Page 28 - Poaching for Salmon on the Margaree
ISSUE : Issue 28
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/6/1
(I would think it'd take a lot of courage to go up to your neighbour in the night.) Yes, but they were good those days. If you were caught out in the river with a light, and the warden hollered to you to put out your light and get out of the river--fel? low usually did. Was only a chance time there was any trouble. He gave you a chance. His job wasn't to catch people; it was to protect the river. An odd time, if the warden cornered a man, followed up-- well then there'd be a rock-throwing ses? sion. And sometimes they had their fights. One stood up against the other and some? times it got into a scrap. The warden would corner them sometimes and they'd give the warden a hard time. And the war? den was always alone, you know. And proba? bly there'd be four or five fellows in the fishing gang. But they weren't that strict those days. They wouldn't come near your home. They might if you had a boat or a net or something. They might search your property. Not usually. And there was a lot of fun into it too. I've seen us go out and light up the flam? beau at 11 o'clock and, look, you'd think you were only there for 20 minutes when you'd look into the east and see'the first crack of dawn coming--you had to pull out of the river. That time between when you'd light up and pull out--you didn't know where that time went. And it's a funny thing, too, where the poacher is blamed for the lack of salmon in the river--and all the old fellows that I ever talked to who had returned and were through with fishing, said there was never any slack in the fish, in that period that they were spearing or netting salmon. There were never any salmon wasted. Every salmon that was taken was made use of. And if you had too much, you always sent it a- round to your neighbour who didn't have any or wasn't out • Or didn't like to go poaching. And I still believe that any? thing you take that way, for your family or yourself and you don't waste it, there's no harm whatsoever in it--it's a natural gift. Now I've seen this myself, in one of the hotels in Margaree--there'd be maybe 10 or 15 Americans here fishing during the summer--and in the fall run the rooms would be pretty near all full and the hotel would always have a fairly good- sized ice house--and after the season was closed and the Americans all went back, I've seen beautiful salmon behind the barn on the dung pile, that nobody had wanted. Now, that's what I call waste. They didn't want to take them with them. They had plen? ty. These were just left in the ice house. Now that's what I call harming a river or doing harm. But anything you take for food, I don't think it hurts. I forget what date the hatchery was built-- but from that time on the fish started to coast down to what it is today. Before that, it was kept at a level and there were salmon in every pool--in the fall of the year--the pools were full. There's a pool down here, in The Interval--it's not a pool today, the river had changed, but I know the place--an old fellow and my uncle were talking one day, and I was only about fourteen. We were making hay. He said, "Do you remember when the river used to run in right over the bank there, that beautiful pool?" My uncle said, "I remember that." He said, "Do you remember the fall the aw? ful run of salmon that was in that pool?"-- and old Steven Shaw said, "I remember." He said, "I counted 65 salmon just down at the lower end of the pool--the salmon I could see." And what was up in the dark wa? ter you couldn't see, so you couldn't count them. And my uncle, I know he didn't stretch the truth, he said, "Yes, I don't doubt it a bit. I saw the same thing. There must have been 100 salmon in that pool." It was an extremely big pool. And that was back a long time ago, before the hatchery came. Duncan MacKenzie felt from the time the hatchery came, the decline was on. Well, where they made their first mistake-- this is just my idea and a lot around the country--they started to fence the river. A counting fence. There was a counting fence a year or two after the hatchery was built--in just below the hatchery, just a few hundred feet below. And that was blamed by a lot of old men at the time for starting the down. They handled the fish, counted them and put them back, let them go upriver. I never met a fellow yet a- 539-5111 Visit Our Gallery of Local and Nova Scotia Artists 539-5111 Gardner's Gallery & Frame Shop Ltd. Quality Custom Framing - 222 Charlotte St., Sydney Speedy Propane FILLING STATIONS Speedy Propane Bulk Plant Kings Road, Sydney J.E.Benoit, Arichat Inlet Campground, Baddeck H. Cormier Service Station, Petit Etang Eraser's Campground, Baddeck Bob Wilson's Fina, Reserve Dave's R V Centre, Bras d'Or mmoEft HOifiE located 1/2 mile off the Cabot Trail at Neil's Harbour 336-2288 Enjoy your favorite 'rSBfBifflli?vSffnnnIH?r' (28)
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