New fishing regulations announced

Joe McWilliams
For South Peace News

The Jan. 13 Webinar on fishing regulations in northern Alberta confirmed what earlier reports indicated: pike will be catch and release only on for Lesser Slave and all its associated rivers, starting this year.
Walleye catch limits will be tightening up as well, but exactly how is yet to be decided.
Three options for walleye were presented, representing a ‘slot limit’ approach. Anglers are encouraged to fill out a survey online, stating their choice. The options are as follows:

  1. One walleye over 50 cm;
  2. One walleye between 45-50 cm;
  3. One walleye between 50-55 cm.
    Walleye are in a bit of trouble in Lesser Slave lake, fisheries biologist Myles Brown told participants in his presentation. Getting them back to where they are less at risk is the goal.
    “We have capital to work with,” he said. “We want to build some resiliency in here.”
    Another thing changing in 2022 is opening day for the season on the portion of Lesser Slave River upstream from the weir. It has been May 15; now it will be June 1, “aligning with the rest of the river,” Brown explained.
    After the presentations came the questions, in text format. Several spoke of the perceived lack of enforcement on and around Lesser Slave Lake in 2021. Fish & Wildlife officer Ryan Green responded, saying regular patrols were conducted. You might not see us, he said, but we are there.
    Green added enforcement people rely heavily on calls from the public. He said calls to the Report-A-Poacher line have declined in the seven years he’s been working in the area.
    Another question: Will commercial fishing be reinstated, to help manage lakes?
    Answer: No plans to do that.
    Yet another: do high walleye populations have a negative impact on pike populations?
    Very little evidence to support that, replied Brown.
    The online survey on fishing regulations closes Feb. 7. It can be found at alberta.ca

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