Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Illegal roe harvesting

Proposal for Managing Rainbow Trout
Recreational Fisheries in Ontario
Fisheries Section
Fish and Wildlife Branch
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
March 2006
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Proposal for Managing Rainbow Trout Recreational Fisheries in Ontario
This report describes the regulatory options for the management of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus
mykiss) recreational fisheries in Ontario. The options are based on current scientific knowledge on
the effectiveness of various regulations for managing rainbow trout. They are a combination of
management strategies designed to maximize angling opportunities while protecting rainbow trout
populations from over-exploitation.
The goal of this approach is to ensure that regulations can be rationalized on a sound biological
basis, to achieve resource sustainability while, at the same time, streamlining and simplifying
Ontario’s fishing regulations and maximizing angling opportunities.
In order to provide consistency to the management of rainbow trout in Ontario, the regulatory
options contained herein are the only options to be used in the development of any new regulations
for rainbow trout. Where the existing regulations do not conform to the approach in this report, they
should be analyzed using the criteria set out in the Provincial Approvals in Principle process.
Border waters and/or the Great Lakes that have international or interprovincial agreements in place
may be considered exceptions to the rainbow trout tool kit if they do not conform to the tool kit
recommendation. For those waters where agreements are not currently in place, the harmonization
of multi-jurisdictional regulations should be sought and, where possible, be compatible with the
rainbow trout regulatory tool kit.
Introduction
Although the native range of the rainbow trout is the Pacific Ocean and freshwater systems west of
the Rocky Mountains (Scott and Crossman 1973), its range has been extended through introduction
to include many parts of the world (MacCrimmon and Gots 1972).
Anadromous rainbow trout (spawning in tributary streams and reaching maturity in the ocean or lake
environment) are known as steelhead. They were first introduced into the Great Lakes in 1876 in
the AuSable River on the Michigan side of Lake Huron. Introductions to Lakes Ontario (1878),
Michigan (1880), Erie (1882), and Superior (1883) followed shortly after (MacCrimmon and Gots
1972).
In most of the Great Lakes, natural reproduction of rainbow trout was quite evident by the 1920s.
With the introduction of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) the abundance of rainbow trout declined
through the 1940s and 1950s (MacCrimmon and Gots 1972).
The onset of effective sea lamprey control in the late1960s (Swanson 1985) in most of the Great
Lakes enabled rainbow trout populations to expand. Hurricane Hazel impacted Southern Ontario in
1954 and may have also played an important role in improving the existing habitat and opening up
additional stream habitats to migratory rainbow trout (Gonder 2005). Flood flows generated by this
storm destroyed many dams and natural barriers to migration which restricted access into tributary
systems and cleaned fine sediment from underlying spawning habitat. Fishway construction in the
1960s and 1970s provided access to new spawning and nursery habitats in several significant Great
Lakes tributaries enhancing the production of young rainbow trout (Gonder 2005). The elimination
of biological and physical constraints on rainbow trout by the late-1960s appeared to contribute to
the development of strong populations throughout the Great Lakes.
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Relatively strong rainbow trout populations currently exist in all Canadian waters of the Great Lakes.
Although the habitat of Lake Erie is the least conducive to this species, naturalized populations have
developed in a few suitable tributaries. Many tributaries in Lakes Superior, Huron and Ontario are
quite suitable to this species and significant populations (and associated fisheries) have developed.
Rainbow trout populations increased in the late 1960s which resulted in the development of a large
and attractive recreational fishery targeting this species (MacCrimmon and Gots 1972). Although
the most intensive recreational fishing effort seemed to follow the opening of the stream trout
season in late April, stream fishing for early-migrating rainbow trout during the fall and winter months
also became popular. Rainbow trout populations seemed to be strong, even when faced with
increasing pressure from angler harvest from the1960s to the early 1980s. The Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources (MNR) responded by liberalizing open seasons for this species. Extended fall
seasons were implemented in the lower reaches of major river systems starting in the 1960s. An allyear
open season policy was adopted in the open waters of the Great Lakes and at certain river
mouths in the 1970s and lead to the development of early spring river mouth and winter ice
fisheries. Opportunities to fish for rainbow trout became available on a year-round basis.
