Sunday, 24 May 2009

Great Shad fishing and Good Trout Fishing: Spring in Nova Scotia

Shad fishing has been spotty to say the least. I have been out a few times this past week and success has varied from nothing, to “too many to tell because it will sound like BS”.

I have also had some luck with trout. I picked up three yesterday and a handful of shad. The smaller male shad are well up the river and some spawning activity is going on.


The males are smaller than the females by almost half but are tremendous fun. This one jumped twice and had me into my backing on the first run.

The preferred colour seems to vary with each group of fish. What has been working for me is to change up frequently.

It seems I’ll get one or two hook-ups with one colour then nothing until I try something else, then one or two more and so on. I think every fly in my box has been wet this year.

Green, green and white and solid red seem to be favoured by a small margin.

The technique that has been working is to fish the cast about 45 degrees across and down stream. Let the fly dead drift until it straightens out below you and then give it a slow, jerky, retrieve with lots of pauses to let the fly dangle.

Hits seem to come anywhere in the cast, so be ready.

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Friday, 22 May 2009

The Nature Trust will announce the protection of a new conservation site on the St. Mary’s River

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust and the St. Mary’s River Association are pleased to invite you to join us in Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia for a celebration of past, present and future.

The Nature Trust will announce the protection of a new conservation site on the St. Mary’s River and honour the local family which has made its protection possible.

Following the announcement, there will be photo and interview opportunities—with Nature Trust Vice President, Corey Miller, Nature Trust staff and the land donors—as well as nature walks to showcase the beauty of the river, and a barbecue lunch in partnership with the St. Mary’s River Assocation.

Photos and ‘b-roll’ of the river are available to media on request.

Where: St. Mary’s River Association Interpretive Centre8404 Highway #7, Sherbrooke, NS.

When: May 31st, 2009, 10:00 a.m. Contact: Lauren Allen Conservation Coordinator, Nature Trust 902-406-3320 . Lauren Allen St. Mary's River Project Coordinator Nova Scotia Nature Trust Box 2202, Halifax, NSB3J 3C4

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FISHERIES/AQUACULTURE--Sportfishing Fund Announces 2009 Projects

FISHERIES/AQUACULTURE--Sportfishing Fund Announces 2009 Projects --Press Release

Community groups across the province will soon be starting projects to improve fish habitat in their local river systems, thanks to supportfrom the Nova Scotia Sportfish Habitat Fund.

Repairing stream channels, planting trees to stabilize banks, and restoring historic trout and salmon migration routes are all parts of projects supported by Adopt-a-Stream, a program of the Nova Scotia Salmon Association.

A list of volunteer groups and projects was released today, May 12, at the site of a completed project on the Sackville River.

The upper reaches of the Little Sackville River is targeted for trout habitat restoration, with funding received from the Nova Scotia Sportfish Habitat Fund. The Sackville Rivers Association, an Adopt-a-Stream partner, will help restore the aquatic habitat with several completed and proposed projects including clearing blockages and installing about 30 digger-logs to re-establish the stream's natural meander and increase pool sites.

"These projects directly improve fish habitat, and improve sportfish opportunities for anglers," said Murray Hill, director of inland fisheries, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "The many volunteer groups across the province who have waterway projects should be proud of their work."

Over the next year, 18 community groups will receive money from the 2009Nova Scotia Sportfish Habitat Fund. The fund was established in 2005 to provide financial support to volunteers working on the protection of fish habitat and the improvement of public access to sportfishing.

A committee, made up of anglers throughout the province, chooses projects from a list of applications.

A $5.44 fee added to general and salmon fishing licences provides the income for the fund.

Community groups are required to match Sportfish Habitat funding through their own cash and in-kind contribution to the projects.

Information on angling is available on the Fisheries and Aquaculture website at .

This year's total projects equals $238,078 from the Nova Scotia Sportfish Habitat Fund.

Below is a list of Adopt-a-stream projects approved for 2009 and two additional projects carried over from the previous year:

Annapolis County:-- Annapolis watershed: $15,000 to Clean Annapolis River Project--

Cornwallis (Golflink brook): $4,900 to Friends of the Cornwallis River Society

Antigonish County:-- South River tributaries: $4,000 carried over from 2008 to the Antigonish Town and County Anglers Association--

West and Rights rivers: $19,800 to Habitat Unlimited

Cape Breton Regional Municipality:-- Mira/Salmon river (Stewart brook): $6,000 to ACAP

Victoria County:-- Cheticamp watershed (Aucoin, Fiset, and Farm brooks): $15,900 to Cheticamp River Salmon Association

Inverness County:-- Mabou/Mull, Broad Cove, More Brooks: $20,000 to Mabou and District Community Development Association--

Northeast Margaree (Big Brook): $16,800 to Margaree Salmon Association--

River Denys: $4,000 to Stewards of the River Denys Watershed Association

Colchester County:-- Stewiacke (Little river): $19,000 to Cobequid Salmon Association--

Waugh's and French rivers and tributaries: $18,000 to North Colchester River Restoration Project

Cumberland County:-- River Philip: $25,000 to Cumberland County River Enhancement Association

Digby County:-- Bear River (Franklyn Brook): $12,000 to Bear River First Nation

Guysborough County:-- St. Mary's: $9,700 to St. Mary's River Association

Halifax Regional Municipality:-- Cow Bay River watershed (Ellenvale Run): $9,700 to Clean Nova Scotia--

Little Sackville River: $10,000 carried over from 2008 fund to the Sackville Rivers Association

Lunenburg County:-- LaHave River - $12,000 to LaHave River Salmon Association--

Mushamush Rriver - $15,000 to Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation

Pictou County:-- West River (Pictou) and Pine Tree Brook (Merigomish Bay): $15,000 to Pictou County Rivers Association

Queens County:-- Medway River: $400 to Medway River Salmon Association

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Sunday, 17 May 2009

Shad Flies

Here is a peek at what I am carrying in my Shad fly box this year.

