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Intrepid outdoorsman sets busy schedule for new year
Making New Year's resolutions is the easy part – carrying them out is the challenge. For 2013 I have two:
1. I resolve to spend “One Day a Week” in the outdoors involved in activities that are close to nature – these activities to include fishing, hunting, bird watching, hiking in natural forests and beaches plus other wild places. To paraphrase – my resolution is to be in contact with nature 52 weeks of 2013.
On the surface it looks simple for me to make a New Year's resolution to be in the outdoors one day of each week throughout the year – however there are more than a few challenges. If you look at the possibilities month by month you can appreciate some of the diversity of opportunity for Island residents.
January – Reasonably good oyster tides during early evening, prawn and crab fishing, steelhead fishing, winter chinook fishing, trout fishing on open lakes.
February – Good evening tides for oysters and clams with lights, continued prawn and crab opportunities, continue winter chinook and start flounder, continue steelhead and trout fishing with chironomid flies in some low lakes; time to jig herring.
March – Beginning reasonable daylight tides for clams and oysters, winter chinook, flounders, prawns and crabs. Growing opportunities for lake fly fishing, North Island rivers for steelhead; learn new fishing technique with strike indicator outfit.
April – Nature walks along our streams, foreshore and into our woodlands, beach fishing for sea run cutthroat trout (catch and release), continue prawning, crabbing, winter chinook and flounder fishing. Excellent daylight tides for clamming and gathering oysters, lake trout fishing in full swing.
May – Time to consider halibut, lingcod and rockfish fishing if the season is open. Continue salmon, trout and flounder fishing, depending on weather, pass up oysters for clams.
June – Time to consider fly fishing trip to the interior for rainbow and eastern brook trout, sockeye fishing at Port Alberni, target migrating chinook stocks, spend time fishing for lingcod, halibut and rockfish if possible; continue local lake fishing.
July – Migrating chinook, coho on the west coast, lingcod, flounder, crabbing, sockeye fishing, halibut, trout fishing in deepwater lakes, Interior eastern brook trout, nature walks in quiet forests and along beaches
August – Pink salmon, coho, sockeye, chinook (prime time), flounder fishing excellent, some prawning and crab fishing, deepwater lake fishing; consider beach fishing for coho and pink salmon from new punt; time to think about taking up archery with a crossbow.
September - Improve archery skills; early season hunting, for deer and possible draw on elk; fishing for all species of salmon, and bottomfish where the season is still open, time on deepwater lakes for rainbow and cutthroat trout; fishing local waters with new punt.
October – Saltwater chum salmon fishing whenever possible, walking in forests hunting deer; lake fishing for trout, watch chum salmon fishing in the Puntledge River; possible eastern brook trout trip to the Interior.
November – Walking in forests hunting deer; fishing stillwater lakes for trout; winter chinook fishing and prawning if I have the opportunity.
December – Lake fishing if the weather permits; continue deer hunting if I have a tag; evening trip for oysters weather permitting, smoke fish for the Christmas season.
If I succeed in going on all the suggested activities they amount to at least 86 days in the field. In reality I will probably spend in excess of 100 days in the outdoors during the enfolding of 2013. If you have read this far I may have lured you into similar commitments to the great outdoors. Being out in nature is a mysterious type of vitamin enhancement for the body and soul – try it. Our civilization is increasingly urbanized and isolated from nature. If you can find time to spend in the peaceful rhythms of nature you may discover as I have a source of, passion, stimulus and enlightenment that brings energy and inspiration to the mind and body.
2. My second New Year's resolution is to do my best to enhance fishing opportunities for children throughout the Comox Valley and elsewhere on our Island. To this end I will continue to work for a solution to the Maple Lake problem. The Village of Cumberland is committed to working for a solution and this column will help wherever it can in achieving suitable recreation status for this beautiful urban lake in our Valley.
Happy New Year!
Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.