For South Peace News
As expected, new regulations for walleye and pike fishing on Lesser Slave Lake and its tributaries are in effect, as of April 1.
Anglers, and others, were asked to state their preference, from among three proposed for walleye ‘slot’ limits via an online survey that closed Feb. 7. Over 1,000 people from across Alberta took part.
“There was support for a slot limit,” says senior fisheries biologist Myles Brown.
“People want to take fish home. But there was also a strong sentiment to protect large fish.”
What the regulators have settled on, based on the feedback, is a limit of one walleye, 45-50 cm in length, during a season running from June 1 to Oct. 31.
The new pike regs, as promised, are much stricter. Catch and release only.
The reasons for going to zero-possession situation were outlined in various forums beginning last summer – even earlier. Pike number are low in Lesser Slave Lake, and management tactics used in the past few years have not been able to turn that around. The species is considered to be at very high risk.
The new regulations apply to Lesser Slave Lake, all its tributaries, plus Lesser Slave River and its tributaries, right down to where it joins the Athabasca River.
Regarding Lesser Slave River, the change to the opening date for fishing between the lake and the weir is worth noting. It had customarily been treated as part of the lake – opening for angling a couple of weeks earlier than the rest of the river. Opening is now June 1.
Brown says having the different opening dates for the two parts of the river was “problematic” and it was thought a good idea to reduce confusion and be consistent.
Anyone keen to get out fishing on May 15 can do it, but only in open areas of the lake.
Biologist Kristy Wake- ling says shallow water fishing is best in spring and can be a lot of fun.
Posters with the new regulations will be put up at lake access areas. The regs booklet will be available wherever fishing licenses are sold and can also be downloaded from albertaregulations.ca.