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PAUL SMITH: Go trouting in your bubble

I’m going trouting. — Paul Smith photo
I’m going trouting. — Paul Smith photo - Paul Smith

There’s just so much that I have on my mind to write about. A lot is going on in the Newfoundland and Labrador outdoors despite COVID-19, and I’m having difficulty settling on a topic for this Saturday.

I suppose you may have noticed the ridiculously massive and varied amount of trash, waste, and garbage that’s laying about our roadways this spring? Normal is bad enough around this neck of the woods, but the present state of affairs is absurdly above the usual spring messy smorgasbord.

There’s everything imaginable flung around the countryside: toilets, fast food packaging, kids toys, televisions, mattresses, roofing materials, and you name it, it’s there somewhere.

There is no excuse for this. I am totally ashamed that some of my fellow Newfoundlanders have such little regard for the land we live on. I just have no words to express my outrage. It makes me sick. And I think the Avalon Peninsula is most guilty for whatever reason.

Can you believe this? — Paul Smith photo
Can you believe this? — Paul Smith photo

Then there’s the issue of guns.

The debate rages once again. There is a lot more for me to learn about this issue and I’m not going to say much about it right now.

I’m going to wait until I get all the facts straight. The one certain fact is that AR-15 type rifles are being banned in Canada. These are semi-automatic rifles that are typically chambered for the .223-remington cartridge. I have three rifles that shoot this ammunition but only one of them is semi-auto, although not an AR-15, and neither is restricted under our present gun laws.

I like the .223 round for a bunch of reasons, and that’s why I own the three guns One is semi-auto, like I said, another is a bolt action, and just last year I bought a Browning BLR levergun in .223. Maybe the semi-auto will be banned. I’m not sure. My understanding is that the government will reimburse us for the irons.

I’ll have more to say on how I feel about this controversy later. I’ll just say for now that I think this move is, for the most part, political.

The weapons being banned are already restricted and under a very tight set of usage guidelines. I’m not sure what real or practical difference banning them will make, besides costing Canadian taxpayers and bunch of money. I still don’t forget the boondoggle that was the long-gun registry.

One of my .223 rifles on the bench for tender loving care. — Paul Smith photo
One of my .223 rifles on the bench for tender loving care. — Paul Smith photo

Anyway I’m nervous about where all this might end up going in time. There are many people in Canada who don’t want anybody to own guns. They will not be satisfied until that reality happens. They will apply political pressure and politicians always crave votes. They say that they don’t want to take my moose-hunting rifle. But what will they ban next, because we know there is no end to this.

Anyway, that’s enough of gun talk for now.

On a brighter note, it’s May 24 and time to go trouting.

This is certainly going to be a different Victoria holiday weekend. Folks are not permitted to go camping, at least not in parks and RV sites. I suppose you could do a backpacking wilderness camping trip in your own bubble.

No camping is a tough one but we really have to tow the line here for the collective good and health of all.

By my reckoning Dr. Janice Fitzgerald and our government officials have done a really good job fighting this virus and we owe them gratitude.

Pay heed to the rules and play safely. Go out and enjoy the outdoors with those in your bubble or double bubble, and keep a fathom away from all others. You can still go trouting, hiking, biking, canoeing, and more.

There will be another year for camping and larger scale socializing.

For my part I’m going to divide the weekend between splitting firewood, canoeing, and trouting.

I have four cords of spruce firewood all sawed up in 16-inch lengths and piled high in a huge heap. The next step in the workflow is splitting and stacking. I bought a new hydraulic splitter and I’m going to try out that modern technology for the first time.

In the past I used just the trusty axe, I figure now I’ll swing the axe for smaller wood, and utilize the machine for the larger logs. Or maybe I’ll use the splitter for all of it, depending on how fast it operates. I’m just thinking I can make quicker work of smaller wood with my axe.

We will see.

You might recall I ruptured my bicep tendon last spring and had surgery to reattach it, hence the hydraulics to ease the strain.

My left arm is feeling good, though, plenty good to cast a fly rod and paddle a canoe, both of which I will be doing nearly simultaneously this weekend.

Make lasting memories for loved ones in your bubble. — Paul Smith photo
Make lasting memories for loved ones in your bubble. — Paul Smith photo

For me, fly fishing for brook trout with paddle in hand is quintessential May 24. I have been missing my May-month trout forays, and this year I’m making amends. Goldie and I have been spending May in Florida for some years now and I’ve been taking a hiatus on springtime trouting.

I do enjoy fishing in Florida but I have to say, I’m really looking forward to Friday May 15. That’s the opening day for trout and the weather forecast is good. Hopefully there will be trout sizzling in the cast iron pan for Friday supper.

This is a weekend to create enduring memories in your bubbles.

Seize the day and do it.

There is no bad weather, only inadequate clothes. Put on your raincoat if you have to. Wear a warm base layer.

But make a point to take your kids and grandkids outdoors, preferable trouting in my world, but nevertheless, spend quality time outdoors with your inner circle loved ones. I have gotten stranded in the rain many times while fishing and canoeing with my two daughters.

They are both grown now and have kids of their own. But the memories are strong and binding.

Paul Smith, a native of Spaniard’s Bay, fishes and wanders the outdoors at every opportunity. He can be contacted at or follow him on twitter at @flyfishtherock


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