Vote Parry Sound and area as the Ultimate Fishing Towns, North Star, April 30.
Do we have to have any fish?
First my parents and then my family operated Sand Bay Resort in Carling Township for 57 years. Fishing, while an asset anytime, was essential for business in May and June, and to a lesser extent, September and October. I have decades of experience fishing these waters and am educated as a fishery biologist.
During the time my family was running the resort, I fished a lot, and was able to provide my guests with very up-to-date information. Even so, I would describe the fishery as "difficult". There usually were brief periods each spring when it would satisfy guests. However, a tourist who is booking time off work, and driving 200 to 300 miles cannot forecast the perfect weather that would produce good fishing. I wish that I could have a dollar for every time I told a guest, "You should have been here last week."
One of our guests summed it up perfectly. He and his buddy operated a fishing charter business on Lakes Ontario and Erie.
They had been here each spring for several years, and knew the water and fishery well. As they were leaving one year he said "This is the most beautiful place in the world to fish, unfortunately, there are no fish". We never saw them again.
Further testimony to this problem has been the demise of most of the small, and even a few large, resorts that once dotted the coast of Georgian Bay in this area. The short summer season of July and August, when families would book cottages, was not enough to sustain them.
During the last years that we operated the resort, we had stopped all advertising in the U.S. because our fishery just did not meet their expectations. U.S. anglers seemed to be under the impression that any place in Canada guaranteed great fishing.
For too many of them their disappointment when here was more that I could stand.
The irony is that this should be the most sought after sport fishery in the world. We have a wide range of habitat and a diversity of species here that is unmatched anywhere else. We do have a beautiful setting, with calm, sheltered waters.
We have fourlane access to major sport-fishing markets of eastern North America. We have enormous potential. "Unfortunately, there are no fish."
The problem is not with the fishery managers, it is with the politicians who have other priorities.