we learn about the success of restoration projects, our expectations will increase and still more such projects will be proposed, supported locally and funded. Ensuring that post Covid-19 infrastructure investments designed to rebuild economies include such habitat improvement considerations is something we all need to keep a watch over.

Call to Action:

Wild Salmon in the Age of Covid – Watershed Watch Salmon Society
With governments poised to implement a new round of infrastructure investments, we have an opportunity to rebuild endangered wild salmon populations, while securing good local jobs and protecting communities.

Ask federal and B.C. governments to invest in proven, fish-friendly flood control and habitat restoration projects.

Expansion of the Roberts Bank Fraser River shipping terminal – The Narwhal
A massive container terminal proposed for British Columbia’s Fraser River Delta is set to be a litmus test for the federal government’s commitment to conserve crucial Fraser River salmon habitat.

In the News:

Fishing:

Newfoundland/Labrador Government Not Selling Non-Resident Salmon Angling Licenses in 2020 – Atlantic salmon Federation
For the first in many decades, the Newfoundland / Labrador provincial government will not be selling non-resident salmon angling licenses. Not surprising with the Covid-19 pandemic, but on another level, this is a province that has encouraged salmon anglers who “come from away” for more than 125 years.

Record Numbers of Young People Discovering Fishing – National Professional Anglers Association
Across the U.S. more teens are going fishing than ever before. Some speculate it may be a result of school closures due to Covid-19. In one week, the Minnesota DNR sold a record 13,369 fishing licenses to resident teens 16 and 17 years old, a 99% increase over the year before. Minnesota fishing license sales overall increased by 44%. While most provinces in Canada don’t track sales of fishing licenses to youth, one need only drive by public access shore fishing locations to see a similar up-take in fishing here as well.

B.C. Anglers call for Salmon fishery to open to chinook retention – Squamish Chief
Sports anglers say government regulations that restrict the harvesting of Chinook salmon on the south coast, including in Howe Sound, are not based on science. Conservationist say opening is the goal, but the preservation of the stocks at risk is more important.

Trout Stocking Extravaganza – Alberta Conservation Authority
The Alberta Conservation Authority has been working hard to ensure nearly all ACA lakes have been stocked for the long weekend, and urges anglers to go catch a big delicious trout!

A Podcast about seafood and local fishers – Coastal Routes Radio
Social FISHtancing is a new podcast that presents stories of local fishers living in a time of COVID-19, brought to you by Coastal Routes Radio. It investigates the impacts of the COVID-19 on fishing families and communities across North America. Each week the hosts speak with people involved in small-scale fisheries and how their fisheries are being impacted, and how fishermen and women are responding to shifting seafood markets and consumer needs. Coastal Routes Radio is produced at the University of Guelph and is an initiative of the Coastal Routes project, a network of researchers, coastal communities, and non-profit organizations — united to support verdant, sustainable, and just coastal livelihoods and places.

Watch Major League Fishing Pros Cast Their Best Trick Shots 
Most of us have been sheltering at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped many of us from practicing our casting. Major League Fishing pros were recently tasked with showing off their expert casting skills to the world and submitting their best “Trick Shot”, and the best were compiled into a video that can be viewed at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Indigenous:

Fish parcels from home: Fish Distribution by coastal B.C First Nation’s – Cowichan Valley Citizen
Despite the pandemic, Kyuquot First Nation will continue with its annual food fish distribution to Kyuquot First Nation members spread across B.C., and the US. Each receives a doorstep delivery of fish from their traditional land on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Water Quality:

Great Lakes Water Levels Webinar – International Joint Commission
The IJC recently held their 3rd water levels webinar of 2020. IJC co-chair Jane Corwin advises that forecasts show the water levels topping out at about one foot higher than where levels are now.

Fish Health:

Ontario B.A.S.S Nation Fish Care Study 
In March 2020 Jason Barnucz OBN Conservation Director attended the 2020 B.A.S.S. Conservation Summit held during the 2020 Bassmaster Classic. This bi-annual summit brings all B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Directors, Resource Managers and Fisheries Experts from across North America together to discuss conservation issues including tournament fish care, invasive species, fisheries management and more. Ontario’s Jason Barnucz presented on the 2019 Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation Live Release Study carried out at the 2019 OBN Qualifier at Rice Lake. 

