Snapper season on the horizon, so is return of missing canoe

WELL if that doesn't stir up the fishing, nothing will!

Wednesday presented a perfect opportunity to break out the tools and grease to strip and service a big pile of offshore reels.

Around noon, I looked out the window as it chucked down and thought to myself, "at least it's not being blown sideways". Hah!

Fortunately, the beaches were in a good condition to withstand the big swells and the tides are off their peak, so there shouldn't be a great deal of erosion.

Swells up to 5m and winds nudging 40 knots will move plenty of stuff around the inshore grounds, meaning that once the ocean has time to settle down, we could yet experience a snapper season in close.

After a rough spell it's common to catch reds very close to shore and the next snapper to come from the breakwalls at Ballina and Brunswick won't be the first. And Snapper Rock at Evans Head is aptly named at these times, too - just don't go there in any sort of swell.

The wildcard in this weather hand will be what sort of runoff water quality the Richmond River experiences and how soon it gets away.

It seems the heaviest falls were east of Lismore and Alstonville, so it will be extremely interesting to see what sort of water comes out of the Tuckean Swamp and from North Creek in coming weeks.

Together with Rocky Mouth at Woodburn, Tuckean is really the basket case of the Richmond, when in times gone by it was the Kakadu of the Northern Rivers.

But North Creek is also a problem these days.

A few decades ago, North Creek was the flood refuge for Ballina fish but these days it can often be dirtier than the main river.

After the mini-fresh a couple of weeks ago, it was North Creek that ran dark and dirty, not the Richmond.

North Creek now has only a minute fraction of its former rich seagrass meadows, with siltation from restricted flows and urban runoff raising turbidity levels and harming seagrass regrowth.

Once upon a time biologists used to call North Creek the rehab ward of the river, but now it's just another case for intensive care.

Sheltered waters

THIS weekend fish the rising tide in sheltered parts of the Richmond at Ballina. Many fish will have moved downstream, but won't go further seawards because of the rough conditions.

Missing canoe

A RED Pelican Navigator 4m canoe with pale brown flat seats 'disappeared' from its hiding place on the riverbank at Wyrallah during the July school holidays.

Unfortunately, the owner is in no financial position to be able to replace it anytime soon, but she and her family would love to see it suddenly 'reappear' once the river subsides.

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