SMRA NEWS Online / spring 2018
St. Mary’s River Association
ST. MARY’S RIVER ASSOCIATION
The St. Mary’s River Association is a charitable,
non-profit organization providing leadership
and engaging partners to enhance,
protect and promote the St. Mary’s River
as a healthy ecosystem for Atlantic
salmon and other native animals and
plant species as well as a rich community
I’m Mac the Snap,
Caretaker of Silver’s Pool
& your guide as you enjoy
SMRA NEWS Online.
“Health for the river, the
Atlantic salmon and our
SMRA News is published by the
St. Mary’s River Association as a
service to our members.
The opinions expressed are
those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the policy of
the St. Mary's River Association,
the editor or the publisher.
Memberships, suggestions and
comments are welcome.
How about starting with a
tour of the St. Mary’s River?
Facebook: St. Mary’s River Association
Address all correspondence to:
St. Mary’s River Association
PO Box 179 Sherbrooke, NS Canada
B0J 3C0 or by e-mail at
Our tour is called Paddler’s Paradise.
Along the way you’ll experience the
river as it is today & as it was many
years ago when I was hatched.
Just click the link below.
Registered Charity # 89145 0975 RR0001
Cover photo of MacKeen’s Pool by Deirdre
Publishing, design, layout, editing and advertising
by: St. Mary’s River Association’s
Information Technology Committee.
Welcome to our first issue of SMRA NEWS Online.
In addition to the material presented in paper
version we add much more & use modern technology
to improve the reader experience.
All in glorious living colour!
Other benefits are:
• No printing cost - a saving that can be
directed toward river projects
• Improved accessability for disabled - Most
computers & mobile internet devices can enable
• More media options - Our online newsletter
can feature videos & sound
• Website links - We can link to our website or
other Internet websites, just a click away
• Advertising income - Improved circulation attracts
more advertising $
• Enables PDF downloads of the newsletter to
mobile smartphones and tablets so that you can
enjoy reading or sharing it in the wilderness
• Paperless saves trees - Demonstrates
SMRA’s commitment to environmental
The paper SMRA NEWS is still B&W. That’s because
commercial colour printing using modern laser technology
still costs 3-4 times more than B&W. Laser
printing was invented by Xerox in the 1970’s. One
would think that by now the technology would be mature
& cheap. Maybe the reason is that those R & D
dollars just can’t be justified on obsolete technology.
our Rock Island Pool, West Branch St. Mary’s.
We introduce you to Mac the Snap, the old snapping
turtle of Silver’s Pool. I hereby nominate Mac as
SMRA’s official mascot, should we decide to appoint
Today we are seeing considerable evidence pointing
to bad forestry practices as the main factor causing
extensive degradation of the St. Mary’s River’s habitat.
SMRA is repairing damage from past industry sins as
Atlantic salmon face new challenges like global
warming & aquaculture issues.
See our Habitat Committee update herein for a
progress report. Other committee reports are here as
well and, of course, our Presidents message.
We humans are the source of most environmental
degradation. We are a huge worldwide threat made up
of over 7.5 billion individuals. Each of us bears a
responsibility to minimize our own individual impact on
the planet we love & depend on for the future of life on
Many of us understand this and are doing our best to
leave things as we found them, or even better. Many
don’t. That’s the problem.
I hope that most of our members accept their
environmentally responsibility and encourage others to
One tiny sacrifice we members could make would be
to do without a paper version of this newsletter. In my
opinion its scope is limited & its time has passed.
Instead we could hand out a 1 page colour glossy
brochure that refers readers to SMRA NEWS Online.
It’s better & it’s the future, save a tree, please!
Bill Carpan, Stillwater NS, 2018
I hope you try our Paddler’s Paradise river tour. It
shows a new way that technology can help make our
outdoor experiences more interesting & enjoyable.
We also invite stories & pictures that you might
contribute to make the river tour more complete, like
Paul Tuttle’s article herein about the Tuttle camp at
by: Scott Beaver
Good day to you my friends of the St. Mary’s River.
The 2017 year is now in the rear view mirror, and I
would like to chat about our accomplishments.
Our Stock Enhancement Committee is responsible for
the release of 60,000 salmon fry and 21,000 sea trout
fry during the spring of 2017. This committee captures
the fish, holds them until pick up or delivery to a NS
Fisheries fish hatchery in the province, and then
release the offspring back to our river. They deserve
a lot of credit for the work they are doing. Looking to
the future, much of the committee’s efforts will be
focussed on a more stable, longer term kelt rejuvenation
program and continued sea trout enhancement
Our Habitat Enhancement Committee has reached a
mile stone of $1,000,000 of habitat work! All I can say
here is “if you build it they will come”. We have
already observed an increase in the number of
salmon redds in the restored sections of the river.
Coupled with work done in stocking, this is a trail
blazer to salmon recovery. Thank you everyone
involved in this wonderful project.
2017 was our Paddlers Paradise Committee’s first
year with a visual presence on the river. At the roadside,
you may have noticed our Paddlers Access
signage. These signs help
visitors who come to the
area, looking for a day of activity
on the river. We have
heard a lot of great feedback
from them. A very popular
fall paddling event brought
out paddlers in droves. Keep
your eye open for a similar
paddling event for fall 2018.
The 2018 season brings on
considerable change for us
here at the SMRA Interpretive
center and how we do
business! Joanne Mailman,
our manager of 17 years has
retired. Her tireless efforts
will be a great loss to our organization
and we will miss
her. I would like to extend
our gratitude and thanks to
Joanne for her many years of
dedication towards all aspects
of SMRA business and wish her a wonderful
and fulfilling retirement. Thanks Joanne but please
don’t be a stranger!
I would like to remind folks that although we have
been busy there is still much to do regarding salmon
recovery. In the future we will be looking towards a
West branch pH program as well as investigating access
issue projects. We have an extensive report on
problem culverts and other access issues currently
ready for an action plan. As you can well imagine our
volunteers are stretched to the limit, we are always
looking to boost our membership, our volunteer base
and our funding sources. I would encourage you to
visit our website and renew your membership or just
drop in at our Interpretive Center and see how you
Another important concern to us is an alternate and
accurate way to count salmon in the river. A more
precise count of the number fish in our river will help
us acquire funds for habitat work, continue with stock
enhancement, mitigate access issues and set up pH
projects. DFO estimates indicate that the number of
returning adult salmon required for spawning
escapement, so there is no chance of extinction, is
approximately 3155 fish. A healthy population of
salmon means we just might once again see a
salmon angling season on the great St. Mary’s River.
How cool would that be?
Molly’s Fish Story
Tucking the net under my left arm, line unravelled and
floating around, I work my way through the murky water.
After two casts I forget about the net and as I
glance down it slowly disappears. My first thought is to
leave it and find it when the water recedes, but logic
prevails. Using the reel end of my rod I gently tap the
bottom until I can feel the net. I move my foot next to
giving it an upward kick that makes it visible and within
I’m all ready for an evening fish – alone. Stillwater
Slim is busy in his shop. My attire won’t likely start any
fashion trends – dark green chest waders that are too
long on a 5 ft. frame – the red suspenders do just that
– suspend. My hand-me-down vest fits like a sleeveless
coat. My brown hat is almost a fit, a cross between
a Tilly and a bucket. I also have Slim’s compact
collapsible fishing net clipped to my vest, so I’m ready.
I arrive at the small sea-trout destination I picked for
this evening. My fly of choice is a freshly tied beetle
imitation, a dry fly tied by Slim dear. There isn’t much
evidence of feeding trout yet, except for a bit of activity
at the far corner of the pool. The water is high from a
big rain and I must wade chest deep through a deepwater
mud-hole to reach the submerged island in order
to cast a fly over those trout.
The action begins quickly and I must use Slim’s net
since I’m surrounded by water. Net in hand I reach for
the trout and miss. This startles the trout and he jumps
around like he’s full of popcorn – he’s to my left, then
he’s at my right, three moves ahead of me and I’m not
gaining. My fly line is around, over, under and behind,
but somehow the fish is now twisting in the net.