With the development of salmon fisheries in most of the Canadian Great Lakes in the 1980s boat
fishing became much more popular and rainbow trout became an alternative species that was either
incidentally or intentionally targeted in open-waters by the expanded Great Lakes recreational
fishing fleet.
Increased fishing pressure and poor environmental conditions appear to have contributed to
declining abundances of rainbow trout in many areas of the Canadian Great Lakes in the late 1980s
and early 1990s (Gonder 2005). Both Lakes Superior and Huron responded to this situation with
more restrictive recreational fishing regulations in 1999. Lake Ontario managers have also
expressed concerns with declining wild fish abundance and recruitment, and are currently reviewing
options for more protective measures (Marion Daniels, pers. comm.).
Rainbow trout are currently being stocked in all of the Great Lakes. Volunteer fishing clubs run
private, provincially sanctioned hatcheries for rainbow trout stocking in Lake Huron (seven
operations), Lake Ontario (two operations) and Lake Erie (one operation). In addition, MNR
currently stocks rainbow trout in Lakes Ontario and Erie. American agencies also stock significant
number of rainbow trout into
the Great Lakes. The stocking of rainbow trout in the Great Lakes is intended to rehabilitate
streams with poor natural reproduction or provide put-grow-and-take fisheries in areas lacking
reproductive habitat according to the Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries
(GLFC 1997). Significant levels of natural reproduction of rainbow trout occur in all the Great Lakes.
The management of rainbow trout in each Great Lake will also be influenced by individual Fish
Community Objectives which are revised, through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission,
approximately every five years. Future management objectives for rainbow trout could therefore
change following potential revisions to Fish Community Objectives for an individual lake.
Rainbow trout populations in Ontario waters of Lake Superior are solely supported by natural
reproduction. Granite bedrock tributaries result in nutrient deprived systems. This combined with a
harsh climatic regime requires more specialized regulations than lower Great Lakes. It would appear
that in order to maximize recruitment repeat spawning levels should be maintained at > 55% (Kwain
1981, Seelbach and Miller 1993, George 1994). Data collected from Portage Creek, Lake Superior
tributary illustrates the value of a large repeat spawning component in the production of a strong
year class and maximizing adult population size (J. George pers. comm.).
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Rainbow trout also provide important fisheries in inland lakes and ponds. In 2004, a total of 268,673
rainbow trout were stocked in 143 different inland waters. In most cases, rainbow trout are stocked
to provide artificial fisheries in order to diversify local angling opportunities and divert angling
pressure away from heavily exploited waters.
It is estimated that the catch of rainbow trout in Ontario in 2000 was approximately 690,000 fish with
more than 273,000 (39.6%) being harvested (Economic and Policy Analysis Directorate 2003). The
Great Lakes accounted for 74.5 and 76.3% of these totals respectively. Lake Huron had the highest
catch (53%) and harvest (65%) of all the Great Lakes with Lake Ontario second at (38%) and (20%)
respectively (Economic and Policy Analysis Directorate 2003).
Rainbow Trout Biology
The rainbow trout of the Great Lakes are generally anadromous. Life history typically begins with
the deposition of fertilized eggs in nests constructed in riffle areas of tributary streams. The progeny
generally remain in the streams as “parr” for a period ranging between a few months to three years
before moving to the lake. As parr move downstream the biological phenomenon of smoltification
occurs with the fish turning to a silvery colour. Once in the Great Lakes, fish grow rapidly and can
mature in as little as one year (generally males). Populations of rainbow trout returning to streams
to spawn are composed of fish of a variety of ages and sizes (MacCrimmon and Gots 1972).
Successful reproduction of rainbow trout in ponds and inland streams is dependant on suitable
gravel substrate for nest construction. Occasionally there is evidence of shoal spawners.
Landlocked populations do not undergo smoltification but can reach maturity at earlier ages and
usually at much smaller sizes than anadromous fish (MacCrimmon and Gots 1972).
The vast majority of naturalized populations in the Great Lakes are spring spawners although fallspawning
hatchery stocks have been documented (MacCrimmon and Gots 1972). In many large
river systems a proportion of the spawning rainbow trout population migrates into their home stream
during the fall, where they overwinter and spawn in late winter or early spring. The majority of adults
delay their stream migration until ice out in late winter (Dodge and MacCrimmon 1971; MacCrimmon
and Gordon 1981; Seelbach 1993; WDNR 1998).
