How about stocking Mitsue Lake with walleye and perch? That’s one of the proposals the fisheries management people are putting out there, hoping for feedback from anglers. Other such ‘fish transfers’ were on the table during a round of ‘fisheries management listening sessions,’ held around the province last month. The one in Slave Lake was on Jan. 30.
The management authorities were seeking anglers’ ideas about regulations generally. But they also had a few interesting proposals out there for comment, such as the one above. In the case of Mitsue Lake, what’s proposed is to take “up to 300 walleye and yellow perch” out of Lesser Slave Lake and put them in Mitsue and see what happens. The idea would be to create additional angling opportunities. The process could be repeated every few years, should the population not be able to sustain itself. According to a handout on Mitsue Lake at the meeting, it once had walleye and perch, but doesn’t seem to any more.
Part of the consultation process involves a questionnaire, which people could fill out at the meetings or do online. The first question was, ‘Stocking more walleye: Are you in favour?”
It’s hard to imagine anyone being against it. The same question was posed for trout on the questionnaire.
Talk of increasing anything in the current era of cost-trimming is surprising. This was expressed in an interview with a couple of ‘resource managers’ who were at the Slave Lake meeting. After all, they don’t know what’s going to be in the new provincial budget expected in March, any more than anyone else does.
“There are things we can do with existing resources,” said Dave Hugelschaffer.
The Environment and Parks Minister sets the tone in a ‘Minister’s Vision’ document, also handed out at the meeting.
“We need to increase current stocking programs,” says Jason Nixon, “into more water bodies, with new fish species or strains.”
Other questions asked of anglers in the survey were about slot limits, something called ‘liberal harvest’ and additional trout harvest. In all cases, responders were asked to say whether they were ‘pro,’ ‘con,’ or ‘neutral,’ and asked for comments.
Hugelschaffer says the results of the consultation process will be compiled and released to the public, sometime in the next few weeks. The information will also be used by resource managers in updating the fishing regulations for 2020. Lastly, it seems likely some decisions will be made about increases to stocking and adding ‘fish transfers’ to the program.
Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), much more about fisheries management can be found on the government website.