Reaching shore while explaining the process to the
fish and myself was very challenging but I was lucky. I
dispatch the trout and hide it in the grass, and then I’m
beckoned by a gentle slurp on the water.
That achieved, fishing continues and soon I am back
in the action. My second trip back to shore is no easier
and this time my line has managed to coil itself onto a
hanging tree branch. As I near land I feel weighted
somehow. What’s wrong? Looking down I notice my
vest pockets bulging with water, thanks to my retrieve
of the sinking net. I empty the vest of water and out fall
my car keys, several fly boxes and my fishing license.
I bend over to do another retrieval, off comes my hat
and the fish escapes the net. Everything is either
afloat or submerged.
Luckily I save the trout and retrieve all the rest. Exhausted,
I lean against the bank wondering whether I
should give fishing another try or quit while I’m ahead.
I decide to fish. Making my way along the waterway I
notice that my line seems to be snagged. I can’t find
the source of the trouble until I tuck the beloved net
under my arm. Then I realize that trout # 2 is still in the
net with hook in place.
I decide to quit.
Brenda ‘Molly” Carpan, Stillwater, 2008
2017 Habitat Committee Report
The SMRA has completed the fourth year of the multi-year West River (St. Mary’s) Habitat Restoration Project.
The 2017 work built on the restoration started in 2014 and to date almost twenty kilometers of the river
has been completed. The restoration includes a variety of structures that are aimed at creating a narrower
deeper channel with more pools. The upper portion of the picture shows the narrower channel with more
meander on the restored section as compared to the bottom portion of the picture where no work was done.
The narrower deeper channel increases juvenile survival over the summer and reduces winter ice production
that causes spring time damage to the river.
We have also planted numerous trees to reduce bank erosion and provide more shade along the edge of the
river. Another part of the restoration work is to use a “Sand Wand” to remove sand from the gravel spawning
beds on two of the tributaries to the West Branch. This enhances spawning conditions for both salmon and
What is even more exciting is the increased number of salmon using the restored area to spawn. Prior to
starting the work in 2014 a survey found only salmon 25 - 30 redds (places where salmon spawn) in the entire
restored area and this fall there were almost 200, a six fold increase. A similar section of the West Branch,
where no restoration has been completed, has had no significant change in the number observed redds. This
highlights the preference spawning salmon have for the restored habitat.
This restoration work is expensive and we could not have been able to proceed without the financial help of
our funding partners DFO (Small Craft Harbours & Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program),
the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation, NSLC Adopt-A-Stream, and the Royal Bank.
IT Committee Update
The St Mary’s River Association web site launched over a year ago is well positioned to keep our audience
informed. This year, working with the Paddlers Paradise Committee, we added content related to St. Mary’s
river pools; including maps, pictures and stories of long ago days on the river that will educate and entertain
the reader. We invite you to go to the Paddlers Paradise section of the RECREATION tab on the website
and click on Virtual Tour to explore further. Look at the Silver’s Pool or Goldmine pages to get a feel for the
importance of our river in past times.
View the slideshows on our Home Page that will give you a glimpse of some of the activities that our members
have participated in this past year.
We are also active on social media – specifically Facebook and Twitter. We post daily communications to
keep our river friends informed on our activities and interests. Links to news items or videos published by our
partners and other organizations have proven to be quite popular
We ask you to take some time out of your day, and look us up on Facebook or explore our website. You
might be surprised at what you will learn.
Lastly, for those of you planning to attend the biennial Antigonish River Association October auction and dinner,
please consider purchasing your tickets online through our online Gift Shop later in the year.
Left - Banner from our website
2018 Bi-annual Salmon
Events planned include:
• Fly tying forum
• *NEW* Modern Spey casting lessons
• *NEW* Rod building
• *NEW* Cork turning
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Student Union Building
St. FX University, Antigonish NS
Paddlers Paradise Committee Update
2017 was a packed season for implementing our Paddlers Trail on the East and Main branch. We installed signage at
four river access sites and eight paddlers trail sites. The first access site is located at the bridge in Denver just off
Highway 347 and the second is at the bridge in Aspen. The third is on the main branch just off the Waternish Road
near the beginning of the Stillwater. The final access site is located off the number
seven highway at the mouth of Archibald’s Brook just below the Ford Pool.
This is the final location to get off the river before the rocky run to Sherbrooke.
The signage is a two foot by two foot sign with an orange canoe on it and is
quite noticeable for folks in search of the access point.
The virtual Paddlers Trail on our website is still under construction, so some
locations may show only a map. Our Goldmine location is one I would like to
bring to your attention and is worth checking out. The link you would see from
your smartphone QR code reader while on the river is:
Check it out!
Don’t forget to go to our web page where you can see all the virtual river sites
as well as our East and West branch data logger live readings for water levels
and recommended paddling conditions. If you are driving past our interpretive
center I recommend dropping in to enjoy the museum but don’t forget to view the large four by eight virtual map on the
front of our building. Really neat stuff!
For 2018 we will be working with Warren Robertson from Scope Digital Media on a promotional video show casing the
St. Mary’s River Paddler’s Trail. This will be approximately 3 minutes long and intended for multiple uses. Also we will
be planning signage for a similar West branch Paddlers Trail which you can expect to see in 2019.
See you on the river,
2017 Entering the water for the paddling trip
2017 Preparing for departure
2017 Paddling the line
Stocking Committee Report
DFO recently advised the Saint Mary’s River Association of the outcome of a recent internal meeting regarding
approaches to the Southern Upland Intervention program. These decisions were made based on genetic
and demographic considerations as well as capacity considerations for Coldbrook and other involved
work units. Highlights of that meeting are as follows:
• In 2018 DFO will support a modest rearing program of 450 smolt at the Coldbook facility. The smolt will
be collected evenly from the Lahave and St Mary's rivers. The primary purpose for this gene banking
program is an attempt to ensure that the unique St Mary’s Atlantic Salmon continues to survive.
• DFO has no plan to collect kelts from the St Mary's in 2018 due to the limited capacity at the Coldbrook
facility and the potential that those kelts may be related to smolts collected in 2016.
Truro Agriculture College
Although understandable, it was very disappointing for SMRA to
learn that DFO has neither the resources nor facilities to support a
kelt program in 2018. In an attempt to explore a possible alternative
solution the SMRA met with key staff members and visited the
facilities of the Dalhousie’s Truro Agriculture College. They have a
very modern facility that is not running at full capacity that appears
to be capable of supporting a kelt program. In addition they have a
very educated and experienced staff that is very enthusiastic about
supporting a kelt program. They are currently involved with DFO on
the West River, Sheet Harbour smolt project. It is SMRA’s intent to
further pursue this potential opportunity with DFO.
We are committed to the betterment of fishing on the St Mary’s
River and one of our goals is to significantly increase the sea-trout
population of the St Mary’s River and in so doing preserve the long
term health and well being of the species. With the continuing
support, direction and authorization of Inland Fisheries we are now
approaching the successful completion of the second year of our
trout stocking program. The first year was 2016/2017 and the
second being 2017/2018. The program involves the capture of a previously agreed to number of large male
trout angled from the St Mary’s as defined and authorized by a special licence issued by Inland Fisheries.
The captured fish are closely managed and delivered from the river to the Fraser’s Mill’s Fish Hatchery. At
the appropriate time the males are stripped and their milt is used to fertilize the eggs stripped from females
supplied by and retained by the hatchery. After several months the trout develop to the point where they are
starting to loose their feed sacks. At that point they are transported and released into the previously scouted
brooks and head waters of the St Mary’s. The first year’s program yielded approximately 21,000 fingerlings
being dispersed in approximately 13 brooks. Our expectation is that our second year efforts will yield a
similar number to be dispersed.