As spring water temperatures begin to increase towards 5 0C the adult rainbow trout move upriver
towards spawning habitats (Biette et al. 1981). Females dig redds in shallow riffles, runs and tailouts
of pools where the stream bottom consists of gravel two to ten centimeters in diameter (Greeley
1932; Dodge 1967). After excavating a pit in the gravel with their tail, the female may deposit up to
2,000 eggs per kilogram which are fertilized by attendant males (DuBois and Plaster 1989).
Although many male fish may be seen at one time in the vicinity of a spawning redd, females can
outnumber males in the spawning population often by 2:1 or greater (Hassinger 1974, Biette et al.
1981, Seelbach 1993). The male fish appear to outnumber females on the spawning grounds
because they move from one female to the next as spent females leave their redds and new, ripe
females arrive on the spawning grounds (Gonder 2005).
With most of the spawning activity completed by the end of May the spent rainbow trout often move
into deep slow moving pools to recuperate from the rigors of reproduction (Gonder 2005). Natural
mortality is approximately 20% for females and 40% for males (Dodge 1967, J. George, pers.
comm.). Surviving spent fish may resume feeding activity in the stream environment before
returning to the lake.
Where angling harvest is low adult rainbow trout, particularly females, may survive to make several
spawning runs (Dodge 1967, Biette et al. 1981, Swanson 1985, Seelbach, 1993). George (pers.
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comm..) documented females repeat spawning from seven to nine years in a lightly exploited Lake
Superior tributary. These multiple spawning fish, referred to as repeat spawners, are claimed to
spawn in higher quality habitats which leads to increased egg survival and are thought to produce
better quality and greater numbers of eggs. The presence of repeat spawners buffers against poor
maiden spawner abundance and the subsequent losses in egg deposition. They also buffer against
detrimental environmental conditions which can lead to poor survival rates of young-of-the-year
rainbow trout (Gonder 2005). George (2005 unpublished data) found a direct correlation between
high repeat spawning numbers and strong year class recruitment in Portage Creek, Lake Superior.
High levels of repeat spawners are generally indicative of with low levels of exploitation and
harvest.
Regulatory Options
Few examples of the relative effects of angling regulations changes on the health of rainbow trout
populations exist in the literature (Valliant et al. 2003). The majority of the recommendations for
streamlining of recreational fishing regulations proposed in this document for rainbow trout are
based on knowledge that has been learned through regulation changes that have been enacted in
Ontario waters over time.
Open/Closed Seasons
Most of the Divisions are open all year, or open-all-year except for December 24th (Table 1). There
are currently seven different Division-wide open seasons for rainbow trout across the province and
nine exceptions by waterbody (Table 2 and Appendix 1).
Table 1. Current (2005) Division-wide open seasons for rainbow trout in Ontario. (OMNR, 2005)
Season Division (s)
Open all year 1, 7, 8, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 26
Open all year except December 24th 2, 12A, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22/22A, 23, 24, 25,
29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35
January 1- March 7 & Saturday before
Victoria Day- October 15 27
January 1- September 30 9, 10
Last Friday in April- September 30 12
Last Saturday in April- December 31 28
Last Saturday in April- September 30 3, 4, 5, 6, 13
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Table 2. Open season exceptions for rainbow trout in Ontario.
Season Watebody
Year-round open season Several streams and rivers in FMZ 16 and 17
January 1 - Friday before last Saturday in April;
October 1 - December 31
Mayhew Creek
January 1 – March 15; Saturday before Victoria
Day – December 31
Lake Nosbonsing
January 1 – March 31; last Saturday in April –
September 15
Pinery Park pond
January 1 – March 31; last Saturday in April –
September 30
Several lakes and ponds in Grey County
Last Saturday in April – December 31 (extended
fall season)
Elgin County
Last Saturday in April – December 31 (extended
fall season)
Several streams and river in FMZ 16 and 17.
