|Saint Mary's River Association Education and Interpretative Centre
St. Mary's River Association Education and Interpretive Centre
Come view our excellent collection of historical fishing tackle, photos and memorabilia. See where the famous Babe Ruth fished. Displays on other native fish species and gift shop on site
Located beside a Provincial Picnic Park, nature trails and the famous St. Mary’s River
The St. Mary’s River Association has been committed to promoting the St. Mary’s River as a healthy ecosystem for Atlantic salmon, and other native animals and plant species. The Education and Interpretive Centre showcases the river system. It provides an opportunity to learn about river enhancement programs and river stabilization projects. The centre also displays collections of photos, fishing tackle and memorabilia of famous anglers such as Babe Ruth. Enjoy their gift shop with lots of local merchandise, it’s tax free!
Address: 8404 Highway 7
Season: June 1 to October 15
Hours: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Admission: By donation
VISION OF THE SMRA
The St. Mary's River Association is a charitable, non-profit organization providing leadership and engaging partners to enhance, protect, and promote the St. Mary's River as a healthy ecosystem for Atlantic salmon and other native animals and plant species, as well as providing a rich community resource.
Our Vision is health for the river, the Atlantic salmon and our community.
To meet this Vision, since 1979 the Association has collaborated with municipal, provincial and federal governments, industry, academia, local landowners, and special interest groups in research, monitoring, restoration and developing management plans for the watershed. Education has been a key component of moving toward our Vision with the Interpretive Centre and education programs informing local residents and the visiting public of environmental issues.
HISTORY OF THE ASSOCIATION
In the late 1970's a few individuals who were interested in the betterment of the St. Mary's River started an informal committee. Membership quickly grew from the few individuals to a few hundred, and the committee was formally incorporated under the Societies Act on November 9, 1979, as the St. Mary's River Association (SMRA).
From the beginning, the Association wanted to be more than just an angling group and wished to encompass objectives that would be dedicated to the preservation and wise use of the St. Mary's River as the community's most important resource.
To meet these objectives, over the last three decades, the Association has conducted its own research, monitoring and management initiatives, as well as collaborating with government and non-governmental agencies.
Through the 1980's, the SMRA evaluated salmon enhancement methods and participated in the St. Mary's River Forestry/Wildlife Project, assisted in a St. Mary's River Management Plan, and funded a dependency survey of the local communities on the St. Mary's River. Between 1990 and 2000 the Association developed a community- based management plan for the salmon fishery, began habitat enhancement within the basin, and assisted with fish and environment monitoring in the watershed. Since 2000 we have been active with habitat restoration, land protection and stewardship and continued monitoring and participating in management of the fisheries of the river.
The SMRA felt that in order to educate the public about the history and problems faced by the river, a facility to house artifacts and educational information should be built. The St. Mary's River Association Education and Interpretive Centre was constructed in 2001 to serve this need.
The SMRA has had a long and productive involvement in the St. Mary's River and surrounding community. Today, the SMRA has a membership of 255 individuals drawing from local residents as well as members outside of Northern Nova Scotia and Canada.
EDUCATION & INTERPRETIVE CENTRE
Wild Atlantic salmon and pristine waters have brought anglers and nature lovers to the banks of the St. Mary's River for decades.
The SMRA felt that in order to educate the public about the history and problems faced by the river, a facility to house artifacts and educational information should be built. The St. Mary's River Association Education and Interpretive Centre was constructed in 2001 to serve this need. This was made possible through the hard work of our volunteers, and the generosity of our supporters.
The centre has fascinating displays of exhibits related to salmon angling on the St. Mary's River. We have an excellent collection of photos, fishing tackle and memorabilia of famous anglers such as Lee Wulff and the Legendary Babe Ruth as well as information on local fishing families such as MacIntosh, Silver and Barnes. Learn about the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon, as well as what they eat and what eats them. You'll also see exhibits on local wildlife including the Nova Scotia wood turtle, birds, butterflies and bats. Learn about the river system, it's history, its problems and the progress made by Association volunteers on river enhancement and river stabilization projects.
Come and explore our Centre and experience what it was like when the mighty Atlantic salmon was plentiful.
Where are we?
· Located on the Marine Drive (#7 Highway) Eastern Shore Nova Scotia, Canada.
· 1/2 km from Historic Sherbrooke Village in beautiful Guysborough County
· 40 minutes from Antigonish on Highway #7
· 2.5 hours from Halifax, Nova Scotia
We have lots of free parking, are close to walking trails and the provincial picnic park.
did you know?
· the babe fished here
hall of fame baseball player babe ruth fished on the st. mary's river!