However we must be aware that there is a lot of pressure on the Fraser’s Mills fish Hatchery in terms of the
demand for allocation of trout and as such there is no guarantee we will be approved in subsequent years.
We are, however, hopeful that support from Inland Fisheries will continue and with careful management the
trout population on the St Mary’s will return to the previous highs.
Left - Sandy Barnhill & Allan MacDonald
capture a wild kelt salmon for the project.
Right - Scott Beaver prepares to transport
a kelt salmon to a holding facility.
Left - Chris Sinclair captures a kelt
salmon for the project.
Below - Girl Guides help out by releasing
juvenile trout in a tributary.
Our 2017 sea-trout stocking program
Mary’s River. SMRA partnered with N
Fisheries & the Frasers Mill Hatchery.
on the St.
St. Mary’s River photographs, starting from top, clockwise
Fall colours on Melrose Lake, one of the East Branch’s deep lakes, sanctuary for trout & salmon during hot, dry
weather. Photograph by Deirdre Green.
Harrison’s Pool, Silver’s Pool, Underwater Photographs by Gilbert van Ryckevorsel.
Hi again, Mac here.
Male snappers like myself pretty
much stay at home.
It’s our females that wander.
This story is about a girlfriend of mine
named Tina Turtle. One day Tina
headed down toward the Meadow Pool
from my place …….
In the winter of 2003 George Sutherland wrote a SMRA News article called “SPECIAL MEMORIES
OF THE ST. MARY’S RIVER, GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY”. The full article can be found on our website.
This is an excerpt from it.
I started both of my boys fly-fishing when they were very young. Michael was under ten years old and wanted
to try salmon fishing. We headed for the St. Mary’s and on the way down he asked if we would see any
turtles. I replied “maybe”, but didn’t want to get his hopes up. We went up to a spot above the Meadow pool
where we wouldn’t disturb anyone. We were upriver from where I normally begin, so I decided to go first as I
didn’t want Mike stepping into any holes.
We had just begun when I heard Mike yell ”Turtle Dad…BIG turtle.” I called back that it was just a sod and he
should continue on. “Big Turtle!” he yelled. With that he ran out of the river and threw his rod on the bank.
As I looked behind me I suddenly saw a head the size of my fist on a neck sticking several inches out of the
water. I watched in awe as the biggest turtle I had ever seen slowly drifted past me. Mike and I watched together
as the fishermen below on both sides of the Meadow pool parted and watched as the turtle passed
- George Sutherland, New Glasgow, 2003
Editor’s Note: Mac was named by his old friend Gilbert
van Ryckevorsel. The St. Mary’s River is Gilbert’s favorite
stream on which to photograph Atlantic salmon
On most visits to Silver’s Pool Gilbert found Mac waiting
for him. They became friends. A visit to eastern NS
wasn’t complete without some quality time with Mac.
Gilbert is an honorary director of SMRA. The photographs
of Mac are Gilbert’s.
Gilbert’s shadow, a “selfie” by
Gilbert van Ryckevorsel
Passing it On
I often praise sport fishing as a lifelong sport
which you can participate in from a very young
age well into your senior years. Many of us have
been fishing for so long that we have forgotten
who introduced us to the sport but it many cases
it was a parent. In the case of my brother and me
it was our Mother. While Dad took us hunting
Mom was the one who took us fishing. She had
grown up with her sister spending a lot of time
outdoors and she loved to fish, and pick berries.
While I may not have inherited her love of berry
picking I can certainly trace my love of angling to
those early fishing trips.
Sport fishing and kids are a great combination as
children have a natural curiosity combined with a
sense of adventure which is important for all anglers.
These days, with increased concerns
about getting children physically active, sport
fishing can play an important role in getting them
outside. In addition spending time in the outdoors
exposes them to the natural world and the importance
of clean air and water for both us and the
fish. When you introduce children to sport fishing
it is important to remember some key points:
Start Simple - A short trip, close to home is a
good way to introduce them to sport fishing. It is
important to make sure the kids are comfortable.
Cold weather, rain and flies can sour any new
angler on the sport. Try to pick your days so you
will have a good time on the water.
Use Simple Equipment-Equipment which is easy
for a child to operate is essential if they are going
to enjoy the trip. A spinning rod with a bobber
and bait is hard to beat. Both are easy to use, as
well as effective, and they will be able to cast
with it in a very short period of time.
boat they should also be part of your child’s fishing
equipment when shore fishing near deep or
fast-moving water. Sun screen, sunglasses and
insect repellent should also be part of your
Make Sure They Have Fun-When you go fishing
and don’t catch anything it can be pretty discouraging,
especially for a young angler. Try to stack
the odds in your child’s favour by fishing where
you have a good chance of catching something.
This may be a perch lake or a stocked trout
Take Your Time-Slowing down to fish with your
children will let you see many things that you
might miss in your race to get to the next trout
pool. Birds, frogs, salamanders, minnows and
dragonflies are all part of the angling experience.
Seeing nature through a child’s eyes can help
remind us why we want to be outside in the first
place. Nova Scotia Sport Fishing Weekend will
be held this year on June 02 and 03. On this
weekend Nova Scotia residents, and nonresidents,
may fish without a general sport fishing
licence. While children do not require a licence
during the season,zzzzzx adults do, but
not on this weekend. It is a great way to get back
into the sport or introduce a new angler to sport
fishing. With all the pressures on everyone these
days it is often an effort to find the time. Make
the effort, you will be rewarded many times over.
Safety-Safety is always a priority when on, or
near the water. This is even more important
when fishing with children. While everyone
knows they need life jackets when fishing from a
Chris Sinclair’s Paradise
An overview of salmon returns.
Variable to say the least.
During the off season, anglers like to get together,
tie flies and chat about fishing. On a recent stormy
winter day, I was having coffee with a friend and
fellow angler and our conversation turned to
salmon returns and the apparent strength, or lack
thereof, of the various rivers and areas.
Comparing recent returns of Atlantic salmon can
help us understand short-term trends. They also
reveal big differences between rivers. Monitored
rivers in the United States and Canada show wide
regional differences and year to year fluctuations.
Angling reports from Quebec rivers were generally
favourable throughout the 2017 season. The Matane
and Cascapedia rivers posted better returns
than the disastrous 2014 season but did not reach
2011 levels. 2011 is generally considered the best
year in the past decade. However, on the
Matapedia, grilse numbers were down significantly,
leading to a smaller overall run than in recent
The Penobscot in Maine was a bright spot. More
than 800 salmon and grilse entered the river in
2017, about three times the 2016 run, and the best
in the past six years. Salmon are responding to the
effort of ASF and partners to remove dams in
Maine and improve fish passage.
The island of Newfoundland had a more sobering
story to tell. For the second year in a row returns to
monitored rivers on the island dropped sharply.
The Exploits River, which traditionally has the island’s
biggest run, had 15,530 fish pass through
the Grand Falls fishway. More than 41,000 were
counted there in 2011. The situation island-wide
led DFO to implement mandatory live release in
Compared to the lows of 2014, rivers in the Gulf of
St. Lawrence posted slightly better returns to
counting facilities in 2017 but still were low. The
Miramichi system reached 76 per cent of its minimum
egg deposition requirement (83 per cent on
the Southwest, 60 per cent on the Northwest). Still
there were some areas for optimism, for example,
the Cassilis trapnet on the lower Northwest
Miramichi had the highest number of returning
large salmon since 2002.
A bright spot has to be the Restigouche, which,
excluding the Matapedia, attained 134 per cent of
its minimum conservation requirement. Overall, the
number of large salmon spawning in the Restigouche
was a 20-year high. However, anglers
may not have noticed because of poor fishing conditions
for most of the season.
Closer to home, returns for the LaHave and the
Sackville were also variable in 2017. The LaHave
saw runs (combined grilse and salmon) of 350 fish
in 2011, 63 in 2014 and 218 to October 31 st this
past year. On the Sackville, 48 fish were counted
in 2011, 10 in 2014 and 35 to October 31 st .
