Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Steward Q & A (11/12/09 - 11/18/09)

During my time on the Salmon River I, Salmon River Steward Liz Wolff, have been asked many questions about my experiences. Now that I am on the brink of finishing my time as a steward I'd like to answer those questions and reflect on some of the best moments of the season.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a Salmon River Steward?

A: For me, the most rewarding moments are when I can provide people with information that they didn't previously know. Sure, it's great to have a conversation with someone who is knowledgeable about the river, but when I educate to make a difference, that is when I feel true stewardship occurring. Of course my other favorite part of the job is my "office," or the Salmon River itself. I love being outside rain or shine, and spending time in the resource area beats spending time in a real office any day.

Q: What was your best experience while working on the Salmon River?

A: I really enjoyed helping out and giving educational programs at the Salmon River Fish Hatchery during spawning season. I came in knowing next to nothing about pacific salmon and was quickly submerged in a wealth of information that I had to absorb quickly in order to present it to other people. I liked interacting with the various school groups that visited the Hatchery, they always had the greatest questions, especially the younger kids.

A frost coating at Sportsman North foreshadows the cooler weather to come. Photos by Salmon River Steward Liz Wolff.

Q: If you could change one thing about the Salmon River what would it be?

A: Though I am always explaining the carry-in/carry-out regulations to visitors, there is sometimes litter that still gets left behind. I hope that in the future everyone can practice good stewardship and encourage fellow anglers and visitors to pick up litter along the river or in parking areas. The vast quantities of balled up fishing line are especially dangerous for fish, turtles, and waterfowl. I would like to see the Salmon River preserved and litter-free.

The Salmon River Falls Unique Area, a must-see location in the Salmon River Corridor. Photos by Salmon River Steward Liz Wolff.

Q: Where would you spend all your time on the River, if you could?

A: To be honest, I would probably alternate between a few places. The Salmon River Falls Unique Area comes to mind first. It is amazing to have such a scenic jewel so close by. Next I would choose the Upper Fly Fishing Area. This short stretch of river is pristine and provides some great hiking opportunities. I've also met some really interesting people while monitoring the Upper Fly. My third and forth locations would be the Pineville Fishing Access and Schoeller/Paper Hole because I love taking photos of bridges (For the blog, obviously!).

Bridge at Pineville Fishing Access Location during peak foliage. Photo by Salmon River Steward Liz Wolff.

Q: What is the most interesting thing you learned about fish?

A: Learning about the process of imprinting was very cool. I never really understood how salmon returned back to the place they were born so that they could spawn. When fish are raised at the Salmon River Fish Hatchery they are eventually put into a smolting pond and they go through a physiological change during which they imprint on the water from the Salmon River, the Hatchery, and Beaver Dam Brook. During imprinting fish memorize the chemical attributes of a body of water. They then use their keen sense of smell to return to that location later in life.

An angler proudly holds up a steelhead caught in the Lower Fly Fishing Area. Photo by Salmon River Steward Liz Wolff.

I've immensely enjoyed my time as a Salmon River Steward and I hope I have the opportunity to work in the area again in the future. Thank you for reading the blog all these weeks, and for your continued support of the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Salmon River Stewards Program!

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