Autumn is a time of transition



Autumn is a time of transition for the many outdoor activities we partake in during the pursuit of our hunting and fishing adventures.

TRUMPETER SWANS WILL soon be returning to their familiar wintering grounds in the Comox Valley.

TRUMPETER SWANS WILL soon be returning to their familiar wintering grounds in the Comox Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn is a time of transition for the many outdoor activities we partake in during the pursuit of our hunting and fishing adventures. As an example, many outdoor folks move from a fishing mode to a hunting one at this time of the year. It is also a time of great changes in the movements of virtually all wildlife, birds, fish and insect populations as they make whatever adjustments they require to survive the coming winter.

On Sunday, Nick Strussi and I joined Charley Vaughan on his boat the Top Hat for some chum salmon fishing at Brown’s Bay. It was one of those days that turn into something special when three old guys go on the water with the express purpose of catching some chum salmon to smoke. The fact that we were successful had nothing to do with this scribe’s ability and knowledge, but much to do with the special knowledge of my fishing buddies who knew more than a little about catching chum salmon.

I think of fishing for chum salmon as one of those transition activities that bridge the gap between changing from seasonal saltwater fishing to other activities for most anglers. It is a concentrated fishery of relatively short duration in the waters adjacent to Brown’s Bay in Johnstone Strait as the chums migrate to their home rivers. Chum fishing is also an important river fishery on the Puntledge which opened to anglers on Saturday, Oct. 1.

From this phase of fall fishing many anglers turn to other forms river fishing or hunting and put their marine boats to rest for the winter months. For this transition fishery to continue, the conditions that allow the chum salmon to make their life migrations must remain in place from one season to another.

As we were driving past Oyster Bay on our way to Brown’s Bay we were surprised to see a large flock of Brant numbering several hundred birds on the tidal flats of the bay. Not that I hunt Brant, but it was nonetheless a startling reminder to me that I had not yet purchased my annual hunting license and appropriate tags and here it was well into the season.

These continental travellers of the west coast fly ways were filling up on eel grass as they made their long journey to warmer climates. They also face some seriously increasing challenges as the effects of resident Canada geese exact their impact on the viability of east coast island estuaries to maintain productive marsh habitat including eel grass, which is a vital high energy food source of critical importance to migrating Brant.

Pictured with this column is a panoramic view of the Ducks Unlimited Farm taken a few years ago just after the Trumpeter swans had arrived from their northern breeding grounds to spend the winter in residence of the friendly Comox Valley farms and their life-sustaining fields. It is a scene that will be repeated in the next few weeks.

Successful life patterns of virtually all life are catered on transition changes that allow the individual species to find ways of coping with seasonal change in our northern hemisphere. We would be wise to look at the effects of resident Canada Geese, urban deer adaptation and harbour seals numbers for their impact on other species.

We were in Parksville last week and saw a gray squirrel in a Douglas fir tree, an animal not indigenous to this Island, with severe implications for resident squirrels. If they are established in Parksville we are not far behind in being their next transition.

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.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tom Lennox finds peace when he runs in the Cumberland Forest. He hasn’t missed a day in nearly a year. Photo supplied
Cumberland runner nears 366 consecutive days on the trails

Cumberland resident Tom Lennox has been running a minimum of five kilometres… Continue reading

Courtenay’s Ace Brewing Company’s Jet Fuel IPA was chosen for second place in the annual Canadian Brewing Awards. Photo submitted
Courtenay brewery takes silver medal at Canadian Brewing Awards

“It’s huge - they are the biggest awards in Canada that you can get (in the brewing industry).”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District board is concerned about having to fund more than just hospitals like the one in the Comox Valley. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Strathcona board worried over funding more than hospitals

Island Health points to seniors care to reduce demand at acute care sites

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Courtenay area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

40 Knots Winery recently completed a major project on their vineyard terrace by installing 360-degree glass panels for year-round use.
Comox winery aims for year-round experience with glass-surrounded terrace

40 Knots Winery recently completed a major project on their vineyard terrace

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

First We Eat: Food Security North of 60 is featured at the Feb. 5-13 World Community Film Festival. Photo supplied
First We Eat celebrates resourcefulness of Yukoners

First We Eat: Food Security North of 60 celebrates the ingenuity, resourcefulness… Continue reading

Most Read