ON THE SOUTHWEST COAST
Large game hunters from the United States appear in high numbers every fall looking for moose or bear, their pickup trucks always heavy with supplies.atv riders from across the country visit the Newfoundland T’railway Provincial Park, leaving Port aux Basques to drive 883 kilometres to St. John’s before turning back. Surfers, almost always from Quebec, come each summer to the frigid but stunning beaches to conquer waves birthed by the incessant winds.
If there is one sport that has gotten less attention from tourists, it’s probably the trout fishing.
“I love trouting. It’s one of my favourite past times as long as I can remember,”says Mark Lomond,who is chair of Sou’wes Newfoundland Delta Waterfowl.“we have some stunningly beautiful backdrops when we fish.”
It’s hard to argue differently.the southwest coast has more than its fair share of hidden ponds, babbling brooks and meandering rivers all backed by views of the Long Range Mountains or the North Atlantic.
Many of the best trout fishing ponds are closely guarded secrets. Some are common knowledge and some are simply overlooked, even by locals.
Lomond likes to fish right in town. Grand Bay West Beach in Channel-port aux Basques is a popular tourist spot, but it tends to attract mostly hikers or those looking for a quiet spot to picnic or relax before catching the Marine Atlantic ferry.
“It’s not a secret spot.the secret is how big the fish are there!”
Lomond sees hundreds of tourists drive by, unaware of just how good this spot is to catch a fish and cook it right on the beach while waiting for the ferry.
“The best part is, it’s a tidal zone, so there’s no season. It’s open to fish all year round.”
Fishing is not just a summer sport along the Southwest Coast. Almost all of the region’s winter carnivals hold an ice fishing competition, usually with nifty fishing gear as top prizes.
Another favourite place is right along the Transcanada Highway near the infamous Wreckhouse. Called Stick Pond by the locals, it takes a skilled fisher not to snag a line on one of the many dead trees protruding from the water’s surface. Because of the trees, this pond tends to be more popular with ice fishers.
Then there’s that all-important question about which bait is best. Lomond says there are plenty of options, though like most fishers he has a preference.
“Some of the best baits here include worms, pork fat, moose meat, rabbit tongue, mackerel and my favourite, squid.”
While Lomond would be delighted to see more tourists take advantage of the great trout fishing in the region, he does believe the sport needs better managing overall.
“There is very,very little enforcement,” says Lomond.“many tourists I saw trouting were not even aware they needed a nonresident license, so many nonresidents are not paying the fee.”
Revenues from fees could help better promote trout fishing in the region and make the area more attractive to tourists. In the meantime, trout fishers like Mark Lomond are happy to take advantage of the bounty along the southwest coast.
“Sometimes you just got to sit back and enjoy the amazing scenery we take for granted.”
The rugged, unscathed beauty of the province’s southwest coast has been attracting outdoor sports enthusiasts for decades.
JENNA FEAVER FISHING AT CODROY POND ■ MARK LOMOND