ST. MARY'S RIVER
The St. Mary's River, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia (view map) has long been recognized as one of the most attractive and greatest salmon producing rivers in Nova Scotia. Frederick Veith in 1868 commented:
"Perhaps in the whole of the Lower Provinces there does not exist so charming river as this is. It is of great extent and its main stream is supplied by waters from two magnificent flows known as its East and West branches. The scenery along its margins is of great grandeur, and the graceful manner in which it winds through a vast extent of agricultural and natural meadowland, fully entitle it to be called 'The beautiful St. Mary's'".
That this aesthetic remains today is evident by the St. Mary's River being one of the candidate rivers in Nova Scotia for Canadian Heritage River status in 1988 and being recognized as having outstanding Natural Heritage, Human Heritage, and Recreational Values.
The river drains 1,350 sq. km of land and is comprised of three Main branches, the East, West and North branches, which combine to form the Main Branch extending to the estuary.
There are 16 settlements in the St. Mary's River watershed with an estimated total population size within the St. Mary's Municipal district of 2,587 people.
St. Mary's River is one of the last salmon rivers on the Atlantic shores of Nova Scotia with substantial runs of 3SW salmon. The stock has been declining in numbers for decades, along with other stocks in the Atlantic Provinces. The commercial fishery is now closed, and the recreational fishery for salmon is mainly closed, opening some years, for catch and release only. Angling for Atlantic salmon is regulated by the Federal Government, and requires a special license.
The Atlantic salmon is the dominant species pursued by anglers in the St. Mary's River. Atlantic salmon recreational angling has a long history in Nova Scotia and within the St. Mary's River. Early British soldiers stationed in Halifax would fish surrounding waters and travel farther afield in pursuit of salmon. Through the 19th and 20th Centuries, increasing ease of access and the increasing size of a wealthy segment of society with leisure time and disposable income, increased the number of anglers travelling to the St. Mary's River to fish. A guiding industry developed to assist these visiting anglers. Through the 20th Century the St. Mary's River saw visits by famous fishermen and development of a specialized boat for fishing the river. The fame of the St. Mary's River spread around the world making it a destination river for Atlantic salmon fishermen.
Historically very large salmon were commonly taken from the river, and the St. Mary's River is one of the last salmon rivers on the Atlantic shores of Nova Scotia with substantial runs of 3 Sea-Winter salmon. In addition, the St. Mary's was once noted for its large run of spring and early summer returning salmon. Today, as elsewhere in the range of the Atlantic salmon, abundance is low and fishing is primarily catch-and-release. However, in years of good water conditions salmon angling is very good. Other factors that contribute to the attraction of this river by salmon anglers include access to most of it for fishing and scenic beauty.
The number of salmon caught each year between 1965 and the present in the St. Mary's River may be seen here.
In addition to salmon fishing, other species pursued in the St. Mary's River include brook trout, rainbow smelt, gaspereau (alewife) yellow perch, and American eel.
SALMON FISHING REGULATIONS
For salmon fishing regulations, please visit:
GENERAL FISHING REGULATIONS
For general fishing regulations, please visit:
Due to declining salmon stocks throughout the Maritimes, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has instituted management restrictions over time. The following is a general timeline of the major restrictions.
1984 - All commercial salmon fisheries in the Maritimes and Quebec closed.
1984 - Mandatory catch-and-release of all large salmon in the Maritime provinces.
2000 - All commercial salmon fisheries in Atlantic Canada closed.
2002 - Greenland imposes moratorium on commercial fishing of Atlantic salmon.
2007 - Greenland extends salmon fishing moratorium until 2014.
The St. Mary's River Association collaborates with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculure for fisheries management within the watershed. Such collaboration includes assisting with salmon stock assessments and providing comment on discussion papers.
Does the St. Mary's River play a role in your life? Get involved! Join the St. Mary's River Association in our efforts to preserve and conserve the St. Mary's river watershed.
For your membership card and annual newsletter, you can contact us at (902) 522-2099 or mail us your membership fee to:
St. Mary's River Association
PO Box 179, Sherbrooke
Nova Scotia B0J 3C0
We also accept VISA, Mastercard and American Express.
The St. Mary's River Association is looking for interested individuals to form a naturalist group in our area. Interested persons should contact us at (902) 522-2099 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1979, The St. Mary's River Association has been involved with a large variety of agencies and groups on various projects. Here is a list of the principal projects we have been involved with over the past 28 years.
Salmon enhancement (1981-1982)
A streamside incubator and semi-natural rearing pond was used to enhance the survival of juvenile Atlantic salmon from the egg to parr stage. Approximately 50,000 eggs were incubated and juveniles reared and later release. As part of this program, the St. Mary's River Association collaborated with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to enforce fishery regulations and surveillance for poachers.
