MNR cuts fish limits

Anglers fishing lakes across Northwestern Ontario will be taking home smaller limits next year for many species, the Ministry of Natural Resources has outlined in its 1999 Regulations Summary.
Highlighting the changes are a reduction in the daily catch-and-possession limit for walleye/sauger from six to four–only one of which can be greater than 46 cm (18 inches).
Rainy Lake already has specific regulations for walleye, including a daily catch-and-possession limit of three for residents and a slot size.
Northern pike also will see the daily catch-and-possession limit of four (two for a conservation licence), none of which can be between 70-90 cm (27.5 and 35.4 inches) but one can be greater than 90 cm (35.4 inches).
The new daily catch-and-possession limit for smallmouth and largemouth bass is four (two for conservation licences) from July 1 to Nov. 30, and just two from Dec. 1 to June 30 for fish less than 35 cm (13.75 inches).
Lake trout will have a catch-and-possession limit of two (one for a conservation licence) but only one fish may be longer than 56 cm (22 inches) during the month of September.
“The regulation changes will add protection to self-sustaining fisheries, streamline regulations in some areas of the province and, in some cases, increase angling opportunities,” Natural Resources minister John Snobelen said.
“Local and provincial groups were consulted to develop the best possible regulations for each specific fishery or area of the province,” he added.
It is the responsibility of each angler to consult the 1999 Summary for regulation changes in the area of the province where they fish
The ministry will be undertaking a wide-scale public information and education program to ensure public awareness of all the changes.
Another change in this area will see a single barbless hook regulation implemented in Lake St. Joseph (Sioux Lookout District). An important walleye spawning area there also will be protected with the closure of Twiname Bay to fishing from March 1 to June 15.
The MNR said closing Twiname Bay during this period is intended to allow greater numbers of pickerel to reach the Doghole River and spawn successfully.
“These changes demonstrate MNR’s commitment to ensure natural resources continue to provide benefits for current and future generations,” said Mike Willick, regional director for the Northwest Region.
“Rather than wait for problems to develop, the committee consulted extensively with the public, and then recommended steps that will not only maintain, but enhance, some of the finest fisheries in North America.
“This enlightened vision demonstrates far better than words that the OFAH, NOTO, and MNR are leading conservation efforts in Ontario,” he added.
“With these changes, we all win,” agreed NOTO member Jerry Fisher, who sat on the committee that made the changes. “Resident anglers will enjoy some of the highest catch rates in Ontario [and] the tourist industry will have a resource base that is unsurpassed.
“And the Ministry of Natural Resources will be able to maintain its management goal of resource sustainability,” he noted.