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so if this guy has all of best interest in this why cant i fish?? hmmmm i didnt know he "owned" the lake. hmmmm fishign tourny next year??
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
A toury in boats
What I find to be a little odd is they were in negotiations with the DFA and the DFA did not seek as far as I am aware any input from other users of the lake,(the fishing population of the area).

And there is me thinking the department of fisheries and aquaculture might have fishing as more of a priority than home owners around a lake.
 

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I sent an email to a number of individuals this morning, including folks at the DFA, as well as the local MP (Robert Chisolm) and I sent it to the Oathill Lake Conservation Society as well. Prior to sending this email I read the Weekly news article, as well as an article done last year by The Coast ("Fishing Ban Suggested for Dartmouth's Oathill Lake" The Coast, March 25, 2010). I also had a look at the [font="""]Oathill Lake Conservation Society webpage (oathilllake.ca). After reading all of these articles it became very apparent to me that all of the blame for anything occuring on the lake is being directed at the fish, and the people fishing for them. I can't help but feel that the DFA is responding to those that are yelling the loudest, in this case a group of about 80 individuals (including 12 biologists apparently). The concerns raised by the Oathill group are valid, and yes, fishing accounts for some of the issues they are concerned about. However, not one of the issues raised aside from the concern about ice fishing holes can be attributed to a winter fishery on the lake when the summer fishery still exists. This is in addition to the non-fishing related issues such as stormwater run-off and the e.coli and coliform issues the lake has. Regardless of my opinion on what this group is trying to do, I think we all need to take a moment out of our time to make our presence known. They have 80 people as members who are trying to take this lake away from the public. Lets remind DFO that public use of the lake beneficial for more than just a small neighbourhood of people that have learned to effectively complain as a group. Regardless of whether you have used this lake for ice fishing or summer fishing (stocking here was reduced from upwards of 3000 fish to just 500, is that acceptable?), the actions of homeowners to protect access to what they seem to consider their private playground can reflect on any lake in this province that has somebody living on or near it. In addition to making the decision makers aware that we exist, I think some efforts this summer to make our presence known would also be a good thing, but not just making our presence known, we should make the folks in the neighbourhood aware that the majority of people fishing at the lake are doing their part to take care of it. We are bigger than they are, lets take advantage of that, and let's protect a small piece of the fishing opportunity we have available to us before we lose it completely. [/font]
 

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I sent an email to a number of individuals this morning, including folks at the DFA, as well as the local MP (Robert Chisolm) and I sent it to the Oathill Lake Conservation Society as well.
Good on you for taking this initiative!

The irony in taking the winter fishing pressure off of Oathill (as if there is such a thing as pressure on a put-and-take fishery), is that it increases the winter fishing pressure on the handful of other lakes in the area that are open. By extension, the only way to reduce pressure is to open more lakes.

Paul

P.S.: My Angler's Handbook still says that Oathill is open for white and yellow perch, so we should definitely plan a month-long perch marathon for February. Of course I've never caught a perch through the ice, so we should plan on drilling LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of holes to track them down. Or how about fly-fishing through the ice? Holes won't work for it, but if you cut 60-ft. long trenches with chainsaws, it could be awesome. Be sure to mark the hole afterwards.

*EDIT* - The late December press release shows that Oathill is now also closed for winter perch fishing.
 

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Paul, the increased pressure on the other lakes is one of the points I made in my letter. We don't have a lot of opportunities left open for us, and the ones that do exist (for trout at least) don't last long with the existing fishing pressure they recieve. I have no problem with DFA shutting down the put-and-take fisheries if there's reasons for doing it, I just don't see any valid reasons in this case. And regardless of any reasons that exist, ice fishing as a sport (hobby, whatever you want to call it!) is growing, and DFA should be responding to that growth by reviewing the current policies, and expanding our opportunities where reasonable opportunities exist.

That, and I just hate the idea of a group of homeowners in the area of a public lake thinking they can force their agenda on government to get their own way. I might not be able to do anything about it, but I have plenty of time to kill trying.
 

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So the question that begs to be answered for me is...Is there an official publicly viewable document or order from the government that clearly states and supersedes the Handbook, that no fishing is allowed on the lake?

Someone want to help me build a mount for my chainsaw on the front of my kayak?
 

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this sets a bad precident....soon there will no access to lakes unless you own said property and this is not right. For the record I do own land on a stocked lake and would never feel that it is my private lake, if the fish are stocked they should be for everyones enjoyment. You watch this group will eventually have the whole stocking program on that lake done away with winter and summer

good luck with your letter, good on ya for taking the initiative

gf
 

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I think we should have a summer tourny and maybe the winter one as well if we are allowed to fish perch. the only fish i have seen in that lake is stocked trout and bass. Thats about it. As for this "Terry" i believe he thinks he owns the lake and what not. maybe we should orginize a clean up the weekend before they do theirs and see what happens with that. Maybe terry would be nice enough to allow us to leave the bags on his lawn for pick up. anyways else have any ideas?
 

