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Sad news for city anglers


The local news was very distressing for me today, and many other anglers and environmentally aware folk I suspect.

Each morning I read the news online over my coffee. Lately I amuse myself to full awareness with Donald Trump nonsense, and a newly opened package of Belize java.

I picked it up at the airport in Belize City for a test run, great stuff it is, full-flavoured and bold, every bit as good as Costa Rican beans, my traditional favourite.

The stuff you discover while fishing, anyway, enough coffee chat, back to the latest on the web.

There has been a serious fish kill on the Waterford River. You likely know the news story, so I won’t waste my word allotment on that, other than to say, our disinfect drinking water kills fish quite readily.

A bloody water main break, of all the pestilents these brown trout might be subjected to by calling home a city river, done in by chlorinated tap water. I would have suspected muddy runoff from a housing development, or waste from a chemical plant of some sort, not pure harmless drinking water.

Good Lord, this blindsides me.

Just the other day I was thinking of doing some autumn fly angling on the Waterford.

Mostly I fish there in winter, but I have had some very good fall days. Some years ago, more precisely six, I entertained an angling writer by the name of John Ross.

He came to Newfoundland to experience our sea run brown trout fishing and relate his experience in Sporting Classics, a still surviving hardcopy angling and hunting magazine.

He got the idea by reading my very first crack at the writing game, a general piece on sea trout fishing that I wrote in Canadian Fly Fisher, then paper published, but now digital only I think.

Before John arrived at YYT I scouted out the fishing I would impress him with. The Waterford was high on my list. As I said, I mostly fish it in winter, but I knew there to be good September sport as well.

Hurricane Igor hit Newfoundland on Sept. 21, 2010. The Waterford went into flood. John was scheduled to arrive late September and fish into early October, typically a grand time to tangle with rotund trout returning from the salt.

I feared for the trouting, given the unprecedented rainfall we had experienced. But I would test the waters.

Matt Brazil and I fished the Waterford as soon as the floodwaters subsided, on the following weekend I think, the storm having hit on a Tuesday. John was scheduled in around next midweek.

The fishing that weekend was amazing, the best trout fishing I have ever experienced anywhere in the world. Isn’t that something, world-class trout fishing within the boundaries of the oldest city in North America?

These fish were big silver feisty sea run trout, I imagine drawn in from St. John’s Harbour and surrounding ocean by the heavy autumn rain.  This natural phenomenon is played out often in the anadromous fish world.

John arrived and I took him fishing. First we covered my stomping grounds around Spaniard’s Bay, that’s Shearstown, South River, and so on. Days following we fished Conception Bay South and Trinity Bay Rivers, giving him the grand tour of our sea trout water.

I saved the best for last. We headed to town for a day on the Waterford. The fever of the bite had weaned some since Matt and I had fished, but John still enjoyed quite a blast. He preferred the Waterford to all else I had shown him, mainly because of the abundance of good sized fish and the style of fishing. He featured the Jewel of St. John’s prominently in his writing.

Without getting into technical fly fishing stuff, suffice to say the Waterford is unique amongst Newfoundland’s varied fly fishing opportunities. It’s much like the brown trout rivers of Eastern Europe, where intriguing nymphing techniques may be employed.

If you wonder about what I babble, Google Czech or Polish Nymphing. This river was a treasure to those of us who seriously swing the rod.

Notice I said was.

Since Igor, the Waterford has declined drastically. I’m thinking that the floodwaters must have destroyed key spawning beds, but I am no expert on these matters.

Although the point is, that somebody in authority to protect our resources and enhance tourism should have cared.

Scientific research should have been done.

This river could be a golden opportunity for angling tourism, combined with our other salmon and brook trout resources.

I’m talking present tense again. Maybe now that the Waterford has made the mainstream news for its trout population we can get something done to protect it.

Although it’s sad to see hundreds of trout dead in the water, especially since the river was just beginning a bit of a comeback. The fishing improved last winter.

Now we need to concentrate on environmental protection, mandate the whole river hook and release only, and appreciate what we have.

