Fishing Friends – I want to alert you to an opportunity to take some action that could add greatly to the Miramichi River system’s fishing opportunities. As you know, at the right times brook trout are found in just about every stream that flows in to the Miramichi. Generally these are not large fish, and only a very small percentage live to be larger than 12 inches. An even smaller percentage of all brook trout become sea run. No one seems to understand for certain why in rivers that have sea run brookies that some trout go to the sea to feed and some do not. The ones that do make that trek up and down the river are the ones that grow to greater size. Some Miramichi system sea run brook trout are known to have grown larger than 7 pounds and mid-20-inches in length. These fish are real prizes, and engender the kind of enthusiasm that Atlantic salmon do– or even more in some people-. Large, anadromous brook trout are an incredible asset to the river system.
In writing On the Cains I researched sea run brook trout fairly extensively. What is amazing is how good the fishery was just six or seven years ago – before the striped bass population grew so out of whack with the rest of the river’s fish. It was not unusual for anglers on the daily Crown Reserve, Live Release Section of the Cains to catch several brookies during an evening’s fishing that were over 20-inches in length. That isn’t happening any longer, and why? It isn’t possible to definitely pin point the reason for depletion, but striped bass definitely deserve a lot of blame. Beyond that, though, we anglers do also.
The large sea run brook trout live in a delicate balance within the Cains River, and even in better times the numbers are not huge by any standard. Nathan Wilbur of the ASF told me when I was writing about the Cains that in his research of the headwaters he came to the conclusion the entire population of large, sea run brook trout living in the relatively cool waters of the upper Cains was probably in the vicinity of 400 to 500 individuals. Are there some more summering in the rest of the Cains? Yes, and of course throughout portions of the other branches of the Miramichi also. But still the numbers are not great, and individual fish that survive nature’s perils to become larger than 12 inches in size need to be released alive by all anglers so that they can breed and provide other anglers with the opportunity to catch such a magnificent fish. While catching a lot of these large fish at any time is very unlikely, the damage caused by the individual catches of one here or there by thousands of fishermen amounts to a lot of pressure on the population of large sea run brook trout.
Recently Kris LeBlanc from Moncton – who I wrote about in my blog of just a few days ago – and I have come up with the idea of writing DNR Minister Michael Holland and asking him to implement what we are calling the 3 and 12 plan. The 3 and 12 plan means simply that the bag limit of all brook trout be reduced from current levels of 5 to 3 per day, with no retention of brook trout larger than 12 inches in overall length.
For any of you who would like something simple to cut and paste in to make your own e-mail, we have prepared the following. It includes the e-mail address for Minister Holland’s office:
Dear Minister Holland:
I encourage you to institute additional measures to protect New Brunswick’s native brook trout including sea run fish. I propose that you mandate the following regulations immediately:
• Reduction of bag limits from 5 to 3
• 100% live release of all native brook trout over 12 inches
Minister Holland, I believe this to be a very reasonable proposal and one that most true fishers will embrace.
Naturally you should customize this as you see fit with your own comments. In fact it is much better if you add your own words and thoughts.
Please write your letter today.
Brad Burns and Kris LeBlanc