Letter: Nipigon River a great fishery, despite what writer says

"Ask my 10 year old son who lands pike, white fish, salmon, suckers, and yes, brook trout"

Ontario Out of Doors writer and CBC personality Gord Ellis holding a beauty brookie caught on the Nipigon River.

To the editor:

I am writing to clarify some misinformation contained in the article entitled “Finding Fontinalis”, in the October 7th issue of the Kelowna Capital News.

First let me say that I commend filmmaker Travis Lowe for bringing attention to the plight of the Brook Trout. MNRF biologist (retired) Rob Swainson and his team worked tirelessly for decades to bring the Nipigon River’s brook trout back from near extinction, to the thriving species that it is today. As such, the statement in your article “.. where the Nipigon River has gone from one of the best fishing rivers in the world to water that is no longer fishable..” is simply not true.

Ask the folks who stopped to fish here this summer, catching 10 pound brook trout off the docks at the Nipigon marina. Ask any local or touring angler, who routinely catches an abundance of good size (4-6 lbs) each season. Ask my 10 year old son who lands pike, white fish, salmon, suckers, and yes, brook trout, in the “unfishable” Nipigon River. Ask professional anglers Rebekka Redd, Gord Ellis and Babe Winkleman what they think of fishing on the Nipigon.

Anglers from Europe, the US, and across Canada travel to fish here.  Since the fall of the forest industry, and the loss of our plywood mill, which burned to the ground in 2007, our town has been working hard to attract tourists – particularly anglers and hunters – to grow our economy.

I have not seen Mr. Lowe’s film, so I do not know what he has to say about the Nipigon River in particular. But I do know that the statement in your article of this mighty river being “unfishable” is absolutely false. This statement that is made by you so casually has potential damaging effects to our small town and our growing tourism sector.

I invite you and your readers, as well as Mr. Lowe, to google “Fishing on the Nipigon River.” Just because Mr. Lowe did not catch any fish while he was here does not mean the river is “unfishable”. It’s a huge river. Perhaps he just needs a guide. My son would be happy to oblige.

Suzanne Kukko, Economic Development Officer

Township of Nipigon, ON

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