Maybe this ill wind might blow some protection and conservation our way.

Each morning I read the news online over my coffee. Lately I amuse myself to full awareness with Donald Trump nonsense, and a newly opened package of Belize java.

I picked it up at the airport in Belize City for a test run, great stuff it is, full-flavoured and bold, every bit as good as Costa Rican beans, my traditional favourite.

The stuff you discover while fishing, anyway, enough coffee chat, back to the latest on the web.

There has been a serious fish kill on the Waterford River. You likely know the news story, so I won’t waste my word allotment on that, other than to say, our disinfect drinking water kills fish quite readily.

A bloody water main break, of all the pestilents these brown trout might be subjected to by calling home a city river, done in by chlorinated tap water. I would have suspected muddy runoff from a housing development, or waste from a chemical plant of some sort, not pure harmless drinking water.

Good Lord, this blindsides me.

Just the other day I was thinking of doing some autumn fly angling on the Waterford.

Mostly I fish there in winter, but I have had some very good fall days. Some years ago, more precisely six, I entertained an angling writer by the name of John Ross.

He came to Newfoundland to experience our sea run brown trout fishing and relate his experience in Sporting Classics, a still surviving hardcopy angling and hunting magazine.

He got the idea by reading my very first crack at the writing game, a general piece on sea trout fishing that I wrote in Canadian Fly Fisher, then paper published, but now digital only I think.

Before John arrived at YYT I scouted out the fishing I would impress him with. The Waterford was high on my list. As I said, I mostly fish it in winter, but I knew there to be good September sport as well.

Hurricane Igor hit Newfoundland on Sept. 21, 2010. The Waterford went into flood. John was scheduled to arrive late September and fish into early October, typically a grand time to tangle with rotund trout returning from the salt.

I feared for the trouting, given the unprecedented rainfall we had experienced. But I would test the waters.

Matt Brazil and I fished the Waterford as soon as the floodwaters subsided, on the following weekend I think, the storm having hit on a Tuesday. John was scheduled in around next midweek.

The fishing that weekend was amazing, the best trout fishing I have ever experienced anywhere in the world. Isn’t that something, world-class trout fishing within the boundaries of the oldest city in North America?

These fish were big silver feisty sea run trout, I imagine drawn in from St. John’s Harbour and surrounding ocean by the heavy autumn rain.  This natural phenomenon is played out often in the anadromous fish world.

John arrived and I took him fishing. First we covered my stomping grounds around Spaniard’s Bay, that’s Shearstown, South River, and so on. Days following we fished Conception Bay South and Trinity Bay Rivers, giving him the grand tour of our sea trout water.

I saved the best for last. We headed to town for a day on the Waterford. The fever of the bite had weaned some since Matt and I had fished, but John still enjoyed quite a blast. He preferred the Waterford to all else I had shown him, mainly because of the abundance of good sized fish and the style of fishing. He featured the Jewel of St. John’s prominently in his writing.

Without getting into technical fly fishing stuff, suffice to say the Waterford is unique amongst Newfoundland’s varied fly fishing opportunities. It’s much like the brown trout rivers of Eastern Europe, where intriguing nymphing techniques may be employed.

If you wonder about what I babble, Google Czech or Polish Nymphing. This river was a treasure to those of us who seriously swing the rod.

Notice I said was.

Since Igor, the Waterford has declined drastically. I’m thinking that the floodwaters must have destroyed key spawning beds, but I am no expert on these matters.

Although the point is, that somebody in authority to protect our resources and enhance tourism should have cared.

Scientific research should have been done.

This river could be a golden opportunity for angling tourism, combined with our other salmon and brook trout resources.

I’m talking present tense again. Maybe now that the Waterford has made the mainstream news for its trout population we can get something done to protect it.

Although it’s sad to see hundreds of trout dead in the water, especially since the river was just beginning a bit of a comeback. The fishing improved last winter.

Now we need to concentrate on environmental protection, mandate the whole river hook and release only, and appreciate what we have.

Maybe this ill wind might blow some protection and conservation our way.

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