The APSLEY VOICE
|by Barrie Richardson
The Jack Lake Cottagers’ Association Fishery Task Force was created to improve the Walleye fishery. However, before we start any effort we have to ask fishermen two questions.
Would you adjust your fishing habits if the Walleye fishery could be restored? “Restoration” can be loosely defined as “a reasonable expectation to catch Walleye on an average of each outing”.
Did you know that habitat health, how we fish and what we keep are more essential to restoration the fishery than restocking?
The key question is #1. Many fishermen think new limits and the use of slot sizes is a good thing for other people. Catching that 24-incher and then putting it back is very hard. But, that has to happen if mature specimens can do their job. Take a camera and record your trophies.
Here is another question: “How would you feel if the MNR was to declare a ban on all fishing on Jack’s Lake for 5, 10 years?” This is how Quebec starts its fishery restoration programs in both remote and accessible lakes. Ontario employs user-friendly ways of bringing a fishery back to vigor.
MNR testing on Jack’s Lake shows that re-stocking the Walleye is presently a wasted effort. The major goal is to increase the “biological space-per-species”1 available to Walleye.
a) Keep one Walleye over 14 and under 18”
Meanwhile you can still fish for Walleye, just increase your appetite for Bass and Black Crappie ... both of which are great ‘eating’. Walleye are not native to Jack’s Lake. They were introduced by happenstance and soon decimated the Lake Trout and Muskie on this lake. Luckily, ‘accidental’ stocking was in water conducive to Walleye, creating Jack’s Lake’s Walleye reputation. In the early years the lake was also not as accessible or susceptible to its present fishing pressure.
Restoring Jack’s Lake Walleye we have to reduce “space” competition by depleting the “trash fish”. If we do that we can then restock and know that there will be “space’ for more Walleye. Meanwhile the population of Walleye will increase through simple conservation and spawning ground rehabilitation. Payback? JLCA can accomplish a Walleye improvement in three to five years.
What can you do? Fish sensibly. The Catch and Release policy would still allow you to keep enough for the uniquely delicious Walleye shore lunch.
A sense of ‘care and custody’ by all fishermen will do more than anything to increase the chances of getting a Walleye on your hook. It is not hard to think “conservation’ and good fishing at the same time.
1. Bio-space means that every specie of fish requires space, food and breeding conditions. If the “Bio-space” will only support a million Walleye of all ages, that is the absolute limit. If we stock another million Walleye, those new fish will decline and the population returns to the original one million. One million would be the population of Walleye despite restocking. “Bio-space” is created by reducing competing species especially the Sun-fish, Rock bass and Crappie.
Gil Watt & Fred Carthew hold up a musky that was caught in Jack Lake. Its not a walleye, but what a fish!!
|New to the Apsley
Next Page 2
Other Pages in The Apsley Voice for June 2006 ...