Twenty new Fisheries Management Zones were created in Ontario in 2008 as part of a new Fisheries Management Framework. The goal was to standardize and simplify fishery regulations across the province by planning at the zone level and managing & monitoring fisheries at the broader landscape level. This is achieved by establishing a Fisheries Management Plan for each Zone.
The area in which we reside is Fisheries Management Zone 15 (FMZ15). Work on the Fisheries Management Plan for Zone 15 began in 2017. The goal is to create new regulations to achieve sustainability by reviewing the latest science, reducing the number of exceptions, and standardizing & simplifying the regulations within the zone.
This is an extensive zone that extends east/west from the Ottawa River to Georgian Bay and north/south, from the northern boundary of Algonquin Provincial Park to southern extent of the Canadian Shield. The species covered included Walleye, Bass, Pike/Muskie, Panfish, Whitefish, Brook Trout and Lake Trout.The species were reviewed in this order.
The process that the review group went through was to receive scientific reports and review the issues, concerns and status for each fish species. Following this, management objectives and actions were created and eventually proposed regulation options were prescribed and voted on by an Advisory Council to the main MNRF core planning team. Denis McGee, retired Fleming College Fisheries and Wildlife Professor, is our representative on the Advisory Council by virtue of our membership in the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners Associations (CHA). Our Lake Steward, Rita Moore, is on the advisory committee to Advisory Council.
At this time all species have been covered with the final few outstanding issues on lake trout voted on in the Summer of this year. The newly proposed regulations have been simplified and changed, to incorporate the current status of the fishery and the most applicable science, to maintain and improve the sustainability of the fishery. To give you an idea of the detail and complexity of the discussions and creation of the regulation options, Lake Trout has been the focus species since December 2018. The following are proposed regulation options for FMZ15.There are roughly 12 different variations of Lake Trout regulations currently in play at this time in FMZ15. The proposed regulations are for Natural Lake Trout Lakes, which includes Kushog Lake:
1. The fishery has been divided into <500ha sized lakes and >500ha lakes because Lake Trout are more susceptible to angling pressure in smaller lakes. Kushog Lake has an area of 915ha.
2. Within these lakes, the protected slot sizes have been removed in favour of minimum size limits of 40cm in lakes that have small bodied fish and 50cm minimum size for large bodied fish lakes.
3. Lakes <500ha will not have a winter fishery and the season will run from the 3rd Saturday in May to Labour Day. With the applicable 40cm or 50 cm minimum size limit. This regulation would be applicable to roughly 114 lakes in the zone including Kushog Lake. There may be exceptions to these regulations and some lakes in this category may have a short winter season, 1 line and bait restrictions. There may be roughly 20 lakes with this exception.
4. Catch limits are still being discussed. Catch limits are proposed for Sport Licence and Conservation Licence as 2 and 1 or 1 and 0 respectively. Still to be determined.
5. The recent vote also covered the use of 1 or 2 lines while ice fishing and the possible use or ban of baitfish while ice fishing.
Still to be determined. There are additional options and potential exceptions to the above proposals.
This information is preliminary and presented to demonstrate the planning direction for lake trout management in FMZ15. The most recent target for draft plan completion is December 2020. Once the document is available for public input, KLPOA will alert our members via our website