We must remember that most counting facilities
only record a portion of the fish that pass and numbers
across the board are far below those of the
1970s. In specific streams and rivers, where successful
conservation and restoration has been carried
out, populations have rebounded.
What does this tell us? Probably nothing concrete
other than the fact the runs are variable and in
some areas in real trouble, and near historic lows.
Fortunately, rivers in the Northumberland Strait
and Western Cape Breton area continue to support
relatively heathy returns, but lack counting facilities
to confirm observations.
Some concerns raised.
In recent weeks ASF has received emails from
several concerned conservationists in Nova Scotia
about the use of sinking lines when the fish aren’t
biting. People rake them through a pool where
salmon are laying and foul-hook the fish.
The gear is legal, and I know many skilled anglers
who use sinking lines ethically and effectively, but
in marginal fishing conditions I recommend against
it. Perhaps people just need some advice, or perhaps
they’re trying to hook a salmon on its body. If
you see anglers hooking salmon by their bodies,
please contact the proper authorities and let’s
hope they respond
Revised Management strategy
As many of you may know, DFO is embarking on a
new management system for salmon populations
in the Gulf Region. While the details are still being
worked out, the new system will enable a river-byriver
management approach, instead of the system
which makes one set of rules for the entire area.
The new system will use the precautionary approach
as an overarching principle. It will have
two reference points, the limit reference point (LRP)
and the upper stock reference point (USRP). Above
the USRP, populations will be considered healthy,
and could potentially allow for a limited recreational
harvest. If returns dip below the LRP, salmon are in
trouble. Meanwhile, the space between the two
points will be considered the cautious zone for managers.
The lower you go in the cautious zone, the
more restrictive the management measures should
The LRP is like the warning light that comes on in
your vehicle when fuel is low. You can keep driving
but it’s risky.
No matter the system of rules in place, it will be up
to anglers to lead conservation on our salmon rivers
and it is safe to say, that without organizations such
as the St. Mary’s Rivers Association and its dedicated
volunteers, salmon populations would be in
much worse condition. Thank you for your great
work and I look forward to seeing you on the river
Lewis Hinks, ASF Director of Programs for Nova
Scotia and PEI
St. Mary’s Fish & Game Association
• Trailer Park
• Dump Station
Open: Mid– May to Mid-October
Stillwater, Nova Scotia
Sherbrooke Garage Ltd.
P.O. Box 280
Sherbrooke, N.S. B0J 3C0
Greetings from the
Nova Scotia Salmon Association
The past year
has been a busy
one for the
NSSA and for
Nova Scotia as
their decline and
as we and
such as the St.
work tirelessly to stave off extinction and foster recovery.
As the provincial spokes body for the Wild Atlantic
Salmon we work closely with our NGO partners,
like the SMRA, and government departments to represent
our affiliates interests and to try and effect
positive change for Atlantic Salmon through advocacy;
policy development, implementation, and influence;
primary research; and logistical and technical
support. Over the past year we have tried to achieve
these objectives through numerous meetings, projects,
and initiatives. Of course, our two major initiatives
being the NSLC Adopt-A-Stream program,
which under the excellent management and direction
of Amy Weston and Bob Rutherford recently passed
the 2,000,000 m 2 of habitat restored and 200,000
trees planted benchmarks; and the West River project,
which under the management by Dr. Edmund
Halfyard has completed 2 years of helicopter liming
that benefit the river and the surrounding forest for
years to come and saw the installation of a second
lime dosing tower. Be sure to watch out for celebrations
this spring for both initiatives. There has also
been a renewed interest in our Fish Friends program,
with NSSA director Stephen Booth and new member
Tim McGee trying to expand and seeking new support
for the program.
Other activities this past year include meeting with
various DFO departments in both the Maritime and
Gulf regions, meeting with provincial fisheries, liaising
with stakeholders, and working on issues such as
aquaculture. With regards to DFO we have been
busy on several fronts the main three being the
changes to the Fisheries Act, the proposed Marine
Protected Area on the Eastern Shore that could be
extended to the St. Mary’s River, and meeting to discuss
a proposed management change from conservation
limit system (minimum egg deposition model)
to an upper and lower limit reference point system
(phased management model based on the precautionary
approach and a river by river management
approach). Currently this system is only being applied
in the Gulf Region, and even then, it will only be
tested initially in the Miramachi, but as this system
was one of the adopted recommendations by the Ministerial
Advisory Committee we expect that it will soon
be applied more widely. Of course, there were many
(many, many) other meetings as well but those few
were the most time consuming and the ones that may
impact upon the St. Mary’s
As the Nova Scotia Regional Salmon Council for the
Atlantic Salmon Federation, we have also worked
hard to represent our stakeholders and NS issues on
the national and international stage. Recently I travelled
to New York to provide the Atlantic Salmon Federation
US and Canadians Board of Directors an update
on salmon activities and issues in Nova Scotia.
During the presentation I was able to highlight the
work that has been done by the St. Mary’s River Association.
Through our affiliation with ASF we can
bring our concerns and the concerns of our affiliates
to much greater prominence. Through ASF and our
programs and initiatives we will continue to support
work on behalf of our affiliates. Please feel free to
reach out to us at anytime and I hope to see you out
at our AGM on March 24 th at the Courtyard Marriott in
Halifax and our spring celebrations.
NSSA President (and former SMRA director)
We have a photo album called SMRA Alumni that is
dedicated to all who served the St. Mary’s River Association
as Directors, Officers or Employees since
its incorporation in 1979. The album can be viewed at
Please help us make it complete by contributing missing
or improved photographs and information to the
SMRA Interpretive Centre or sending via email to
FUNDING PARTNERS & VOLUNTEERS -THANK YOU
We are grateful to receive funding from our generous
Supporters whose financial assistance makes the work of
the St. Mary’s River Association possible.
Thank you to the following:
• The Elizabeth Wakeman Henderson Foundation
• NSLC Adopt a Stream Program
• Atlantic Salmon Conservation Federation
• NS Student Careers Skills Development Program
• Canada Summer Jobs
• Recreational Fisheries Conservation
• Small Craft Harbours
• Michelin Canada Granton Plant
• Royal Bank Blue Water Community Fund
• Sage Environmental Fund
• Cumberland County River Enhancement
• Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s
• All donors who gave to our Bi-Annual Dinner/
Auction Event – we couldn't do it without you!
To all our volunteers, a great big thank you!
Thanks to your generous contribution of knowledge, time
and energy, we can accomplish our important goals..
The Coffey House, St. Mary’s River,
Nova Scotia, Canada
Cochrane Hill is the pinnacle of a lovely drive from
Sherbrook to the village of Melrose. In 1877 gold fever
arrived at Cochrane Hill.
Working to keep the daily chores on track would not
have been for the weak. Her days would have started
at daybreak or before, a hearty breakfast prepared for
the miners, lunch boxes filled for the day in the mines,
and dinner to be prepared for the main meal of the
day and I am sure a bed lunch came after. She’d
have dishes to be washed, pots to be scrubbed, baking,
daily cleaning of the establishment and doing
laundry as required. Regardless of how we see it today,
I’m sure many memories were made that regretfully
were not recorded.
Many miners came for the work and extra housing
was needed for these workers. During the gold digging
days of Cochrane Hill a beautiful house was built
on the east side and on the lower banks of the St.
Mary’s River. The location of this previously standing
three-story dwelling, from the Waternish road view, is
directly across from the cabin known as the Bells of
St. Mary’s today, now owned by the Harpell family.
Access to the Coffey House, as it became known, can
be reached either from a road off Route 348 or by
river. I followed the road back a few years ago and it
was a difficult journey at best. This, no doubt, would
have been the main access to the Coffey House and
was then much more pleasing to the traveller than it is
The proprietor of the Coffey House was Rebecca Fraser,
first daughter of Hugh R. Fraser and Elizabeth
Ann (MacDaniel) Fraser. Rebecca was born August
8, 1858, and grew up on the family farm in Waternish.
