I asked my brother if I could borrow his landing net for my canoe trip to Quetico this summer. Most of my fishing is fly fishing in streams for trout and I have a small net that hangs from the back of my fishing vest. In Quetico though, we’re apt to catch some much larger fish. I wanted to bring a bigger landing net, but since I don’t do a lot of lake fishing, I really didn’t want to buy one. My brother tossed his net in his car, and the plan was for us to meet up someplace between his place up west of Alliston and my place in the city for a social distanced net hand-over. The date and time we had planned to meet didn’t work out, so he decided to simply leave the net in his car for when we finally did meet up.
Today he drove from his place over to the Boyne and Pine rivers to have a look at the streams and see if he could spot some of the big rainbow trout in the rivers. He had his camera with him and he was taking photos. It was beside one of the rivers that he met a conservation officer, who asked him if he had been fishing. The season was after all closed. My brother said no, he was taking photos of the river and showed the guy his camera. Well, the conservation officer saw the landing net in the car and became suspicious my brother was indeed a poacher. He asked to search the car. I wonder if conservation officers actually have the power to do a search? What would have been the outcome if my brother had a fishing rod in his trunk?
I haven’t actually seen a conservation officer on an Ontario stream since the early to mid 90s. I used to see them now and then on the upper Credit and regularly on the Grand. I think there were lots of provincial cut-backs once Mike Harris came to power in Ontario. It’s good to see there are some level of stewardship going on these days.