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I think we should have a summer tourny and maybe the winter one as well if we are allowed to fish perch. the only fish i have seen in that lake is stocked trout and bass. Thats about it. As for this "Terry" i believe he thinks he owns the lake and what not. maybe we should orginize a clean up the weekend before they do theirs and see what happens with that. Maybe terry would be nice enough to allow us to leave the bags on his lawn for pick up. anyways else have any ideas?
It's also closed for perch fishing, but I'd like to introduce a new sport called "ice golf" and hold the first tournament at Oathill. We'd limit it to 32 people, each of whom would drill 18 holes all over the lake and mark them for scoring purposes (and safety, of course). We'd then have 576 holes in the ice, which should provide lots of oxygen for the health of the aquatic critters that we (and the local residents, of course) are so concerned about. Then, each player would play golf (with plastic floating golf balls) on his own course, with a two-stroke penalty if the ball drops into someone else's hole.

Paul
 

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i am so for this afor sure...i think its a great idea. there should be enough room out there for that many people/holes. and i think we should invite the residence to play as well. seeing as it is there lake and all it would be only fair. would be beaver act like the gopher thats in caddyshack?
 

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It's also closed for perch fishing, but I'd like to introduce a new sport called "ice golf" and hold the first tournament at Oathill. We'd limit it to 32 people, each of whom would drill 18 holes all over the lake and mark them for scoring purposes (and safety, of course). We'd then have 576 holes in the ice, which should provide lots of oxygen for the health of the aquatic critters that we (and the local residents, of course) are so concerned about. Then, each player would play golf (with plastic floating golf balls) on his own course, with a two-stroke penalty if the ball drops into someone else's hole.

Paul
I'd be in for that but man that is going to be hard on my clubs lol Since I started fishing agn the last few yrs they mostly collect dust anyway
 

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I've encountered the swimming idiot before and one time he did have his dog, started throwing sticks right at my hook for the pup to fetch and all I could say to him was "If that dog gets hooked it's gonna hurt him and it won't be my fault." This guy got mouthy.

I've seen people from around that lake dump their lawn clippings in the lake, wonder if they are aware of how much pollutants they were dumping in "their lake"?

I'd love to go out there this winter and just drill a heap of holes everywhere, not fish, just make a nice Pacman maze, but I'm sure that would end badly
lol Still.... I can say I'm helping the wild life under the water breathe and the skaters and home owners should be ashamed that they aren't helping lol

I hate whiners
 

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I'm rather concerned for the safety of the golfers. Perhaps it would be a good idea to spread gravel around the the entirety of the ice surface to make for better traction...
 

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On the 15[sup]th[/sup] of December I sent an email to a number of individuals with regard to the closing of the winter fishery on Oathill Lake. From my reading prior to sending this email, it appeared as though the closing of the fishery was being done under the false notion that trout were the sole cause of declining frog populations, and that the people fishing for them were having a drastic effect on shoreline vegetation, as well as being the major culprit for litter in the area. The Oathill Lake Conservation Society pushing for the close of the fishery seemed to ignore a number of very important factors in the decline of the quality of Oathill Lake, including but not limited to sewage runoff, fecal coliform problems, and pesticide/fertilizer run-off from their very own lawns. The use of the lake in the winter was also identified as a major concern, as the holes being drilled for fishing were apparently affecting the historical use of the lake for skating, skiing and walking.

While I admit that there are far too many fishermen leaving their garbage behind, I have a hard time connecting the fish or the people fishing on the lake as the source of any of the water quality problems on the lake, or the effect that the water issues might have on the frog populations. Shoreline degradation, most notably bare spots at numerous areas on the shoreline where fishermen park their lawnchairs and rod holders for a few hours of fishing, should not be looked at as an issue affecting the lake. These areas should be looked at as a sign that the stocking program is serving it's purpose on Oathill, it is getting people outside to enjoy the outdoors on a very accessible local lake. The existence of holes in the ice in the winter again is evidence that the stocking of the lake is a good thing, and although it may affect the ability to skate in a very small area around that hole, I do not understand why skating is considered more important to the lake than fishing, both are winter activities that everyone should be able to and can take advantage of in the same areas on the same lakes.

