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Bass Conservation

By Nic DiGravio

Bass ConservationBass conservation is not taken lightly here in Ontario. Just a few weeks ago Detroit River was our destination for Spring Walleye. During our outing we thought we would try our luck at Pike fishing. No sooner did the baits hit the water; we had an Ontario Ministry boat on our tail! “Do you know that there is a five hundred dollar fine for catching Bass out of season here in Ontario, and I can take your boat away too?” He said. Well, I must say, we were in shock! I almost wanted to put my hands up in the air and surrender! I know I checked my regulations before my outing to keep up to date with changes and Pike were in season. I even mentioned our Pike fishing intent and still he seemed adamant in telling us Bass were not in season!

Bass ConservationNow some may have been upset, but for me it was good to see that Ontario Bass are well protected. I think Ontario’s Conservation Officers are doing a fine job and have my deepest gratitude for their efforts. They can’t do it alone. Bass anglers like us must do our part as to not disturb nesting Bass during our Walleye, Pike or Pan Fish outings. When Bass are caught, release them as soon as possible so that the nest is not left unguarded from predators. Move on to another area altogether or just refrain from casting until further down shore. Nesting Bass tend to strike anything that is in the vicinity of their nests so avoid obvious nesting grounds. Stained water is great Pike water where spinner baits are concerned, but it makes for poor visibility and the odd Bass strike does occur.

Ontario is a melting pot of nationalities and being of Italian descent my parents, born and raised in Italy, still to this day, don’t understand why you can’t keep and eat tournament fish. It is within your limit after all, they say! In the old days, Ontario was more blessed with an abundance of fish to eat than it is now. The old ways are changing to newer ways that keep conservation for the future generations in mind. My 7 year old son knows that our Bass outings are release outings. Occasionally we have a meal, but that is rare. I think it’s what we are taught as youngsters that sticks with us all our lives.

Bass ConservationI strongly feel that conservation has to be taught. We need to understand why we take pictures of the lunker Bass and sometimes harvest the smaller Bass. If we must prove to a Conservation Officer that we have successfully attended our Turkey Conserving Course in order to hunt them the why not a Bass conserving course, or Pike or any fish for that matter!

Ignorance plays a major roll in over fishing in Ontario. If we teach our young and old generations the proper conservation techniques then the fishing of tomorrow will look bright! The most important rule of conservation should be; Mount a picture of your prize fish on a wall or even a replica, but if you must eat a fish then why not eat the smaller better tasting fish and release the trophies. And while you are enjoying your catch of the day you can always stare at the ‘big one’ that didn’t get away and know that there will be more to come because of your conservation efforts! Remember, bigger fish have memorable battles and smaller fish have a memorable taste!

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