A bonanza of rainbow trout in Shelburne Harbour
BRIAN MEDEL YARMOUTH BUREAU
Published June 17, 2014 - 8:12pm
SHELBURNE — Ernest Himmelman grinned Tuesday from his boat as he held up a silver-sided rainbow trout, clearly 18 inches long and rather thick too.
“Nice fish,” someone remarked.
Himmelman and his fishing buddy Russell Nickerson, both from Queens County, came to Shelburne to troll the inner harbour where dozens, if not hundreds, of big rainbow trout have been caught since Sunday evening, when word began spreading around town like wildfire that there’d likely been an escape.
Nova Scotia’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department was hastily trying to find out what had happened after it began receiving reports Tuesday morning, senior spokesman Brett Loney said.
There is one trout farm in the region, he said.
But Sherman d’Entremont, manager of Ocean Trout Farms Inc., said Tuesday there had been no escape from its Shelburne pens.
“We did have an escape … back in March,” he said about a Port Mouton site.
“I know rainbow trout would look for a river.”
Some locals thought Cooke Aquaculture was responsible, but not so.
“We don’t have any trout farms in (Nova Scotia),” Cooke’s spokeswoman Nell Halse said in an email from a conference in Norway.
She said there have been no escapes from any of her company’s Nova Scotia locations, which only raise salmon.
The fishing frenzy was at times chaotic Monday and Tuesday in Shelburne, where some people were said to be scooping trout from the water in nets.
Shelburne’s Cora Young, with her light spinning tackle, hooked several big rainbows, one of which measured 20 inches.
Young pulled them out of the water as they danced and fought at the end of her line.
“It was a rush. It was a thrill. I had the blood pumping. Within a half-hour, we had four,” she said Tuesday.
The fishing began Sunday evening when Young and others noticed the big fish were everywhere.
And for what it’s worth, Young said she used only small Panther Martin spinners, either gold or yellow and orange.
Coincidentally, crew aboard an aquaculture boat at the Shelburne public wharf waited Tuesday morning for a delivery of live fish.
Shortly before noon, a tractor-trailer with Ontario licence plates slowly made its way onto the wharf.
Signs on the trailer said “Live Fish” and “Ontario Farm Raised Trout.”
The company name on the door of the truck was Lyndon Fish Hatcheries Inc. of New Dundee, Ont.
D’Entremont said his farm was receiving about 30,000 young trout.
Meanwhile, the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is launching an investigation.
Spokeswoman Krista Higdon said an inspector is being sent to a fish farm location she didn’t identify to begin an immediate site inspection.
“We are confident, based on our experience with rainbow trout, that an accidental release will not pose any significant risk to the marine environment,” Higdon said in an email Tuesday.