She married James Coffey on November 22, 1881, at
Amherst, Nova Scotia. His occupation was listed as
clerk. By 1891 Rebecca was listed as a widow, living
with James’ family. By 1901 she had relocated to her
parent’s farm and it is believed at about the time she
became proprietor of the Coffey House that would
have been a wee distance downstream from her
During my time seeking information on the Coffey
House I spoke with a number of elderly folks in the
area. One story that amused me was from the late
Muriel MacKeen of Aspen. I often recall it, hearing her
voice and hearty laugh at the end.
Several years later, after the Coffey House had disappeared,
Muriel and a friend went there to pick blueberries.
According to Muriel the largest blueberries in
all of Guysborough County grew here. However,
there was a problem. Above the voice sounds of
these two ladies catching up on the gossip of the day
a swishing sound could be heard. Eventually one
stood up from picking and witnessed the largest black
snakes skimming across the blueberry patch on their
way to the open mine pits. As forklore has it, snakes
guard the entrance to mines where gold can be
Mrs. Rebecca (Fraser) Coffey passed away in February,
1924. At the time of her death she was living at
the Crow’s Nest, across the river from the Coffey
House. Rebecca was laid to rest in the Glenelg
Cemetery, located off the Lead Mine Rd. near Danny
Kirk’s home and blueberry fields, on the knoll of a hill
beside the tranquil waters of the St. Mary’s River.
RIP dear Rebecca.
Brenda Carpan, Stillwater, 2018
Barrister, Solicitor & Mediator
33B Greening Dr.
Antigonish NS B2G 1R1
Member of the Year
This year our board of
directors chose life
member Bill Carpan for
his volunteer work on
our Information Technology
Bill’s photo is from the
70’s. Today he’s not
exactly as shown.
Bill penned this song as
a celebration of life,
spirituality & his
thoughts of the St.
Mary’s River. He hears
it as a soulful gospel
song with a hint of kickass
zydeco & a nose of
pure old country blues.
We don’t know how the old river flows, uh-uh
We don’t know how the old river flows, oh-no
We might get where the old river flows
If we watch the shags, seagulls and crows
No one knows how the old river flows, oh-no!
God He knows how the old river flows, uh-huh
God He knows how the old river flows, yeh-yeh
We just know that she goes and goes
Startin’ in the highs and flowin’ to the lows
We’ll never know how the old river flows, oh-no!
Fish they know how the old river flows, uh-huh
Fish they know how the old river flows, yeh-yeh
If the water is good and the fish they grows
Leapin’ and splashin’ where the water slows
Fish they know how the old river flows, yeh-yeh!
Li’l kids learn how the old river flows, uh-huh
Li’l kids learn how the old river flows, yeh-yeh
In their little boat they rows and rows
Divin’ and swimmin’ without any clothes
Li’l kids learn how the old river flows, yeh-yeh!
Elders know how the old river flows, uh-huh
Elders know how the old river flows, yeh-yeh
They learned from God and the fishes and crows
Recalling’ precious times with the people they knows
They studied hard how the old river flows, yeh-yeh!
God’s children know how the old river flows, uh-huh
God’s children know how the old river flows, yeh-yeh
We casts our flies where the old river flows
And floats them over a big fish’s nose
Teachin’ us well how the old river flows, yeh-yeh!
Now the groove starts, fading toward the end ....
Gotta fish that river, it flows it flows
Gotta go to church, I knows I knows
Gotta plant my seeds, in rows in rows
Gotta mend my jeans, I sews and sews
Gotta mow my lawn, it grows and grows
Gotta feed my rooster, he crows and crows
Gotta drive my car, it goes and goes
Gotta wash my face, my nose my nose
Gotta call my sister, and bros and bros
Gotta face that wind, it blows and blows
Gotta help my friends, and foes and foes
Gotta water my flowers, my rose my rose
Gotta open some doors, and close and close
Gotta float my boat, I rows and rows
Gotta get some of these, and those and those
Gotta fix her hair, with bows and bows
Gotta pay the man, I owes I owes
Gotta see my baby, I goes I goes
Gotta light my candle, it glows and glows
Gotta shake it all to, and fros and fros
Gotta hit my highs, and lows and lows
Gotta win my fight, with blows and blows
Gotta shoot my arrow, with bows with bows
Gotta wash my fingers, and toes and toes
Gotta play my horn, I blows and blows
Gotta bring it on down, I slows I slows
Gotta be so happy, no woes no woes
Gotta watch TV, the shows the shows
Gotta read my bible, I knows I knows
Gotta weed my onions, I hoes and hoes
Gotta send for the doctor, I'm low, I'm low
Gotta move on past, the so and sos
Gotta weigh the cons, and pros and pros
Gotta play my bass, with bows and bows
Gotta get so cool, I froze and froze
Gotta be so tired, I doze and doze
Gotta strip right down, no clothes no clothes
Gotta vote today, I chose I chose
Gotta write my story, in prose in prose
Gotta get real tall, I grows and grows
Gotta get on home, I spose I spose
To record this, contact Bill at (902) 318-5117
Indian Man Pool - Photograph by Brenda Carpan
SMRA EDUCATION & INTERPRETIVE CENTRE NEWS
By Joanne Mailman, Manager
volunteers were uppermost.
There are a couple of people I wish to thank. Dr.
Hardy Eshbaugh, thank you for your support thorough
out the past 17 years. Your generosity and kindness
will never be forgotten.
Also, lastly but most importantly, I wish to thank Florence
Duffy. I was greenhorn with little knowledge of
salmon fishing when I first started working at the Centre
and knew very little about the rich history of the
fishery in the area. She took me in hand and taught
me everything she knew. I am eternally grateful. Florence
was my trainer, mentor, greatest supporter and
most importantly she became my friend. We shared a
lot of laughs, frustrations and successes.
Thank you so much.
To all of you, I wish you much success in all your future
endeavours on the river.
Joanne Mailman & Florence Duffy at Dinner Auction
In 2017 the Centre saw 2,791 visitors. That’s 39,115
since we opened in 2001. Our summer students this
year were Jenny Kaiser and Dakota Croft.
A few summer events included:
• Participated in Sherbrooke Village River Days
• Trout release with Girl Guides
• Hosted Nova Scotia Nature Trust Sobey land
• Co-ordinated SMRA/Royal Bank tree planting
• Set up display at Sherbrooke Liquor Store
staffed by Jocelyn Ellis and Donnie Barnes
• Hosted Zone Management Advisory Committee
meeting, provided lunch for group
• Canada Day yard sale
River Days display
Members Gwen Boutilier and Ralph Jack painted the
front entrance of the Centre, which provided a much
needed facelift. Ralph and Sandy Barnhill also installed
the new building sign. So stop by this summer
to have a look.
This is my last Interpretive Centre Report as Manager.
I have decided that after 17 years, to try something
new…..retirement. It’s been a long journey with
many ups and downs, but for the most part, tremendously
enjoyable. The highlights are too numerous to
recount but meeting so many new people, working
with dozens of students and hundreds of dedicated
Crew installing smolt wheel
Here we see girl guides helping
us by stocking brook trout in a
Volunteer group planting trees in order to help stabilize an eroding river bank.
HIGHLAND HOME BUILDING CENTRE
Home Owners helping homeowners
Peter Archibald Forestry
6384 Route 348 RR#1 Aspen NS B0H 1E0 Home: 902-833-2422
• Thinning Peter Archibald
• Excavating email@example.com
H.W. Angus Funeral Home
256 King St., P.O. Box 221
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
Phone: (902) 752-2545
Self-Employment Benefit Program
CBDC Guysborough County
• Entrepreneurial support
• Financial assistance to eligible participants
• Workshops, coaching, mentoring, business plan assistance.
