Abundance of walleye recorded here

In recent years there has been the highest walleye abundance ever documented in Rainy Lake, Darryl McLeod, local area biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, informed those in attendance at the Rainy Lake Conservancy annual general meeting here Sunday.
The data, which goes back to 1965, shows there has been up to 28 walleye per gill net, with the average being about 14 per net.
“We’re up there with the other large lakes,” McLeod remarked, citing the North Arm was surveyed in 2002, Red But Bay in 2003, and the South Arm in 2004.
The MNR uses Fall Walleye Index Netting (FWIN) surveys to determine the abundance, observing one basin per year. Last fall, Namakan Lake was monitored, but McLeod noted they hope to go back to the North Arm in September if the funding is approved.
“I never would have thought there would be this abundance,” he noted, attributing the recovery of the aquatic species to a combination of things.
He said there has been success with the 1994 regulations and good natural recruitment of year-classes in the late 90s, with an exceptional year-class in 2001.
The reduction in commercial harvest since 1986, and perhaps the climate, has also been accredited for the increase in walleye here.
“Most of the members of the Rainy Lake Conservancy are property owners on the lake and are interested in the health of the fishery and ecosystem,” McLeod added in an interview yesterday, noting walleye is the number one sought-after fish.
McLeod, as the guest speaker, also touched on the Fisheries Framework, the Rainy Lake Fisheries Charity Trust, the Crossroute Forest plan, trumpeter swans, the spiny water flea, and waterpower development at Namakan River.
More detailed results, information, and the 2004 Ontario-Minnesota Boundaries Water Fisheries Atlas is available to the public by contacting the local MNR office.
The conservancy’s meeting was facilitated by outgoing president Dale Callaghan, who delivered the committee reports through a PowerPoint presentation.
Those in attendance heard how the Environmental Research Committee had attended the Lake of the Woods Water Quality Forum and are continuing water monitoring programs; that the Government Relations and Networking Committee have been in frequent contact with the Fort Frances and Thunder Bay Ministry of Natural Resources branches; that the Media and Marketing Committee had maintained a booth at the Fort Frances Home and Leisure Show; and that the Grant Opportunities Committee have reached several goals with their Ontario Trillium Foundation Collaborative Grant.
In addition, the Nature Outing report noted on Aug. 30 at Red Pine Island, the conservancy will be building loon nesting platforms, which cost approximately $80 each. And they hope to have a moss identifying session in September.
While several directors retired, those elected or re-elected were: Paul Anderson, Dale Callaghan, Phyllis Callaghan, Steve Challis, Claudia Horne, Paul Larsen, Ed McLeod, Kate Peterson, and Donna Romyn.
And Anne Newhart became the new president of the Rainy Lake Conservancy, a group devoted to preserving and protecting the Rainy Lake.