Fishing Southwestern Nova Scotia with Trevin McNicol

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Nova Scotia Brook Trout Caught by Trevin McNicol

Nova Scotia Brook Trout Caught by Trevin McNicol

I noticed Trevin McNicol catching beautiful brook trout in Nova Scotia. Turns out that Trevin is fishing the Southwestern part of the province. Trout fishing in this area is not the easiest at least compared to other areas of Nova Scotia. Trevin breaks down how he overcomes the challenge of trout fishing in this region. Additionally, he talks about his tricks to catching the area’s Chain Pickerel.

Why do you love fishing in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia is home so it is where I have done most of my fishing and made a lot of memories with family and friends. There are a lot of rivers, lakes and coastal shoreline that offers a variety of fishing.

Right now, you are doing some great trout fishing. What are your favorite Nova Scotia streams, rivers and lakes to fish for trout?

The speckled trout, or brook trout is the provincial fish. However in the Southwestern part of the Province the trout population is very weak and continues to decline. However there are still some areas holding trout but you need to know where to look.

Most of the fishing I do is part of the Tusket River. This is an extensive river system with several branches and tributaries. The lower parts of the system have are virtually void of trout, but the further you follow the main branches inland, the greater the chance of success.

The invasive species haven’t made it this far, or not in great numbers yet. It is more work to catch a trout in this end of the province than anywhere else. However because of this I’ve seen more remote areas and fished more hidden pools and rivers well off the beaten path that not many people see.

Nova Scotia's Tusket River

Nova Scotia’s Tusket River

What are your favorite methods to catching Nova Scotia trout?

The season opens April 1. My preferred way to catch trout at the beginning of the season is with a worm and spinner. Sometimes from a boat, trolling still waters and lakes, fishing pools in rivers and other times fishing streams narrow enough you could almost jump across. It can work in all scenarios.

The keys to success are knowing where to find fish. Trout could be near a boulder in calm water, on the edge of different water speeds in pools, in any hole or structure to provide cover in shallower water, or under overhanging growth/banks along the shore.

What do you recommend to anglers who may visit Nova Scotia looking to do some trout fishing

If someone was coming to Nova Scotia to fish for speckled trout, I would recommend the Northern part of the Province. Trout can certainly be caught throughout the province and there are numerous stocked lakes. But for the native species you will be sure to find some good fishing in the upper half of the province.

What about Smallmouth Bass in your area of Nova Scotia?

Smallmouth Bass are very popular Nova Scotia, especially Southwestern parts. They are considered an invasive species and have migrated through rivers into several lakes. They are well established and can coexist with Chain Pickerel, another invasive species. A large Smallmouth Bass would be in the 4 to 5lb range and around 20 inches in length.

Chain Pickerel are a prevalent Nova Scotia species. You finished in second place last year in a Pickerel tournament. What are your favorite methods for fishing for Pickerel?

Chain pickerel. I will need get off the subject a little bit here to give you a quick background. They are very popular in Southwestern Nova Scotia, and are an invasive species which will destroy trout populations once they get into a system. After they got into the Tusket River…by chance – or by someone’s choice, who knows…the population took off and continues to migrate further and further up the system.

Areas that I have trout fished that did not have pickerel, now do and they continue to move up each year. After they get established the trout population will decline until there are none left.

Unfortunately nothing can be done as the pickerel are too wide spread. However because they are so plentiful and can grow 26 inches plus and over 5 pounds, they are often fished for sport. There is excellent chain pickerel fishing in this part of the province. Pickerel are often found in shallower water with plenty of weed cover where they hide and wait to ambush prey. It wouldn’t be uncommon to find a 5 pound plus fish in under 4 feet of water.

They will strike at just about any type of lure, but popular lures are Blue Fox spinners, spoons, and soft baits of any shape, size or color. But light colors such as yellow, white, pink can be very hot. Topwater fishing is also an effective and fun way to fish them. Skipping a weedless rigged frog through some weeds and seeing the wake of a big fish coming to strike is priceless.

 

Nova Scotia Chain Pickerel

Nova Scotia Chain Pickerel

Are there public waters that you like chasing pickerel down on them?

There are plenty of accessible areas to fish Chain Pickerel. The Tusket River and the lakes that make it up have great chain pickerel fishing. As I mentioned above they are less established the further you go up the system, but in general you can almost catch Chain Pickerel on the Tusket, anywhere in Yarmouth County.

The Annis River in the county is another great system for fishing pickerel as well. They can be found throughout this entire system. The fishing is similar in either of these locations.

Lastly, what are 5 lessons you have learned from fishing Nova Scotia that applies to anglers everywhere?

1. Find bodies of water that have the fish you are after so at a minimum you know you are where the fish are.

2. Do some research to prepare yourself before you head out. Know the seasons and the peak times that are known for the best fishing. This will help increase your chance of success. A lot can be found online but some of the best information is found locally in shops or right on the water.

3. Do some research on the fish so you know what to look for once you are on the water, look for areas that would hold fish…for cover, feeding, nesting, etc…and cover these areas as best you can.

4. Don’t be afraid to try new areas. Where trout have become scarce in my area, some of the only good fishing left is far from accessible but with some work there can be a great reward. A day spent in the woods walking a river fishing, is a good day regardless!

5. Get out there! You can’t catch a fish if you aren’t on the water. There is never a guarantee with fishing or hunting, but if you put all the pieces together you will increase your chances of having success.

Thanks Trevin! Please follow Trevin on Twitter to keep up with his Nova Scotia fishing.

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