First Saturday in May – September 30 Maitland River
June 1 – September 30 Several streams in Grey and Bruce counties
Greater consistency among the existing seasons is required to make the regulations easier to
understand while providing protection to vulnerable migratory rainbow trout prior to spawning in
areas of high fishing pressure. The proposed seasons are consistent with those proposed for other
migratory salmonids to ensure simplicity, and to remove the ability of unscrupulous anglers from
fishing for rainbow trout during a closed season while claiming to be targeting other salmonids.
Although Manitoulin and Cockburn Islands will be in the new Fisheries Management Zone 10
(combined with the north shore of Lake Huron) they have characteristics similar to southern Ontario.
Therefore it is proposed to provide these islands with the same rainbow trout fishing seasons as
southern Ontario Divisions.
Recommended Seasons (see Table 3)
• The rainbow trout fishing season for all Great Lakes proper (open waters) should be open
all year.
• Open seasons for rainbow trout in inland waters should conform to one of the following
standards only if rainbow trout are present in the Division:
(i) The rainbow trout fishing season for all Lake Superior tributaries and all other
Fisheries Management Zones with put-grow and take only fisheries should be open all
year.
(ii) Fourth Saturday in April to September 30 for Southern and Central Ontario Divisions
with Lakes Ontario, Erie, or Huron tributaries including Manitoulin and Cockburn
Islands.
• Year-round open seasons and extended fall seasons for specific Great Lakes tributaries
and river mouths should be maintained.
• When rainbow trout is not present in a Fisheries Management Zone there should be a
closed season.
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Table 3. Recommended zone-wide open season dates for rainbow trout in Ontario.
Open Season Fisheries Management Zone
4th Saturday in April – September 30 16, 17
Open all year 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20
Closed all year (not present) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8
Catch and Possession Limits
Catch limit is defined as the number of fish that an angler is allowed to catch and keep in one day.
The possession limit is the number of fish an angler is allowed to legally possess any time whether
on-hand, in cold storage or in transit. In most cases, possession limits are the same as one day’s
catch limit. The concept behind catch and possession regulations is to limit the harvest, to equitably
distribute the resource among users, promote an ethical use of the resource and to convey a
realistic expectation regarding biological capacity of the rainbow trout resource.
There are currently three Division-wide catch and possession limits for rainbow trout in the province
of Ontario (Table 4) and five exceptions by waterbody (Table 5 and Appendix 2). In all cases, the
catch limit is the same as the possession limit.
Table 4. Current (2005) catch and possession limits for rainbow trout in Ontario. (OMNR,
2005)
Catch limit by license type Possession limit by license type
Division Sport Conservation Sport Conservation
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,
12, 12A, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18
(except L. Superior tribs.), 19
(except L. Superior tribs.), 20,
21(except L. Superior tribs.),
22/22A, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29,
30, 31, 32, 33 (except L.
Superior tribs.), 34, 35 (north
of latitude 45o15’N)
5 2 5 2
16, 18 (L. Superior tribs.), 19
(L. Superior tribs.), 23 (East of
the Pic River), 35 (south of
latitude 45o15’N),
2 1 2 1
21(L. Superior tribs.), 33 (L.
Superior tribs.), 23 (West of
the Pic River)
1 1 1 1
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Table 5. Current (2005) catch and possession regulation exceptions (by type of angling
licence) for rainbow trout in Ontario (OMNR, 2005).
Catch (Possession) Limit Waterbody
0 Sport, 0 Conservation (0/0) Portions of the Credit and Grand Rivers
2 Sport, 1 Conservation (2/1) Designated streams and rivers in FMZ 16 and
tributaries of Lake Superior
1 Sport, 0 Conservation (1/0) Portion of the Grand River
1 Sport, 1 Conservation (1/1) Whitemans Creek and designated Lake Superior
tributaries
3 Sport, 2 Conservation (3/2) Big Sound, Parry Sound
Bag limited reductions of 2 for holder of a sport fish licence and 1 for the holder of a conservation
licence were instituted in much of Lake Huron in 1999 in an attempt to address concerns of declining
abundance of older fish. This change has stabilized the decline and possibly slightly increased the
population in the Nottawasaga River (D. Gonder pers. comm.). Anecdotal information from anglers
in the Sault Ste Marie region suggests that the rainbow trout fishery on eastern Lake Superior has
not improved with a two fish limit that was also adopted in 1999. (J. George, pers. comm.).