To date I have received one response to my email, coming from the Minister of the DFA,Sterling Belliveau. In his response, Mr. Belliveau indicates that the decision to stop stocking rainbow trout in the lake for the winter fishery was a "compromise". The Oathill Residents had requested that the DFA not stock any fish at all due to concerns for the health of the lake, and the DFA decided to eliminate the winter fishery only as a compromise between the Oathill residents, and I assume the fishermen who would like to retain the fishery. I also believe that the DFA is doing what they can to support their mandate "to protect, conserve, and enhance the quality and diversity of the fishery resources of this province and to provide continued and varied angling opportunity", but in this case it was easier to provide something to the residents because they were causing the most problems and making the most noise.

Based on the articles I've read, and the info on the Oathill Lake Conservation Society website, I have gathered the following:

Oathill Lake has the following problems:
Stormdrain runoff
Fertilizer runoff
Fecal coliform
Litter
Shoreline degradation (areas where foot traffic damages the bushes and trees along the waters edge)
Reduced amphibian populations
On-ice hazards affecting skiers and skaters (Ice fishing holes)

With all of the above outlined problems, the only solution the Oathill residents have presented to "fix" their lake is to eliminate the stocking program on the lake. This solution assumes that the fish are eating all of the frogs, and that fishermen are the sole source of litter. I accept that fishermen cause the majority of the shoreline degradation and all of the ice fishing holes, but here's my response to that: If the shoreline is being damaged to the extent of actually affecting the lake (as opposed to just an aesthetic issue) then deal with the degraded areas by making them more accessible to fishermen and less detrimental to the lake (i.e. retaining walls or gravel paths etc.) so that they are no longer just patches of dirt. For the ice fishing holes, accept that they aren't fun to skate over, but I have never seen an ice fishermen set up in the middle of an area cleared for a hockey game, and would suspect that the small amount of ice fishing activity occurring on the lake has never affected a skier or a skater. Regardless, if the presence of holes in the ice is the only valid reason to eliminate the winter fishery, then I ask, what makes skating more important than fishing if it's possible for both to occur on the same lake anyway?

My own personal opinion on this entire situation: The owners of the property around the lake like having it to themselves. Fishing is the only activity that brings people from around the HRM to "their" lake, and they don't like it. And unfortunately, they have succeeded in protecting "their" lake, at least for the winter months.

There's been plenty of talk on these forums with respect to a means of getting back at the residents. I personally don't believe this is the approach that we as fishermen want to take as the first step, as it will not help our cause to highlight the damage we can do if we try really hard to do it. Prior to the release of the latest regulations covering the winter fishery, I had begun the process of organizing a perch derby on Oathill Lake this winter. I expected no perch to be caught, but I wanted to gather a number of fishermen on the lake to show that we can use the lake for our purposes, clean up after ourselves, and leave behind only some holes in the ice that would no way affect the ability of the neighborhood kids (and their parents) and to gather for hockey games. The new regs have shut the entire winter fishery down, so that is no longer an option. I would suggest some additional ideas that could be considered:

  • A simple protest on behalf of the fishermen. We show up on the lake, we set up the same way as we would if we were actually fishing but with absolutely no hooks in sight (we'd have to determine if this was legal). We invite the media, the DFA, councilors, MLAs and the local residents. We make our point known in a very clear and polite manner, and essentially become another one of the voices to compete with the Residents as being the loudest ones that should hopefully get the grease. This approach requires a very good turnout, and requires a number of people (and likely a number of local anglers groups/organizations) to back the effort and help get word out as to what we're trying to prevent/accomplish on the lake. The ideal scenario would be to show that our group is protecting the rights of all citizens to have access to all waterways, this is how we would gather support from outside the direct vicinity of the lake.
  • A spring fishing derby. Same deal, a large group of fishermen showing up on the lake to make our presence known. Invite media, DFA, and the residents. Organize it with conservation and respect for the area in mind, i.e. include a garbage cleanup as part of the event. Do it in a way that again, we show we can co-exist with the local residents without affecting the lake. Or more importantly, make it known that we're standing up for our access to this lake before this approach is taken on all of the other lakes in the province.
  • A simple clean-up of the area in the spring. Gather a dozen fishermen with some garbage bags, do a clean-up, get the media involved, take lots of pictures to post on the internet etc. If we make ourselves look like the good guys we will get more assistance from everybody.
  • Letters: Everybody should be writing to anyone they can think of to let them know they aren't happy with the decision that were made, and are willing to voice their opinion about it.

These are just suggestions, but I hope those of us that are concerned about what has happened on Oathill ( and we all should be) can come together with some type of plan beyond just complaining on the message boards to make our presence known. If that happens to be an ice golf tournament, I'm on board.
 
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