Fly Fishing for Ontario Steelhead
I have been down on the Gulf Coast in Florida for the past couple of weeks.
Pretty much have fished everyday. Sometimes in the Canals here in Cape Coral and other days waist deep in the chilly ocean.
Lake Okeechobee has been releasing 1,000’s of gallons of fresh water, along with the sludge from the sugar cane fields into the Caloosahatchee River which feeds into the ocean by Sanibel. The water here now has a dark copper look and is to fresh for most of the fish to stay in the area. Hence the fishing is mighty tough!
I have spoken to a few fishing guides in the area and needless to say, tempers are high. Their business has plummeted. My acquaintances down here who are not guides or fisherman have mentioned on numerous occasions that the guiding community must be so upset at not being able to make the money that they usually would.
This is not the case.
It is the health and well being of the ocean inhabitants that concerns them the most.
As a fly fisherman I understand this. In fact you don’t have to be a fly fisherman to truly care about the fish that we love to target. There has been much chatter about catch and release for Steelhead here on our rivers in Ontario. Our yields of Steelhead have been dismal. I have stayed out of many of the conversations on Social Media this past year, yet seeing what is happening here in Florida I have decided to throw in my two cents.
I understand the argument regarding the science behind our river systems. Help prevent run off from farm land and factories that may be a detriment to our spawning fish. Fix up our tributaries making it is easier for the Steelhead to spawn. I understand the argument that it is a persons right to be able to harvest a fish for their own consumption. I understand that some years we will have smaller runs of Steelhead.
I also understand that humans can annihilate a species within no time at all. Trying to figure the problem of low yields through Science makes sense. However sometimes we need to back away from logical solutions and listen to Mother Nature and regroup. It is us that has created the problem. It is up to us to fix it.
A total ban on harvesting? No. A smaller amount of fish taken per season? Yes. A total ban on Roe? Yes. Certain areas of a river for Catch and Release only? Yes. We know where the fish are greater in numbers. Increase that area for Catch and Release. Not the whole river, but certain sections only. Portions either farther upstream or downstream closer to the Lakes. Implement positive changes to help our fish Spawn.
Most of our rivers are within a two hour drive from Toronto. Very accessible. Extremely enjoyable for every type of fisherman.
To me a true naturalist is a hunter and/or a fisherman, as they understand the philosophy of the game. The game of life. Change is needed on our River Systems here in Ontario. It is time to speak up. I for one do not want to stop anyone from fishing. I am willing to do my part to help implement any changes. I strongly feel our river systems and the lakes that house them need our attention.