St. Mary's River Forestry/Wildlife Project (1984-1992)
This was a joint initiative of federal and provincial governments, Stora Forest Industries, Scott Maritimes Ltd., Canadian Institute of Forestry, and St. Mary's River Association. The objective of this project was to develop methods to manage forestry and wildlife together. Participating groups conducted joint studies and operational trials to develop practical and effective guidelines and procedures to be used in the planning and operations of forest management.
River Specific Atlantic Salmon Management Plan (1985-1994)
In 1985 the St. Mary's River Association proposed a river-specific Atlantic salmon management project as a pilot study for a river-specific approach to salmon management in Atlantic Canada. Such a management document was produced in 1988. The objective of this management plan was to "optimize Atlantic salmon from all segments of the St. Mary's River in order to provide all user groups with maximum benefits."
This program required research and monitoring to obtain the information to meet the objective, but the principle funding source was removed in 1994 and the project changed to become a community-based management plan renamed as the St. Mary's River Resource Management Model. This plan built on the objectives and information derived from the previous River Specific Atlantic Salmon Management Plan from 1988. The objective of the St. Mary's River Resource Management Model was "to develop a management plan for the St. Mary's River to achieve the maximum sustainable benefit from the fisheries resource, based upon information that is specific to the river, and upon a system of decision-making that is shared between members of the local community, user groups and government agencies".
Within this project the St. Mary's River Association collaborated with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, often carrying the costs, to conduct research and monitoring on Atlantic salmon of the river, in the context of river-specific management. The results of this 1985-1995 river management work was a management strategy, detailed fisheries management plan, and a blueprint for community-based management plan.
Dependency Survey (1988)
Hurley Fisheries Consulting was retained by St. Mary's River Association to conduct a survey of the uses by people of the St. Mary's River. The study was intended as an examination of the socio-economic relationships of residents and visitors to the river. The results provided baseline data for the development of a river-specific management plan for salmon stocks and so was part of the above River Specific Atlantic Salmon Management Plan.
Salmon enhancement (1989)
Members of the St. Mary's River Associated collected broodstock and participated in juvenile releases into the river of hatchery raised salmon.
Habitat restoration (1989-2008)
Riverbank stabilization of eroding banks has been conducted at various sites throughout the watershed for almost 20 years. This work has involved placement of large rock material using heavy machinery along stretches of eroding river-bank. Habitat restoration of smaller streams (particularly using digger logs) has been conducted since 1993 with increasing frequency in the last five years.
Barrier free access for handicapped angler to fish the St. Mary's River (1997)
Development of access to allow wheelchair-bound or other handicapped anglers the opportunity to fish for Atlantic salmon.
Liming project (1998)
Approximately 50 tonnes of limestone cobble were deposited at two location within the St. Mary's River in order to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of liming the river to increase the low pH of the stream water.
Abundance and ecology of wood turtles within the St. Mary's River watershed (2003-2007)
Participating with Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and St. Francis Xavier University, the St. Mary's River Association assisted in a five year study of the wood turtle, a provincial species-at-risk, within the watershed. This research was aimed at determining the population size of the turtles within the watershed and to determine basic ecology and behaviour of the local population.
Development of Watershed Project (2005-present)
Following up on management plans from 1988 and 1995, the Association has been working to update these plans and develop the infrastructure and funding to implement them.
Land acquisition (2007)
The St. Mary's River Association worked with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust to acquire land along the river channel for long-term protection and management.
In addition to these projects, the St. Mary's River Association has worked since their inception with federal and provincial fisheries agencies on management issues and required data collection for appropriate management. Management issues include determining annual fisheries regulations and required assessment research to determine conservation and allocation requirements. As part of the required data collection the Association has always been a principal player in the sampling of juvenile, smolt, and adult Atlantic salmon within the St. Mary's River.
It seems that no matter where you go, each angler has their own tried and true favourites. Here are some that have been put to the test on the St. Mary's River, and are presented by some of our local folk.
DOC SILVER'S SPECIAL
Origin: Ted MacIntosh
Reference: Dr. Gordon Silver
Dr. Gordon Silver was the local doctor in Sherbrooke for many years. Silver's Pool was named after his father, also a doctor, who built a cabin on it and spent many summers fishing the river.
"When Doctor Silver gave me this pattern he said he got it from the late Ted MacIntosh, a guide for may years on the St. Mary's. This fly was a real killer in the old days when they fished in April and May right above the tide in Sherbrooke."
- Dr. Gordon Silver
Hook: 7957BX 1/0 - 2/0
Tip: Silver flat
Tip: Orange D.M.F. floss
Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest
Butt: Black chenille
Ribbing: Silver oval
Body: Silver flat tinsel
Hackle: Black throat
Wing: Black Squirrel
Topping: Green D.M.F. floss - one strand
Cheeks: Jungle *bleep*
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Created on 2005-09-21 10:21:07 by admin
Updated on 2011-06-20 08:52:16 by admin
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