Fisheries and Aquaculture minister devious and reckless – South Coast Today
The recent Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture decision to give a 20-year permit to Cooke Aquaculture to raise farmed salmon in Liverpool Bay is likely to result in the raising and selling of virus-infected salmon in the province.

The Miracle Fish – The Tyee
Salmon, amazing in so many ways, have swum in these waters for 50 million years. It’s miraculous they still do.

Restoring Balance in the Heart of the Fraser – The Nicomen Slough
The Nature Trust of British Columbia has acquired an important piece of habitat for conservation in the Heart of the Fraser known for prime spawning habitat for salmon and white sturgeon and for serving as a nursery for millions of salmon fry every year.

Industry:

Canada’s own B.A.S.S Elite Angler Jeff ‘Gussy’ Gustafson Raises Money for Covid-19 Relief
Gustafson has partnered with Shimano Canada and the Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation to raise money for the Covid-19 charities of the winners choice, who will receive an autographed tournament jersey from Bassmaster Elite Angler Jeff Gustafson, and a G-Loomis E6X Rod of their choice from Shimano Canada.

Dire straits for BC’s sport-fishing – Times Colonist
Fishing guides are at home, hotels are closed and vessels are docked due to COVID-19 restrictions, and it’s not known when these seasonal businesses will be able to start up again.

Shimano’s much-anticipated ICAST product presentation Moves On-Line – Angling International
Instead of staging the showcase in its booth in Orlando, Shimano is moving it online in a virtual event scheduled for the same time it would have been held in the Orange County Convention Center this summer. Product development staff and pro-staffers will be introducing new products from Shimano, G.Loomis, PowerPro and Jackal.

Marine Retailers Association 58-page Guide to Operating Safely 
The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, along with trade association partners from across the marine industry, recently released a 58-page publication aimed at helping marine dealers operate safely in a new marketplace concerned with COVID-19.

Safe Boating and Fishing

May 16-22 2020 is Safe Boating Awareness Week. With boat launches and marinas moving to open up, Blue Fish Canada conducted a scan and pulled together the following list of Covid-19 boating and fishing best practices for staying safe:

  1. Maintain social distancing, other than with those whom you live, including limiting who you invite on your boat;
  2. When picking up tackle or live bait, arrange to have curb-side pick-up or no contact delivery if possible, or ware a face covering and gloves if entering a store / bait shop;
  3. Don’t share equipment such as nets, pliers, life jackets, water bottles, weighing or measuring equipment, fishing rods, minnow buckets or any other piece of fishing or personal gear with other anglers / boaters with whom you are social distancing;
  4. Wear a mask or face covering if you’re going to be fishing or moving around people with whom you are social distancing;
  5. Avoid using boat docks at launches if possible by entering and exiting your boat directly from the launch;
  6. If you need to use a boat dock, avoid using ropes and cleats, wear gloves, and clean the soles of your shoes when you enter the boat. Wipe down your gunnels and sanitize your hands after departing the dock or loading your boat;
  7. Avoid shore fishing locations or using launches that are congested or where others are failing to respect social distancing;
  8. Don’t fish off docks where people are launching and trailering their boats, and don’t go on to a dock until the person before you is finished using it;
  9. Park your vehicle far enough away from other vehicles and don’t touch anyone else’s vehicle or boat;
  10. Don’t request assistance, other than from those you live with, to help launch or load your boat, or help with netting or releasing your fish. If you can’t do it yourself, then don’t go;
  11. Keep your dog on a leash as dogs can transfer the virus by touching their fur;
  12. Be prepared to offer help to other boaters in distress by carrying with you gloves and a mask or face covering, as well as hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes. It’s unlawful and immoral to deny another boater aid when their life is at risk.

About us:

You can read current and back issues of Blue Fish News 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: www.LawrenceGunther.com

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

Please rate The Blue fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast so others will learn of this unique Canadian resource by visiting: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-blue-fish-radio-show/id1090189487

Should you have a podcast suggestion or resource you would like to share, please send us a message to: Admin@bluefishcanada.ca

Blue Fish Canada is a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity. Please consider making a small monthly donation to off-set the costs of this Newsletter and our other Blue Fish Canada programs by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

Yours truly,

Lawrence Gunther Euteneier, M.E.S. M.S.M.
President / Blue Fish Canada