Employment Nova Scotia
ST. MARY’S SHOOTERS
Safety first, last and always
• Responsible family fun
• Learn new skills under the guidance of provincially
qualified instructors and safety officers
• Numerous organized shoots and events
• Rifle, pistol, shotgun and air gun skills training
We support the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, NS
Hunter Safety Course, and NRA Eddie Eagle Safety Program.
233 SOUTH RIVER ROAD
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
PO Box 7
8000 Highway 7
Sherbrooke,NS B0J 3C0
Contact us at:
St. Mary’s River
Above:St. Mary’s Brook
Right: Dry Fly
NOTICE TO MEMBERS
GENERAL ANNUAL MEETING
and BOARD NOMINATIONS
The Annual General Meeting of the St. Mary’s River Association
will be held on Sunday May 27, 2018 at 2 pm at
the Education & Interpretive Centre, 8404 Highway 7,
Sherbrooke NS. All paid-up members are eligible to vote
at the meeting. Memberships will be available for those
wishing to join or renew their membership.
There are currently ten open positions for directors (nine
who are not officers and one officer). Nominations are
open for the office of Secretary. Nominations are not open
this year for the offices of President, Vice-President and
Treasurer as their two year terms have not expired. The
Nominations Committee will be considering nominees for
these or any other positions that become open. The membership
may also submit nominations. In accordance with
the Association’s by-laws, nominations from the membership
at large will be received at the Association’s address
below up to the 1st day of April, 2018.
Nominations shall be in writing signed by the nominator
and the nominee using the Board of Directors Nomination
and Consent Form available below or at the Interpretive
Centre during open hours or on our web site at
All are welcome to attend. St. Mary’s River Association PO
Box 179, Sherbrooke, N.S. B0J 3C0.
Gweneth Boutilier, Treasurer
or mail to St. Mary’s River Association, PO Box 179,
Sherbrooke, NS B0J 3C0
SMRA Board of Directors Nomination and Consent Form
Please return this completed form as soon as possible in person, by mail or electronically. Candidates for
President must reside in Nova Scotia.
Nominations will be accepted by the Treasurer on or before the 1st of April 2018.
Nominee for Board of Directors (Please Print)
Full Name _____________________________________
Position Applied for ________________________
Mailing Address ____________________________________________________
Telephone Bus ( ) _______________ Res ( ) _______________
I, ____________________________________, am a Member in good standing and hereby consent to my
nomination as a candidate for election to the Board of Directors of the of the St Mary’s River Association, for a
two-year term of office, subject to my election. I am prepared to subscribe to the aims and objectives of the
Association as stated in the St Mary’s River Association Memorandum of Association.
Sponsor of Nominee (Please Print)
As a Member in good standing of the Association,
I nominate the above nominee for the position of ____________________.
Full Name ______________________________________________
Position nominated for ____________________
Mailing Address ____________________________________________________
Telephone Bus ( ) _______________ Res ( ) ________________
Signature: _________________________ Date __________________ Form 001
SMRA Online Gift Shop
For your convenience, SMRA now has an online gift
SMRA Memberships, fly posters and branded clothing
can now be ordered online. We can also accept donations
Payment is done through PayPal, which enables payment by
a PayPal account OR your credit card.
Shipping is by Canada Post Expedited Parcel.
We sell online:
• NS Salmon Fly Poster
• SMRA Memberships
• SMRA Sponsoring Memberships
• SMRA Corporate Memberships
• SMRA Baseball Caps & Shirts
• Tickets To Dinner Auction (available in
• You can now make donations to SMRA
Would you please
direct me to your
What do these Atlantic salmon wet
flies have in common?
That’s right, they all originated in
Frome top right clockwise:
Cosseboom, Black Bomber, Ross Special,
NS Classic, Pink Panther, Interceptor,
& McCoul Special.
Silver’s Pool Salmon
by Two Artists
When the late artist Joe Crilley saw
Gilbert van Ryckevorsel’s inspiring
underwater photograph of Silver’s
Pool salmon, he had to paint it.
He did so and then gave the painting
to Gilbert. Today it hangs on the wall
of Gilbert’s home in Mahone Bay, NS.
George F. MacDonald & Sons
Bulldozing & Trucking
RR# 5 New Glasgow, Nova Scotia B2H 5C8
Bus: 902-922-2007 Fax:902-922-2411
Dan Macintosh was one of the more noted of the St. Mary's
River guides. An easy-going man who died in his seventies,
he made his living off the land, trapping, fishing, hunting, and
guiding sports. His fame lives on, not only in the stories told
about him but also with the popular Macintosh salmon fly,
which he is credited with perfecting. The following was related
by Duncan Crowell.
I remember one time Dan said to me, "Do you like salmon?"
"Yeah, I love it."
So he reached up on the set of deer horns he had there an'
he took the .22 down.
"Come with me," he said.
"Where are you goin'?"
"For a salmon."
"With a .22?"
"You haven't seen anything yet," he said.
We went down over the bank of the St. Mary's, right under the
little green bridge that ran across. Oh, there'd be about six or
eight inches of water in there, and here were these big
salmon layin' in the water, movin' their tails just enough to
keep them against the stream. He stuck the .22 down.
Phew! Up comes a salmon, belly up. It never hit him, just
stunned him. So he grabbed it by the tail an' said, "Here, take
that an' take off up over the bank with it." Later on I heard
Phew! an' here he was comin' with one.
They were fishin' there one time an' he had caught a salmon.
There was an American there, and he wanted to buy it. The
American had been fishin' for several days an' hadn't got
anything. He said,
"Mr. Macintosh, how about sellin' me that salmon?"
"Well, okay. Give me a dollar a pound."
"How much does it weigh?"
"About eleven pounds," Dan said.
"Oh hell, that salmon would never weigh eleven pounds."
"Well," he said, "there's one way to find out.
We'll go into Sherbrooke an' weigh it."
So they started up over the bank to go to one of the stores.
When he was comin' up the bank, there was a drift bolt there,
one of these square drift bolts. Dan reached down, picked it
up an' shoved it down the throat of the salmon, into the belly
of it. So anyway, they weighed it an' it weighed pretty close to
what Dan said the thing would weigh. "My God," the American
"That's deceiving. That salmon doesn't look that big."
"Ah," he said, "that's one of them bolt salmon. They're deceiving
They used to have bounty at one time on porcupines, twenty
-five cents. What Dan used to do, in addition to the snout, he
used to take the pad, the front paws, an' make two more snouts
out of them; they looked the same. So he got seventy-five
cents for each porcupine. They'd take the snouts into the
game warden. He'd count them an' give you a check for whatever
it was. So this day, Dan took about a five-pound paperbag
full of 'em in. The game warden dumped them out on
his desk an' counted them back into the bag again. Of course
they were no good to the game warden after that, so he threw
them into the wastepaper can. Then he went into the next room
to get a check to write out for Dan. Dan picked it out of the
wastepaper can an' shoved it down under his coat. He paid him
for the snouts, so he left. Next day, he sent them through with
the mail-coach driver to sell them again.
Dan lived right on the bank of the St. Mary's, an' he used to
set a net the whole way across the river about two o' clock in
the mornin'. Around five, he'd look at it again an' take it up of
course. Then he'd give whatever he'd caught to the mailcoach
driver to take through to Antigonish to sell for him. One
day, an American said to him, "Mr. Macintosh, how far up here
do the salmon run?" Dan said, "They take the water to my
place an' they take the coach from there to
He was quite a lad.
This is from a book titled Guides of the North Woods by Michael
Parker, Nimbus Publishing Limited, Halifax NS, 1990.
The painting of Dan Macintosh is by Joseph Crilley.
MacIntosh Dry Fly, tied & photographed by Bill Carpan.
Below—Dan MacIntosh & family with pet whitetail deer.
IN MEMORIAM DONATIONS:
SMRA is thankful to receive in-memoriam donations from friends and family of people whose
angling experiences on the St. Mary’s River contributed to their enjoyment of life.
