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Ronan's report


Tuesday, 6th October, 2009

I'm not a person to judge a fish (unless it is invasive). I mean, I love the rise of a trout. They are perfect for the fly and a beautiful fish... and the places they live; Wow. Great fight, beautiful fish, beautiful places, trout have evolved for fly anglers.

But all too often, anglers don't live where the trout are and there are other sportsfish; Walleye, Bass, Pike, Grayling, etc. Some folks have access to a wide range of salt species, much more exotic to trout (to me at least). And there are a whole bunch of gamefish that I'm missing from other places in the world.

But trashfish; What did a fish do to deserve such a lowly position on the list? Is it because they aren't good to eat, or have ugly looks? Because they live in stagnant water or ugly surroundings? Because they compete with sportfish? Is it just because of their name?

In Alberta when people hear the name sucker they immediately sneer and recoil in disgust. "Those F'in bottom-feeders; they're only good for the garden. If you catch one you can't even use that fly again." Many folks will kill them and throw them back in the water or throw them on the bank. Why?!? Suckers are a great fish. They will take a fly and they are often harder to trick than trout. Some sucker species only live in beautiful places. Some suckers are quite beautiful; some turn red during spawning and some have golden scales with bright red fins. Also, suckers are on a lower trophic level than trout. They provide food (themselves) for piscivorous fish and their eggs are an excellent feast in the spring.

Suckers are not trashfish.

Whitefish are the same. They get a little more respect than suckers but it is horrible how often an angler will come up to me and say they wish there were less whitefish in a river. A recent online article demonstrated the standard opinion of the poor whitefish (I hate that picture). Instead of being revered for the brilliant silver scales and delicate way it takes a nymph, the whitefish is tossed in the air to die, no respect for a fish that is giving it's life to be somebody's meal.

Whitefish are not trashfish.

On the brighter side there are examples of "trashfish" becoming accepted into the halls of sport. Bull trout, once considered trash, are now a prized trout. I read an article that the Bluefish, a trash salt species I know nothing about, are gaining respect. Carp are now accepted as a powerful hard running fish in North America, even though they have been a targeted fish in Europe and Asia for a long time. It's hard to shake that trashfish moniker! There must be some other examples of other trashfish that are now accepted?

So remember, the next time you get a weird fish on the end of you line, give it a kiss and gently send it on its way. Some day it may be a respected target.

Cheers,
Harps


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