2018 SMRA NEWS Online (NXPowerLite Copy)


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SMRA NEWS Online / spring 2018

St. Mary’s River Association

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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


Our vision:

“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.

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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

spoken text

• 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

do likewise.

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

Presidents Report

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.

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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

can help.

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?

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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

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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.

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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


Dinner Auction

Events planned include:

• Fly tying forum

• *NEW* Modern Spey casting lessons

& demonstrations

• *NEW* Rod building

• *NEW* Cork turning

Saturday, October 13, 2018

McKay Room

Student Union Building

St. FX University, Antigonish NS

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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,

Scott Beaver

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2017 Entering the water for the paddling trip

2017 Preparing for departure

2017 Paddling the line

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Stocking Committee Report

DFO Update

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.

Trout Program

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.

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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.

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Our 2017 sea-trout stocking program

Mary’s River. SMRA partnered with N

Fisheries & the Frasers Mill Hatchery.

on the St.

S Inland

Page 13

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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.

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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 …….

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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

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Passing it On

Don MacLean

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.

Tight Lines


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

Page 18

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.

Page 19

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

next season.

Lewis Hinks, ASF Director of Programs for Nova

Scotia and PEI


Operated by

St. Mary’s Fish & Game Association

• Tenting

• Trailer Park

• Dump Station

• Showers

Open: Mid– May to Mid-October

Phone 902-522-2441

Stillwater, Nova Scotia


Sherbrooke Garage Ltd.

Phone: 902-522-2881

Fax: 902-522-2276

P.O. Box 280

Sherbrooke, N.S. B0J 3C0

Page 20

Greetings from the

Nova Scotia Salmon Association

The past year

has been a busy

one for the

NSSA and for

river organizations


Nova Scotia as

salmon continue

their decline and

as we and

dedicated river


such as the St.

Mary’s River


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.

Kris Hunter

NSSA President (and former SMRA director)

Page 21

SMRA Alumni

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



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

Partnerships Program

• 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!

ALSO ....

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..

Page 22

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.

parents farm.

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

Carole Gartside

Barrister, Solicitor & Mediator

Law Office

33B Greening Dr.

Antigonish NS B2G 1R1

(902) 735-2600

Page 23

Member of the Year

Who Knows?

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

Page 24

Page 25

Silver’s Ledge

Photograph by

Bill Carpan

Early Morning

St. Mary’s


Photograph by

Brenda Carpan

Harrison’s Pool,

photographed by

Page 26


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

Tight lines!


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

Page 27

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.

Page 28

Page 29



902-863-6242 902-522-2091

Home Owners helping homeowners

Peter Archibald Forestry

6384 Route 348 RR#1 Aspen NS B0H 1E0 Home: 902-833-2422

Cell: 902-867-7198

• Harvesting

• Mulching

• Thinning Peter Archibald

• Excavating peter.a@ns.sympatico.ca

H.W. Angus Funeral Home

256 King St., P.O. Box 221

New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

B2H 5E3

Phone: (902) 752-2545

Email: angusfuneral@ns.sympatico.ca

Program Provides:

Self-Employment Benefit Program

CBDC Guysborough County

(902) 533-2770

• Entrepreneurial support

• Financial assistance to eligible participants

• Workshops, coaching, mentoring, business plan assistance.

Sponsored by:

Employment Nova Scotia



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.



Antigonish, Nova Scotia

B2G 2M6


Fax: 902-863-1916

E-mail: antirentall@eastlink.ca


PO Box 7

8000 Highway 7

Sherbrooke,NS B0J 3C0

Contact us at:


Tel: 902-522-2005


Page 30

Page 31

Photographs by

Chris Sinclair


St. Mary’s River

Hemlock Forest

Above:St. Mary’s Brook


Right: Dry Fly

Page 32




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

Email gwen_boutilier@yahoo.ca

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 ( ) _______________

Email ____________________________________________________________

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.