We will provide an in memory card and send them to family and friends acknowledging that a
donation was made in memoriam by you. A tax receipt will be issued to the donor.
Please mail donations to:
St. Mary’s River Association PO Box 179
Sherbrooke NS Canada B0J 3C0
Your donation will help us in our continued efforts to help the wild Atlantic salmon.
St. Mary’s District
Dinner meetings 2nd—4th Thursdays, 7pm
6 Main Street
Lion’s Club Community Centre
We serve our community, our province, our country, the world.
LLOYD HINES –MLA
9996 Hwy 16 Unit P-1
Toll free: 1.855.511.2280
FB: Lloyd Hines MLA Guysborough
Eastern Shore Tracadie
TATE CONSTRUCTION LTD.
Member of New Home Warranty
Bus. 902-863-4318 Fax. 902-863-3549
4001 Hwy #7 RR#5 Antigonish NS B2G 2L3
From the Shallow End of the Pool
with ole Hookbill
After an absence of many years I decided to visit one of my
favourite places, the shallow end of the pool. You see it’s
there I get perspective on life, on mother nature, on what
really matters! At the shallow end of the pool there is
peace and there is hope.
You will not find 'facebook' there but rather 'faithbrook'.
There is 'twitter' there but it comes from the 'birdhouse'
and not the 'whitehouse'. And there you can get
'linkedin' with the wisdom and understanding that goes
back to the very beginning.
When I was last at the shallow end
of the pool, my old friend the
crow was sitting on a dead limb,
on a dead tree, looking over a
nearly dead river. And then I heard
"Hookbill, I was just thinking of the
words of Henry Ford: "If you keep
doing what you have always done,
you will keep getting what you
always got." He went on: "You
see my flock have have been
observing the river for thousands
of years and have been trying to
convey to you people that the
river is dying and very little is being
done to restore it. You see,
as a flock, we have done ok. As
a matter of fact our numbers are increasing. How can that
be, you ask? You see we have been afforded a place to
grow our young. However, you have decimated the nesting
and growing habitat for our marine life.”
“Look Hookbill, here it is in a nutshell! There is 'natural
wisdom' and there is 'artificial intelligence'. You have
been the victims of 'artificial intelligence' for too long. So,
'Hookbill, the solution is simple, listen to the crow, and
embrace 'natural wisdom' and replace and restore what
you have destroyed. Hookbill, its time to draw a new 'river
map'. There is a better way to do fish management, a
way which will ensure 'you will not get what you always
“Just ask the crow!"
J.W. Sinclair Prop.
Traditional style wood
and canvas canoes.
15’, 16’,17.5’ length.
Also poles and paddles. 3230 Route 376,
Pictou, NS B0K 1H0
The Waddens and the Ackroyd Fly
Many of the St. Mary’s River old-timers fondly remember
the Wadden brothers, Eddie & Bunny, from
Westville NS. They were true angling pioneers, proving
that fly fishing for Atlantic salmon in salt water
can provide great sport in and around river estuaries.
They developed streamer fishing for sea-run brown
trout in the salt water and angled giant striped bass
in Guysborough county surf.
Most of all, they had fun. Bunny was the quiet one.
Eddie was the more sociable of the two, always
ready to help a novice or spin a yarn. Eddie, often
carrying a glass of “orange juice”, entertained the
bankers at the Ford Pool with his stories and antics.
These men were experts. They knew their sport well,
designing and tying flies to support their habit.
Eddie’s favourite salmon fly was the Ackroyd. He’d
often tell stories about an especially large salmon he
caught or lost on an Ackroyd. As he got worked up
by recalling the excitement of his experience he developed
quite a stutter, regaling his audience.
Eddie liked a large Ackroyd in the cold water of fall
Rivers such as the Margaree, or early spring on the
East River St. Mary’s. He also fished a small hair
wing version in the summer. He loved that fly. If you
try it, you may experience some of Eddie’s excitement
and also share the thrills of many anglers who
lived well before Eddie’s time.
Historically, the Ackroyd belongs to the family of Dee
strip winged flies. These are very old flies (early
1800’s) originating from the famous Scottish river Aberdeenshire
Dee, commonly called the Dee. The Dee
flies are very special, with their characteristic turkey
wings and long spey hackle. Ideally the Dee fly is tied
on long-shank light or medium weight hooks, dressed
thin & sparse, allowing them to sink more readily in
The Ackroyd is a fairly simple fly featuring a yellow
and black body, nicknamed “the poor man’s Jock
Scott”. The fly in the photo was tied by four-time
world champion classic fly tier Jim McCoul of Brookfield
NS. Specifications are as follows:
Long shank spey-type hook,
sizes 6 - 3/0
Fine oval silver tinsel
Golden pheasant crest topped with
First half, yellow seal’s fur (or angora
Second half, black floss
Oval silver tinsel, yellow hackle ove
the yellow seal’s fur and a black longfibered
Spey hackle over the black
Teal or mallard flank
A pair of cinnamon or white turkey tail
strips, tied flat on top
Jungle cock, drooping below the hook
Bill Carpan, Stillwater, 2008
NS Hatch Chart
People get ready, there’s a hatch a’comin!
Gilbert van Ryckevorsel
Gilbert van Ryckevorsel
Underwater Photographs by
Gilbert van Ryckevorsel,
Mahone Bay, NS, Canada
Gilbert van Ryckevorsel
The Wrong Bull
This tale is from a 1996 book,
HOOKED!, by Lowell R. Demond
of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
I knew him as a likeable
gentleman when he was President
of the LaHave River
Salmon Association. Lowell retired
as Principal of Bridgewater
High School in 1994. Many
thanks to him for giving us permission
to publish this.
Bill Carpan, Stillwater NS
The Margaree is one of the most picturesque rivers in
Nova Scotia. Located in Cape Breton, it runs through fairly
high hills with mixed hardwoods and is especially colourful
in the fall. It also is one of the best salmon-producing
rivers in the province and is known for its large fish.
Herman and I like to do some fall fishing and on occasion
we journey to the Margaree.
There are a lot of good pools to fish on the river and,
although the fishing pressure is rather heavy, if you scout
around, you can usually find a pool with fish in it that is not
crowded. One such pool is the Seal Pool, on the lower end
of the river.
To get to this pool, you park along the highway and walk
down a steep bank to a large, open pasture. I don't know
if this is common land or not, but there are usually about
one hundred head of cattle pastured there on the large
acreage. There are few fences, and the cattle have
access to the river.
One fall, Herman and I were fishing at the Seal Pool,
taking turns rotating down the river. A number of fish
were showing in the pool, and on my second trip down, I
hooked about a ten-to-twelve pound salmon. It put up a
good fight, and since catch and release was required of
large salmon, I reeled it in as quickly as possible and
Herman helped me release it. We then continued on
After we had been there about an hour, a young couple
appeared on the scene. He was a fisherman and she
was an observer, and for the purpose of this story, we
will call her the "girlfriend." She had brought a cushion and
found a good place to sit where she had a good view of
the river. He, meanwhile, walked down over the bank
and started fishing in the river below us.
As is customary, we were rotating the pool, and
although we were not upset that he had stepped in
front of us, some anglers would have been.
Before this young couple had arrived, there had been
quite a commotion going on in the pasture among the
cattle. Herman and I had been watching this off and
on, and it appeared to us that a very large bull was
exercising his authority with a cow that was in heat,
and there was a smaller bull who was also interested.
The big bull constantly butted the smaller bull, and on
occasion became quite aggressive with him. The
young fellow wanted a sniff, but the old bull was determined
this was not to be. This caused the young
bull to become frustrated, and he mooed and bleated
and frothed at the mouth. Sometimes he got so exasperated
that he pawed the ground and the dirt would
fly right over his back into the air. While all of this was
going on, the herd was working its way towards us
and getting closer.
Before long, the young bull left the herd and started
towards where the girlfriend was sitting on the bank.
