By Rudey Downey
Special to the Star
Mike Rumboldt says the river is his happy place.
Rumboldt has been fishing at Hughes Brook just outside Corner Brook for the past 10-12 years. Unfortunately, his place of bliss has been tainted as he has seen poaching there throughout that time. Anglers are drawn to the brook mainly for trout fishing, but the salmon are an added bonus — even for those without proper licenses.
“It’s disheartening when you see runs of fish coming through there on a Thursday or a Friday, and they’re no longer there on a Saturday evening and you look around and you see the tracks and you see the net marks,” said Rumboldt.
Rumboldt is a member of SPAWN (the Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland). SPAWN held its annual general meeting Tuesday evening at the Glynmill Inn. At the meeting, Rumboldt said poaching is something that is a learned behaviour from older generations.
He says he reported cases of poaching to a fisheries officer at the Rocky Harbour detachment and there was progress being made on dealing with the issue. Rumboldt says he was told the report was turned over to the Corner Brook detachment and hasn’t heard much since. Rumboldt says there should be more in-land enforcement officers hired in the province to help curb poaching.
He’d also like to see heavier punishment for people that are caught poaching.
“I don’t know that anybody has ever gone to jail for it,” said Rumboldt. “And the way I look at it, it’s a theft.”
James Maloney is the director of fish and wildlife enforcement in Corner Brook. He says the provincial Department of Justice has conducted patrols to the area of Hughes Brook, as well as surveillance.
Maloney says that with the start of salmon and trouting seasons, Hughes Brook is high on the list of priorities for patrols.
“It’s always challenging to try and be there when this activity is ongoing,” said Maloney. “There’s so many rivers that we try and cover off on, sometimes we’re able to apprehend individuals and other times, they do the work so quickly and (are) out of there.”
The SPAWN meeting included a fly-tying contest where members could demonstrate how to tie a casting fly.
Keith Cormier, the acting president for SPAWN, says that more social media will be a positive for the organization and give it good exposure.
Director’s joining the board who were nominated for their new positions include: Eugene Coleman, Mike Rumboldt, Fred Vincent, Arthur Skinner, Rob Otto and Matt Connolly.