My first shad of the year I caught on this green one. I got it from Larry at Fishin’ Fever the other day. I like to go in and see what the latest patterns are and then, once I know what is working, I’ll tie a handful of variations. The truth is; if you are not hanging a few on the bottom, you are not fishing in the right zone. So, it is a costly business if you don’t tie your own.

Here is my go to fly for when nothing else seems to be working. It is a Crazy Charlie; I think that is what it’s called. Most Bonefish patterns will work amazingly well for Shad. It is probably the hook facing up design that allows one to fish it with better technique as much as any other design element.

These are the flies that were most successful over the last few years. Like most anadromous fish, each generation of returns seems to have a definite colour preference when it comes to taking flies. Variations of green and white seem to be most successful but one year red was by far the most preferred with orange a close second.

My first cast of the season I will always go with a white body, green head or a totally green. If that doesn’t seem to be working I’ll keep changing, working through from red to orange and then pink, pure white and so on.

The main secret to catching fish seems to be going fishing. Everything else is subject to change.

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Shad Fishing on the Nine Mile

Just when I figured I was going to have to travel back in time and fight some big fat Scottish guy to get my “fishing mojo” back, I finally got into some fish.

Today dawned with a grey and overcast sky, perfect for shad fishing. I knew they were there because Brad “Fish Hawk” McCaughan and I had been out earlier in the week. We saw lots of fish but didn’t connect.

Today I managed to get six Shad, all of them big. There were more there to be caught but I was content and headed for home.

For a change everyone hooked was brought to hand. Usually I loose one or two for everyone landed, especially these big six pounders. What a battle they put up. It really is as Brad says, “Arm aching action”. Maybe it was because I was fishing faster water than I normally fish but all of the takes were perfect and I was able to play the fish confidently.

Oh yeah, for those of you locally, green seems to be the preferred fly colour, today anyway.

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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Shad are Running and Mayflies are Hatching

I finally made it fishing. On Saturday I headed out to check out the little lake my daughter and I found last week. It was pretty rough going walking the bank and extremely treacherous wading so I only managed about an hour of fishing and saw no sign of a fish. I’ll go back with the float tube when things warm up a bit and give it a thorough going over.


It was a cold and blustery day with no fish to show for it but it was still a triumph for me. Only a few short months ago I was being admitted to the hospital for heart surgery and remember wondering if I’d ever be able to walk the woods or fish again.
Before getting too braggy, I have to admit I fished an hour and needed a two hour nap afterwards.
Hey, I’m calling it a win.

The next day was Sunday and feeling pretty good, I headed out to Elmsdale to see if the shad were in yet. The answer is; they definitely are starting to run. I was rigged for trout fishing and didn’t get close to them but just knowing they are there has me pumped. I’ll go back this weekend with a full sinking line and some shad flies.

There were a few trout rising here and there to a sporadic hatch of Hendrickson Mayflies. These are a biggish fly; light, opaque, brown or grey with a bit of yellow on the underside of the abdomen. I have never seen them on this particular water before but the trout were not shy about smacking them. I’ll make sure to always have a few in my spring fly box from now on.

That is always the conflict on the Nine Mile or the Shubie; do you rig light for trout or heavy for shad. You can’t really fish them both at once. At least, I have not figured out how to yet.

I walked a good portion of the bank and saw a few shad being caught on darts by the spin fishermen. Didn’t see many fly fishers and no hook-ups on the fly.

Yahoo, the lying season is upon us.

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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Old Hardy Reels, Shad Run 2009 and a Video

I picked up my reels from Eric’s yesterday. He cleaned and greased them, replaced the springs and dogs so that they work as smoothly as new again. These old Hardy St John reels are the best salmon kit I have ever used. I can’t wait to get them lined and ready for fishing. I wonder what the new ones are like. Do they compare?


The news is that the first shad have started running in the Shubie. There have been a few trout being caught in the last week and some bass too from what I’ve been hearing and reading in the forums. With luck, weather and health, I should have some fishing news to report in the next few days

I saw this video today on one of my buddy Tim’s football forums. I found it so funny that I thought I’d post here to see if the humour translates. My site stats show that in this past month there have been visitors from 63 countries stopping by to read this blog. Leave a note and let me know if you find this funny too.

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Saturday, 2 May 2009

Forest Fire Threatens City

What a week it has been.
I have mentioned here before that our city is blessed with some of the best urban fishing you can imagine, within minutes of the downtown core. Well, a large bush fire started behind the city in an area known as McIntosh Run.
-view from Dartmouth-Community Herald Photos

Two brothers described their narrow escape from the fire as, "one minute we were fishing, the next we saw a wall of flames." They literally had to run for their lives and narrowly escaped the inferno. Fire officials said the fire was moving at 36 meters a minute. Those boys were lucky to survive.
The fire was a roaring wall of flames, burning woods and homes as it tore towards Halifax Harbour. It started Thursday afternoon and burned all night before the firefighters could contain it. The weather helped a lot when it started to rain Friday morning but what an amazing effort on the part of the pros and volunteers to fight this fire into submission.
All told, 800 to 1000 hectares of woodland burned, 1,200 people had to be evacuated from the fire’s path, and 8 homes were destroyed.

It could have been caused by anything from a lightning strike to a careless campfire left by fishermen or hikers.

The authorities will doubtless figure it out before too long but be careful out there.

- It will be a generation before anyone else enjoys the beauty of that little brook known as McIntosh run.

For more pictures of the blaze visit Community Herald Photos.

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