He was still making his strange sounds and pawing
the ground, and she had her eye on him. Closer and
closer he came and finally she yelled out to Herman
and me, "Is that animal a bull?" We told her it was,
but not to worry about him, as we considered him
harmless. The bull kept coming, and she panicked
and began to cry.
The boyfriend was downriver quite a distance from
us, and we called to him and told him his girlfriend
needed help. Herman also became concerned and
suggested we throw rocks at the bull, as he was now
within throwing distance. The boyfriend reeled in his
fishing line and was now heading upstream along the
river bank at a fast pace to her rescue.
There were lots of good rocks to throw, because the
river bottom was all gravel and had rocks from one
inch to six inches in diameter. Herman and I would
reach in the water and get a rock and throw it at the
bull. We continued this until I picked up a wet rock
about the size of a softball. When I went to throw it, it
slipped out of my hand and came very close to hitting
the boyfriend on the head. If it had hit him, it might
have killed him or at least caused him serious injury.
This scared the heck out of me, but before I could
fully comprehend the seriousness of my action,
Herman hollered, "You're throwing at the wrong bull."
These six words changed the whole situation around.
When the girlfriend heard what Herman had said,
she stopped crying, seemed to forget the bull and
started to laugh. The boyfriend, too, thought it was
funny. The bull turned and started in another
direction, and I, having recovered from my scary
throw, nearly fell in the river as a result of my weakened
condition from laughing, and my relief at not
hitting the boyfriend on the head. The young couple
quickly gathered up their belongings, and the last I
saw of them, they were scurrying up the steep side of
the pasture to where their car was parked.
St. Mary’s River Bridges of History
Often when I am fishing near a field or see cattle
along a river, which is not uncommon, I think of this
incident, and when I do, I wonder about three things:
(1) how the story sounded when the girlfriend or
boyfriend told it,
(2) If I had hit the boyfriend on the head with the
rock and killed him, whether or not I would
have been charged for a criminal offence, and
(3) What would the verdict of the jury have been?
Above: Stillwater Footbridge
Left: West River St. Mary’s Footbridge
Below: Week’s Covered Bridge, Aspen, 1950
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St. Mary’s River
where the river meets the
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retreat. Enjoy nature at your doorstep with boating, hiking,
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In Memory of Friends
The St. Mary’s River lost some of its best friends and valuable
members of our community in the year past.
First was Colin (Duke) Coady of Stillwater. Duke served as a
SMRA Director for several years, then started SHOPS, Sherbrooke
Opportunities Society, in 2009 to provide education for disabled
people in the area. He was the driving force behind SHOPS and
president of the group when he died suddenly in April, 2017. His
love for politics and ability to fix most anything mechanical made
him a very valuable community resource.
Next was Jack Duffy of Waternish. Jack passed while on a trip to
Newfoundland doing what he loved, fishing. He was a Director of
SMRA for several years, always ready to help with river projects like
our smolt wheel or habitat restoration. Jack loved telling fish stories
and was an avid hunter as well.
Then we lost Paul d’Entrement of Aspen from a long fight with
heart disease. Paul was a NSSA Director, then SMRA Director for
many years. Paul was always ready to lend his support when
needed. He participated in habitat restoration projects, revision of
SMRA’s constitution, stocking and assessment projects. His
outgoing & friendly personality earned him many friends in his
travels over the years.
Finally, in February 2018, we lost Florence Duffy, wife of Jack,
from Waternish. Florence was long-time SMRA Director. She was
project manager for construction of our Education & Interpretive
Centre in Sherbrooke, then served as Treasurer of the Association
for several years. Florence was adept at fund raising & helped the
organization immeasurably, always ready & able to take on challenges.
We’ll miss them all, but
we’ll remember them
from their lasting contributions
and joy they
From top right,
Florence Duffy, and
Fly Tyer’s Corner
by Jim McCoul, Truro NS
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The Tuttle Cabin on Rock Island Pool
If there's one thing my father, Ralph Tuttle, loved to do
above all else, it was to go fishing. fly fishing for Atlantic
salmon in particular, and preferably on the St. Mary's
River. He tied his own flies and made his own fishing rods,
he was also a renowned expert on the subject of how and
where to catch salmon.
After many years of fishing on the St. Mary's and living in
tents while doing so, an opportunity presented itself to acquire
a piece of land near the Rock Island Pool on the
west branch of the river. During the summer of 1969 the lot
was cleared, logs were cut and the following year the
cabin was constructed.
Having the cabin made it much easier to go fishing and
that's what my father did every chance he got. I tagged
along on many trips to fish the spring run on the east
branch of the river. I remember a few names from those
days, Wes MacDougall, Ray Buckland, and
Ralph Tuttle, left, sharing yarns with another angler Gordon Macintosh to name a few. It was quite a thrill
whenever one of them would land one of those big fish.
Later in the season the salmon would run on the west branch, then it was a matter of stepping off the cabin porch and
he was on the river.
From the first days at the cabin until about the mid-eighties the fishing was very good and on a good day you could
limit out in ten minutes if you wanted to. There was a noticeable decline in salmon numbers from that point on though,
as most are aware, and they have not rebounded since. Dad's reasoning for the decline was in line with many people's
thinking: habitat destruction, acid rain, overfishing on the high seas, etc.
Dad passed away in 1997, he was able to enjoy his cabin and fishing right up to the end. When you think about how
passionate he was about it, he was fortunate to have such a place and to live in a time when the wilderness was still
My son now has the cabin and we're giving the old place some much
needed attention. My little grandson loves it there too and caught his
first trout last summer. There's a picture of my father hanging above the
fireplace, I'm pretty sure he'd approve of what we are doing and he
would be elated by the fact that his great-grandson loves to go fishing.
Paul Tuttle, 2018
Editor’s note: I recall one spring when Ralph Tuttle had great
fishing on the East Branch, catching several large early run
salmon where other highly skilled anglers failed. He just seemed
able to find a salmon wherever he fished! In photos I’ve seen of
Ralph holding salmon there is never blood on the fish. That’s because
he didn’t like to land his fish with a gaff as most anglers
did. He preferred use of a compact Hardy tailer that he carried, a
snare-type device that tailed & landed his fish cleanly. A few
years later gaffs were prohibited and others, including myself,
carried tailers as well. But, in my opinion, Ralph was first to do so
on the St. Mary’s River.
Gilbert van Ryckevorsel
New directors are
appointed at the
Annual General Meeting
If you are interested in becoming
a director or if you
want to contact a director,
please call us at:
e-mail us at:
Antigonish .5 to 1.00 ………………………………..21
Antigonish Rent All …………………………………29
Atlantic Salmon Federation ……………………….19
Bio-Liquid Waste Liquid Disposal Inc…………...37
Bounty Print ………………………………………… 49
C&J Martin Well Drilling …………………………...49
Carole Gartside …………………………..…………22
Fraser & Hoyt ………………………………………. 41
George F. MacDonald & Sons …………………….37
Guys. Co. Community Business Dev. Corp ……14
H.W. Angus Funeral Home…………………………29
Highland Building ……………………………….... 29
Liscombe Lodge …………………………………….41
Lloyd Hines …………………………………………..40
Municipality. of the District of St. Mary’s ……….28
Nimrod’s Campground ………………..…………..19
NS Nature Trust …………………..………………….9
Peter Archibald Forestry …………..………………29
Royal Bank …………………………………………...40
Sawmill Landing …………………………………….30
Sherbrooke Garage …………………………………19
Sherbrooke Village ………………………………….29
St. Mary’s Lion’s Club ………………………………40
St. Mary’s Shooters Assoc…………………………29
St. Mary’s Smokehouses …………………………..29
Tate Construction …………………………………...40
The Claymore Inn & Suites ………………………..51
Whidden’s Campground …………………………..20
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Mac the Snap
Photographs by Gilbert van Ryckevorsel
St. Mary’s River Association
Education & Interpretive
8404 Highway #7, SHERBROOKE, NS
Atlantic salmon angling exhibits