Scientists looking for the lost breeding grounds of the striped bass are being directed away from Nova Scotia and toward New Brunswick.
Genetic tests show a mystery population of bass breeding somewhere in the Bay of Fundy, and public reports are helping to narrow down the search area.
Fishing buddies Timm Pitt and Joe Gilliland say they'll never forget the spring morning when the surface of New Brunswick's Kennebecasis River came alive with stripers.
"There was hundreds of thousands of ripples going around everywhere and water splashing up and stuff, and it was pretty neat to see," they said.
Rod Bradford, a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Halifax, hopes stories like Pitt and Gilliland's help lead him to the right spot.
"They're certainly interesting observations. The time of year and the water temperatures they've reported would be consistent with spawning conditions. It's interesting and encouraging," Bradford said.
Although Bradford still has questions about striped bass in the Annapolis River in Nova Scotia, all the public reports he has received are from the Saint John and Kennebecasis rivers in New Brunswick.
He says the next step is to observe the striped bass breeding, and sample fertilized eggs and baby fish in the water. He hopes to resume the search this spring.
The federal government is trying to decide if it will declare striped bass a threatened species. Confirming a second breeding population could change the outcome of that process.