Signature _______________________

Date: _____________________

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 ( ) ________________

Email __________________________

Signature: _________________________ Date __________________ Form 001

Page 33

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

September, 2018)

• You can now make donations to SMRA


Would you please

direct me to your



Page 34

What do these Atlantic salmon wet

flies have in common?

That’s right, they all originated in

Nova Scotia!

Frome top right clockwise:

Cosseboom, Black Bomber, Ross Special,

NS Classic, Pink Panther, Interceptor,

& McCoul Special.

Page 35

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.

Page 36

Page 37

George F. MacDonald & Sons

Bulldozing & Trucking





Road Building

Snow Removal

RR# 5 New Glasgow, Nova Scotia B2H 5C8

Bus: 902-922-2007 Fax:902-922-2411

E-mail: gfmacdonaldsons@ns.sympatico.ca

Page 38

Dan Macintosh

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

as hell."

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.

Page 39

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.

Page 40


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

Lions Club

Dinner meetings 2nd—4th Thursdays, 7pm

6 Main Street

Sherbrooke, NS


Lion’s Club Community Centre

Sherbrooke, NS

We serve our community, our province, our country, the world.




9996 Hwy 16 Unit P-1

Tel: 902.533.2280

Toll free: 1.855.511.2280

Fax: 902.533.3039

Email: lphines@ns.sympatico.ca

FB: Lloyd Hines MLA Guysborough

Eastern Shore Tracadie




New Construction/Renovations/Siding/Roofing/


Member of New Home Warranty


Bus. 902-863-4318 Fax. 902-863-3549

4001 Hwy #7 RR#5 Antigonish NS B2G 2L3

Page 41

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

him cawe:

"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

Page 42

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

heavy water.

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:









The Ackroyd

Long shank spey-type hook,

sizes 6 - 3/0

Fine oval silver tinsel

Golden pheasant crest topped with

tippet strands

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

Page 43

NS Hatch Chart

People get ready, there’s a hatch a’comin!

Page 44

Photograph by

Gilbert van Ryckevorsel

Juvenile Shad

Photograph by

Gilbert van Ryckevorsel

Page 45

Underwater Photographs by

Gilbert van Ryckevorsel,

Mahone Bay, NS, Canada

Photograph by

Gilbert van Ryckevorsel

Page 46

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."

Page 47

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

Waterfront lots available on the

St. Mary’s River

where the river meets the

Atlantic Ocean.

Sawmill Landing is a new

development in Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia.

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biking, fishing and relaxing.

For more information:

Phone: 902-328-4338 or 902-522-2343

Email: waterfront@bellaliant.net


Page 48

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

gave us.

From top right,

Duke Coady,

Jack Duffy,

Florence Duffy, and

Paul d’Entremont

Page 49

Fly Tyer’s Corner

The Duchess

by Jim McCoul, Truro NS

For more Jim McCoul & Bob MacDonald flies see


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Page 50

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

largely unspoiled.

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.

Page 51


Scott Beaver


Kenny Silver



Gwen Boutilier

Past President:

Scott Beaver


Allan MacDonald

Donnie Barnes

John Silver

Winston Sawlor

Tim Sawlor

Ralph Jack

George Sutherland

Rene Beaver

John Hamilton

Sandy Barnhill

Clyde McGrath

Alan MacDonald

Honorary Directors:

Hardy Eshbaugh

David Sobey

George Archibald

Gilbert van Ryckevorsel

New directors are

appointed at the

Annual General Meeting

in May.

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

Breton Petroleum……………………………………36

C&J Martin Well Drilling …………………………...49

Carole Gartside …………………………..…………22

CBDC ………………………………………………….29

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

Sinclair Canoes…………………...………………….41

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

Page 52

Want to see the world’s greatest salmon dry fly video?

Click here:

Or here:



Bye now,

Hope you enjoyed

SMRA News Online.

Come see us again,

Mac the Snap

Photographs by Gilbert van Ryckevorsel

St. Mary’s River Association

Education & Interpretive


8404 Highway #7, SHERBROOKE, NS



Atlantic salmon angling exhibits

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