How many anglers around the province fish for striped bass?  No one knows for sure but a marine license, which may be coming as early as next year, will at least tell us how many salt water anglers there are.

In the Federation of Anglers and Hunters fish committee annual report, Scott Cook estimates there are “well over 5,000 striped bass anglers” in the Bay of Fundy area alone.  Cook singles out Minas Basin as being one of the top striper fishing area in the province and he’s probably right.  Add the striped bass fishery along the Annapolis Basin, which was once one of the best areas in the province for striper angling, and you can see that the 5,000 angler estimate is likely a low number.

They came, they set up a special management area on the Cornwallis River, and they left.

I suppose this is an unfair comment on the upstream assessment of the Cornwallis River that started last year.  However, the word is that the assessment was kind of a flop, apparently because the study was set up in one of the most barren reaches of the Cornwallis River.   All that electrofishing, live trapping and angling to assess migrations of brown and speckled trout apparently didn’t turn up enough fish to make the study worthwhile.  Or so I heard at one of the wildlife association meetings.

Ever hear of the “lilac run?”

This is what an angling friend dubbed the spring migration of sea run brown trout up the Cornwallis River – at the time the lilacs are in full bloom, hence the name.

After fishing the Cornwallis River for over half a century, I never found any particular time when sea run browns ran up the Cornwallis.  Yes, there is a sea run, a good one.  On any tide, in fact, you’ll find a fresh run of, brown trout, all silvery and full of spunk from being in the salt water.  This is especially noticeable in the tidal areas of the Cornwallis River where, when we fished with bait, we often caught trout all running 11 and 12 inches.  The schools were like that, all trout of similar size and all moving upriver with the tidal flow.

How has your trout fishing been this spring?

Most of the anglers I’ve talked with tell me they’re having the poorest spring of trout fishing ever, and with no explanation of why it’s a below average.  Sure we’ve had some rain, but I’ve seen rainier springs when the trout fishing was great.

The anglers I’ve talked to have mostly been fishing streams and lakes in the eastern end of the Valley.  Wondering what fishing was like at the western end, I contacted Clementsvale angler Reg Baird.  Reg told me in a stream monitored every year the catch of brook trout is down a whopping 40 percent!

I assume from Reg’s report and my one man survey of anglers here there’s some kind of angling glitch happening this year.  Blame a changing climate, maybe?

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