A new season

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The 2014 general sport fishing season opens in most areas of Nova Scotia next Tuesday. While the weather we have been experiencing lately makes it feel like we should be skiing instead of fishing, spring will not be denied. Regardless of the weather, and fishing conditions, many anglers I know go fishing regardless of the conditions. It takes more than ice, rain or snow to keep them from their first day on the water.

Early season fishing places special demands on the angler, not only is the weather unpredictable, but conditions on the water can vary greatly from year to year. A check of the 2014 regulations booklet which accompanies your licence will show there are only a few changes for this season which Pictou County anglers should be aware of.

While there are no changes in Pictou County I know many local anglers also fish in Antigonish and Guysborough County and this year anglers will be able to take advantage of an extended brown trout season on Salmon River in Guysborough. Anglers may fish this river for brown trout in October. It will be catch and release using barbless flies.

In addition the special trout management area on Guysborough River has been moved up to the bridge at West Interval. Also new this year is a change to the regulations for fishing South River, Antigonish County. In the area downstream from the 104 Highway Bridges the management area has been extended to the outflow of Antigonish Harbour and the bag limit for speckled trout reduced to two trout per day in 2014.

Other than that the regulations are the same as they were last year. Most lakes and rivers open on April 1 but a few lakes and rivers are delayed until April 15 while the West River and East River remain closed until May 15th. Once again this season anglers will be permitted to fish River John at night in the period from April 15 to Aug 31.

This opening day I expect most lakes in Pictou County will be frozen. While you are permitted to cut holes in the ice to fish during the open season it can be dangerous as ice conditions may change rapidly at this time of year. Fish safely. Anglers should check their regulations booklet which accompanies their licence before they head out to the water.

While many anglers will head to a lake for their first trip others will be concentrating on rivers and streams for their early season fishing. While high flows, and dirty water will force most trout to seek cover behind rocks, logs and other structure, lower flows later this spring will allow trout to move throughout the rivers. When lakes open up after the winter they provide special challenges for anglers. Spring time trout will often be found in areas where they can find food. Generally speaking food will be concentrated in two areas of lakes during the early season, brooks and inshore. Fishing at the mouths of brooks running into lakes is always a safe bet. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable fishing season this year.


Don MacLean is an outdoor writer and biologist who lives in Pictou County.

Geographic location: Pictou County, Antigonish County, Nova Scotia Guysborough County Salmon River Guysborough River South River West River East River River John

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