Recreational fishing season now open in the province

CHARLOTTE COUNTY – Keith Rampersad was out Apr. 15, the first day of fishing season, catching trout and his less preferred smallmouth bass. “I like the struggle,” he says, “between me and the fish.”

Rampersad is fairly new to fishing, this being his third season. After he moved to St. Stephen from Toronto, Ontario, friends introduced him to the sport. “I’d never been out fishing before,” Rampersad says. “I loved it.”

He remembers the first time he caught a fish; he knew how to “reel it in, to bring it close, but I didn’t know to take it off the hook.” Rampersad says, “now the fishing is great, especially since I’ve learned where most fish like to hang-out, at the base of waterfalls, or where fallen trees stick out of the water.”

Rampersad got his required New Brunswick Outdoor Card, his provincial angling licence, a fishing rod, and small tackle box at a store in St. Stephen. It wasn’t long before “a friend saw how much I loved fishing and gave me an entire tackle box filled with stuff.”

The day of the interview with The Saint Croix Courier, Rampersad had been up at 5 a.m. and out fishing. “I caught a trout,” he says, “but I released it. The next one I’ll keep.”

Licenses are valid from Apr. 15 until March 31 of the following year, and can be obtained at Canadian Tire in St. Stephen. A New Brunswick Outdoor Card, available through Ministry of Natural Resources, Service Canada, and authorized vendors, is needed when a license is purchased.

All the rules are available in the helpful Fish NB Angling Regulations Guidebook at the website under Natural Resources and Energy Development. For example, the guide says you do not need a licence below Ferry Point International Bridge in St. Stephen. The guide also includes helpful tips on angling courtesy and release. Maps are a useful feature, and the all-important season specifications for species, limits for size and possession are vital. Special rules need to be looked into for salmon.

Fish harvesters are asked to share the details of their catch. Nick Brown, a communications officer with the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development informs, “Currently, fewer than one per cent of NB [New Brunswick] anglers take the time to share their catch, effort, and harvest information with the department. This information is needed to help support good management decisions.”

The guide also tells the Charlotte County areas stocked with brook trout. Natural Resources and Energy’s Fish Stocking program provides fingerling brook trout in the fall at Cundy, Goldsmiths, Little, Long, Ormond, Red Rock, and Sparks lakes; Round Pond; Sandy Cove; and Dwellys and Wilson ponds on Grand Manan. Land-locked adult salmon is stocked in the fall at Digdeguash and Utopia lakes.

Brown, suggests by email that want-to-be fish harvesters could, “Join a local fish and game club or talk to local anglers.” Brown also says, “Potential anglers have the chance to attempt their angling skills during our Fish NB Days. Twice yearly, during the Family Day long weekend in Feb. (Feb. 19-21, 2022) and in the first weekend of June (June 4 to 5), residents and non-residents can fish without a licence or guide.” Brown suggests collecting more information on the Fish NB Days at the Natural Resources and Energy Development website.

Charlotte County is in recreational fishing areas 6 (southwest) and 7 (lower Saint John).