Letter: Catch-and-release angling is the only hope for the future of N.L. salmon rivers
Published: May 11 at 6 a.m.
I am writing to publicly support DFO respecting salmon angling rules in 2018.
I began fly fishing for Atlantic Salmon in 1969 and have participated every year since unless I was away from the province during the summer.
One thing which is indisputable is the steady decline in salmon stocks. When I began fishing salmon were abundant. As time went on the number of fish declined. Bag limits were reduced and many new conservation measures were introduced.
Catch and release angling is the only hope for the future.
I along with many other experienced salmon anglers have been practicing catch and release for years.
Paul Smith wrote a very good article on catch-and-release angling published on February 24 2018 in The Telegram, called “Hook and release – life or death?”
Smith answered in the negative. But there are endless stories being circulated about locally released salmon dead and dying on local river banks.
I have only seen rivers with dead and dying salmon in British Columbia because the Pacific salmon unlike our Atlantic salmon die after spawning.
Our salmon can easily handle proper catch-and-release fishing.
The nuts and bolts of practical catch and release fishing are to have a strong leader and play the fish hard and land it quickly.
Release is simple with barbless hooks. Do not lift the fish out of the water for a photo or any other reason. Especially not by the tail!
Twist the hook out of the fish and it is free to swim away. Touch the fish as little as possible.
Last fall I fished the Lower Humber River and released some big salmon. They all swam away vigorously.
I was happy to release these fish because these are the fish that must spawn if salmon stocks are to survive.