There are two things I like: the first is anything to do with fishing and the second is anything to do with fishing that is free. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new Baitfish Primer mobile app scores big on both accounts.
Developed in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Bait Association of Ontario, the Baitfish Primer mobile app guides you through a series of simple “yes” or “no” questions that leads to the identification of the fish. For example, does the baitfish have separate or attached dorsal spines? Does it have a tiny adipose fin near the tail? Does it have a large mouth with teeth or a small mouth with no teeth? The illustrations that help you answer each question are top notch.
As most anglers know, there are certain baitfish such as the northern redbelly dace that drive walleye, sauger, yellow perch, trout and bass into feeding frenzies, while others, most notably the nine-spine stickleback that seem to turn them off dinner the way boiled cabbage does with most kids. Still other baitfish, such as the redside dace (which looks very much like its northern redbelly brother), is a species at risk. The app helps anglers tell them all apart.
Many anglers, especially those who trap their own bait, also have great difficulty distinguishing between illegal invasive gobies and valuable native sculpin species. Ditto in telling the difference between destructive Asian carp species from similar-looking creek chub, fallfish and hornyhead chub. Again, with the new Baitfish Primer app, you can easily distinguish between all of the species. And if you happen to come across one of the detrimental ones, you can immediately report it to the appropriate agency.