SCALES POND, P.E.I. - Near freezing temperatures on Sunday morning could not cool off anglers from flocking to the banks of Scales Pond with rods, bait and tackle in hand ready to reel in their catch and celebrate the opening day of the season for the freshwater fish species.
Darcy Sauve, from Summerside, was one of the many anglers who perched himself on a calm and peaceful sandbank shortly after sunrise to catch the wary fish at their most active time of day.
“I’ve been here since 6 a.m. and come here every year,” said Sauve, while dressed in dark earth tones that blended with the surroundings as he waited with anticipation for a big trout to rise from the depths before engulfing it in a splashy rise.
He continued, “I’ve caught four trout using worms I picked from the ground and mackerel dough as bait, as well as a lot of patience.”
Atlantic salmon, rainbow and speckled trout can be found at the largest artificial pond on the province, located in South Freetown.
“I eat my freshly caught trout and cook it on the barbecue or in the oven. It’s not too bony and fairly meaty, especially the bigger fish,” noted Sauve, who got hooked on the excitement of fishing at an early age through his father.
Catch and release fly fishermen Dave Banks and Dana Chappell were angling nearby with barbless fly hooks.
“I’ve been fishing for about 20 years, and it started because a lot of my buddies were getting into it,” said Banks, who admitted it’s a way to enjoy the great outdoors instead of sitting idle inside.
“We use an artificial fly or nymph attached to a specialized weighted line to catch the fish before their release to allow others to have a chance,” he explained. “And we fish barbless fly hooks, so we bend the barbs to prevent any damage being done on the fish when we take them out.”
Banks came early in the crisp, cold morning to scout for the best spot to cast.
“Dusk and dawn are the best times to fish,” he said.
“It’s a good pastime and it’s nice to catch trout on your own flies. It’s just nice out on the water and now that the season is open we will be out every chance we can get.”
According to the Department of Communities, land and Environment, Little Miminegash River, Hyde Creek (Cornwall) and Campbellton Creek are closed to all angling in 2018 to allow fish stocks to recover following recent fish kills.
Angling licenses are required by everyone 16 years of age or older.