Healthy fishery in South Nation River region

It may be narrow, shallow and turbid over most of its length, but the South Nation River is a haven for anglers with a wide vari- ety of finned species populating its waters. The SouthNation Conservation Authority (SNC) conducts annual fish habitat studies of the 120-kilometre stretch of the river as it winds through the watershed. The end-of- summer assessment reconfirms the South Nation River as a “vibrant fishery” and a sports angler’s paradise. The South Nation River stretches from its headwaters, north of Brockville, to its mouth in the Ottawa River near Plantagenet. Every year SNC technicians do test netting in one of the six reaches of the river: Plantagenet, Lemieux, St-Albert, Berwick, Hyndman, or Football season snaps into play The prospect for a win-lose-or-draw season in football for the Glengarry Gaels will be in better focus after mid-September. The combined Glengarry District Secondary/ VankleekHill Collegiate Institute teamhas its first official game of the new season at home in Alexandria against Cornwall’s La Citadelle. Wayne Lee returns this year as VCI’s as- sistant coach and offensive play coordinator for the Alexandria-based Gaels.The team is joint sports partnership between Glengarry District Secondary (GDS) and VCI with both schools fielding players. VCI did have its own football team, the Rebels, for several years, but both schools have since seen drops in their overall student enrollment numbers and that has hit both their extracurricular sports programs. To maintain a presence in the SDG Regional High School Football League, GDS and VCI have chosen the “twin- ning option” to field a combined teamunder the Gaels banner. It has worked out fine for the two schools, Lee noted, with each contributing to the overall strength of the team. “Our strengths are pretty much around the board,” Lee said, adding both offence and defence have proven strong in the field, with last year’s Gaels squad ending up in the regional finals against Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational (CCVS). “I would also say that our own (VCI) strengths are the receiv- ers and the linebackers.” The Gaels almost had the victory in last year’s finals with CCVS snatching the win with just a six-point lead. “One touchdown would have made the difference,” Lee added. “A big part of our strength last season were the nine players who graduated in June this year.” Part of the coaching staff’s focus for the Gaels will be on rebuilding the teamafter the loss of the nine veterans. After the Sept. 15 opening game against La Citadelle, the first home game on the season schedule which will take place at VCI will be Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. GREGG CHAMBERLAIN

Spencerville. Sampling is done using hoop nets. After a 24-hour period, the nets are retrieved and the number, weight, measure- ment and age of species caught are recorded. This summer the St. Albert reach was sampled, with a total of 228 fish caught, logged and released. Results mirrored samples taken in 2011. Of the total, 81 were brown bullhead, with yellow perch, northern pike, and walleye also filling the nets, along with several other species. The largest fish caught was a 555mm-long greater redhorse that weighed in at 1.92 kg; the smallest fish was a 25-gram pumpkinseed. While the South Nation River isn’t widely recognized as a fishing haunt, licensed an- glers in the know frequent the St. Albert reach for smallmouth bass and crappie, which are abundant and well fed. Each reach provides different fishing opportunities.

South Nation Conservation Authority wildlife and water resources staff have enjoyed a good summer of fishing as part of ongoing studies on the health of the local fisheries. —submitted photo

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