Pink salmon below the spillway at the Puntledge Hatchery.

Autumn is the most generous season for outdoorsmen

t natural signals of fall is the gathering of significant numbers of Canada geese in the green fields of the Ducks Unlimited Valley Farm.

If you have noticed that the field next to the field of corn by the sign is quite black with large numbers of geese feeding in this one specific field. It is a classic case of a lure crop planned to attract geese and ducks away from other crops.

Another sign of fall is the picture with this column. It was taken below the spillway at the Puntledge Hatchery last week. In the waters immediately below the spillway the hatchery staff estimated  about 35,000 pink salmon were in the pool.

This was before the recent rain so you can be sure that the number of spawning pinks that have entered the river is well above the number when the picture was taken. How they will succeed in their spawning in the warm waters of the river is in the hands of the river gods. It should be noted that the Puntledge River is closed to angling due to the drought conditions.

Another sign of autumn is the return of coho salmon to our local rivers, especially the Puntledge. On Sept. 11 Gil Gingras, chairperson of the local Sport Fishery Advisory Committee, sent an important copy of an email he received from DFO.

“In consideration that the interior Fraser coho migration is nearly complete through the South Coast marine waters, the following  coho changes are in effect.

“Effective 00:01 hours September 11, 2015 until 23:59 hours December 31, 2015, unless otherwise specified below, the daily limit for coho is two (2) per day, of which one (1) may be wild (unmarked) in Subareas 12-1 and 12-2, Areas 13 to 17 and Subarea 29-1 (Lower Johnstone Strait and Strait of Georgia).

Portion of Subarea 14 – 11 (Baynes Sound):

Effective 00:01 hours September 1, 2015 until 23:59 hours December 31, 2015 in that portion of Subarea 14 – 11 Baynes Sound inside a line from the Cape Lazo Light, then to the P-54 Bell Buoy on Comox Bar, then to Longbeak Point, then to the mouth of Hart (Washer) Creek, you may retain two (2) coho per day, and one (1) of which may be wild (unmarked).”

It is worth noting that the continuance clearly states Area 14 is open to retention of two coho, one of which may be wild (unmarked); but does not single out area 14-14 which is the shoreline of the Comox Harbour and the shoreline along Royston to the Trent River where many local anglers fish for salmon along the shoreline.

Another significant sign of autumn is the opening of black-tailed deer hunting over much of Vancouver Island, especially Area 1–6: which includes the Comox Valley. The archery season opened on Aug. 25, and the firearms season opens on Thursday, Sept. 10 (today, if you got your paper on time). Grouse seasons opened on Sept. 1.

For outdoor people, autumn is the most generous season of the 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 Record it has won several awards.

 

 

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