Invitation to Public Discussions about the Management of Lake Simcoe’s Recreational Fisheries

Invitation to Public Discussions about the Management of Lake Simcoe’s Recreational Fisheries

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) would like to invite you or any other interested party to one of three upcoming public discussion sessions to learn more about the following fisheries management initiatives on Lake Simcoe:

1) The Lake Simcoe Fisheries Stakeholder Committee

2) Lake Simcoe Protection Plan policies related to fisheries

3) Coldwater fish populations and related fishing trends

4) Recent evidence of natural reproduction of coldwater fish

5) Proposed changes to stocking program

6) Restoration initiatives and other fisheries management projects

The dates, locations and times are as follows:

Georgina: Monday September 21, 2009 (6:30 pm to 9:30 pm,)

Kin Hall, 1 Fairpark Lane, Sutton

Orillia: Thursday September 24, 2009 (6:30 pm to 9:30 pm,)

Odas Park Banquet Hall, 4500 Fairgrounds Rd, Orillia

Barrie: Saturday September 26, 2009 (9:00 am to 12 pm,)

Victoria Village Activity Centre, 146 Toronto St., Barrie

Lake Simcoe has a long history of degraded water quality and phosphorus related issues (please see http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/water/lakesimcoe/docs/PublicReport-watershed.pdf for more details). A key indicator of ecosystem health for Lake Simcoe, is its lake trout population, along with other cold-water fish species. Given their sensitivity to water quality changes it is like a “canary in the coalmine”. The 1960’s and 70’s saw dramatic declines and recruitment failure of important coldwater species, first lake trout, then lake whitefish. This was due to low oxygen levels in the deep coldwater habitat caused by excess loading of phosphorus to the lake. In response to these recruitment failures, MNR started large-scale rehabilitative stocking efforts in 1966 for lake trout and in 1982 for whitefish. These stocking programs have been successful in maintaining these native stocks while at the same time providing the benefits of a sport fishery.

Until recently, the coldwater fishery was essentially comprised of stocked fish with no production of wild lake trout and only a small number of old natural lake whitefish and a few wild recruits. Results from our monitoring programs have now documented the presence of naturally produced (wild) adult lake trout, something we haven’t seen for over 20 years. The number of wild lake trout, lake whitefish and even lake herring (cisco) has all increased in angler’s catches and our monitoring programs in the last few years.

This is a positive sign that Lake Simcoe has the potential to recover, and there is more action being taken to improve the overall health of the Lake. As part of the Provincial Government’s overall strategy to protect and restore the ecological health of the Lake Simcoe watershed, the Lake Simcoe Protection Act was passed in December of 2008 giving authority to develop the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan that was approved and released in June 2009. The Plan will implement a number of actions to reduce phosphorus inputs to the Lake and improve overall water quality in order to meet one of its main objectives of restoring a self-sustaining coldwater fish community to Lake Simcoe. The Plan also has a number of fisheries related policies that will guide MNR’s activities on the Lake for the next several years such as the development of Fish Community Objectives.

Given the intensity and economic impact of Lake Simcoe’s fishery, managing its valuable resources has always been a priority for MNR. To further strengthen our management and improve community partner input into the decision making process, the MNR formed the Lake Simcoe Fisheries Stakeholder Committee in June of 2007. Membership on the Fisheries Stakeholder Committee represents the diverse interests in the fisheries resources of Lake Simcoe. One of the initiatives that this Committee has been working on is the review of Lake Simcoe’s cold water stocking programs as directed by the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.

The lake trout and whitefish stocking programs have accomplished their objective of maintaining the native populations while ecosystem restoration initiatives were implemented to improve water quality and habitat conditions required for future successful natural reproduction and survival of these species. We have now documented significant natural reproduction and survival of wild lake trout. Given this recent development and the lake trout’s role as top predator, the MNR is proposing to decrease the number of lake trout stocked annually for the next five years.

This proposal has been reviewed by MNR’s scientists and biologists as well as thoroughly evaluated by the Lake Simcoe Fisheries Stakeholder Committee to ensure appropriate precautionary measures have been taken to maintain the quality of Lake Simcoe’s coldwater fishery. It has also been proposed that no change to the present whitefish-stocking program occur at this time.

Please come out and join us to learn more about these and other exciting initiatives (e.g., Lake Simcoe Muskellunge Restoration Project and the Bass Tagging Research Project) underway in order to better manage Lake Simcoe’s valuable fisheries resources. These meetings are open to the public, so please feel free to invite interested family, friends and neighbours.

For more information please call Jason Borwick at 905-713-7404.

Georgina: Monday September 21, 2009 (6:30 pm to 9:30 pm,)

Kin Hall, 1 Fairpark Lane, Sutton

Orillia: Thursday September 24, 2009 (6:30 pm to 9:30 pm,)

Odas Park Banquet Hall, 4500 Fairgrounds Rd, Orillia

Barrie: Saturday September 26, 2009 (9:00 am to 12 pm,)

Victoria Village Activity Centre, 146 Toronto St., Barrie

About Peter Wood 1192 Articles
As an avid lifelong angler and hunter, Peter’s outdoor knowledge and experiences keep expanding through his hundreds of hours of hunting and fishing podcast interviews with like minded experts. He has received numerous national writing awards. With thousands of outdoor pictures on Ripple Outdoors and many full-length articles with outdoor magazine and video clips you might say that he not only enjoys his outdoor lifestyle, but he’s quite the fanatic! In 2015 he earned fifth overall on the King of the Wood Contest hosted by Canada In The Rough team, pretty good for a baby boomer deer hunter. His buck was also one of the top bucks taken that season. Through Peter’s deer hunting seminars or by attending outdoor trade shows, like the Toronto Sportsmen Show and The SWOC Big Buck Show, he has connected with thousands of like minded people that love hunting and fishing. As a volunteer or member of local and national outdoor groups like QDMA, SWOC, Outdoor Writers of Canada, Archery Trade Show Association he continues to learn and hone his craft. Read his many articles, listen to his podcasts and rifle through thousands of photos on Ripple Outdoors. Discover Peter’s latest posts about outdoor gear, destinations, how to articles and interviews and you’ll be a better angler and hunter for the experience.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*