Anglers could see a decrease in possession and catch limits on Lake of the Woods.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is looking to make changes regarding fishing regulations as data studies have shown that the walleye population is vulnerable. Specifically, there are three ecological issues of concern:
- harvest rates are high and impact the population’s ability to buffer against pressures such as invasive species, increased harvest and climate change
- observed biomass of walleye is below the benchmark biomass
- mortality rates are high and there are few old walleye in the population
Currently, Ontario and Canadian residents who carry a sport licence have a daily catch limit of 4, not more than 1 greater than 46 cm. They may be in possession of 4.
Those with a conservation licence, may have a limit of 2, not more than 1 greater than 46 cm and possess 2.
The MNRF is proposing to cut these limits in half.
Their preferred option includes:
All anglers with a sport licence may catch and retain 2 per day (must be less than 43cm or great than 70. Not more than 1 greater than 70cm)
The possession limit would be 4; must be less than 43 cm or greater than 70 cm and not more than 1 greater than 70 cm
All anglers with a conservation licence would have a daily catch-and-retain limit of 1, which must be less than 43cm. They may be in possession of 2 less than 43cm.
The fishing season runs from January 1 to April 14 and the third Saturday in May to December 31
The MNRF has partnered with several local Indigenous communities, tourism operators, municipal government and recreational users to form the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Advisory Council. Since January 2021, this group has been meeting to develop this Lake of the Woods Draft Recreational Walleye Plan to improve the status of the walleye population while recognizing the social and economic importance of the fishery, consistent with the directions of Ontario’s Provincial Fish Strategy.