Conversely, in western Lake Superior a bag limit reduction to one fish for the holder of either a sport
fishing licence or a conservation licence appears to have improved the fisheries in many streams (J.
George, pers. comm.). Bag limits of 1 fish for a sport fishing licence and 0 for a conservation licence
in the lower Grand River have also resulted in improved rainbow trout populations (L. Halyk, pers.
comm.).
These results suggest that in areas of high fishing pressure and low stream productivity bag limits
higher than 1 will not improve rainbow trout populations and morerrestrictive regulations may be
required.
Maintaining a difference in bag limits between sportfishing licences and conservation licences
provides a clear distinction in user pay benefits and may enhance the sale of sportfishing licences
and associated revenues.
Recommended Catch and Possession Limits (Table 6)
• Catch and possession limits for rainbow trout should remain at 5 fish (holders of a sport
fishing licence) or 2 fish (holders of a conservation licence) for inland put-grow-and-take
angling opportunities as well as Lake Erie.
• For Lake Superior and the tributary watershed north of Superior as well as for rainbow
trout populations with conservation concerns we recommend a limit of 1 fish for holders of
a sport fishing licence and 0 fish for holders of a Conservation licence.
• The catch and possession limit on all other Great Lake Fisheries Management Zones,
including FMZ’s with Great Lakes watershed tributaries should be reviewed on a lake by
lake basis that would include broad public consultation. The objective should be to reduce
the limit in all Great Lakes FMZ’s depending on the results of public consultation.
• Rainbow trout should continue to be considered as part of an aggregate limit with other
trout and salmon.
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Table 6. Recommended zone-wide catch and possession limits (by angling licence type) for rainbow
trout in Ontario.
Catch (Possession) Limit Fisheries Management Zone(s)
1 Sport, 0 Conservation (1/0) 6, 7, 9, 10
2 Sport, 1 Conservation (2/1) 13, 14, 16, 17, 20
5 Sport, 2 Conservation (5/2) 11, 12, 15, 18, 19
Nil (not present) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 15, 18
Size Limits
Size-based regulations should reduce the biological impacts of angling but not restrict angling
opportunities. Size limit regulations are usually intended to increase the size of fish caught,
maximize yield and protect brood stock while maintaining angling quality at often increased levels of
effort. There are three basic types of size limits: (1) minimum size limit where by all fish below a
certain size must be released; (2) slot size limit under which all fish within a designated range must
either be released (protected slot) or retained (harvested slot); and (3) maximum size limit where all
fish above a designated size must be released. Size based regulations require a thorough
knowledge of growth rates, maturation schedules and recruitment for an individual fish population.
The following guidelines are provided for evaluating the potential of a size limit regulation for
rainbow trout:
• Select the most appropriate type of size limit based on characteristics of the rainbow
trout population and the objectives of the regulation. Protected slot size limits should be
utilized in cases where there is good natural reproduction, slow growth of younger fish and
high angling effort. Maximum size limits should only be used in instances where there is low
density of brood stock and where natural recruitment is low.
• Ensure that biological information is collected and utilized to rationalize the use of size
limit regulations.
• Only one type of size limit regulation should be utilized on an individual waterbody.
• Do not vary size limits over the course of the angling season.
• Evaluate the success/failure of size limit regulations based on the original goals and
objectives.
• There is an expectation of clients to have a diversity of angling opportunities and fishing
quality. Some businesses depend on it. In cases where single stakeholders are the primary
stewards of the resource, voluntary actions initiated by the stakeholder would be preferred
to legislative changes. In shared resources where stakeholders cannot agree on managing
towards a certain attribute such as fishing quality, it may be necessary to legislate “quality
fishing” regulations. Such goals would likely require the consideration of a sized based
regulation.
Currently there are only two different size restrictions being utilized in the management of rainbow
trout in Ontario (Table 3).
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Table 3. Current (2005) size restrictions for rainbow trout in Ontario. (OMNR, 2005)
(4) Whiteman's Creek • Catch and possession limit of one (1), 50 cm
minimum size limit (rainbow and brown trout).
(21) McIntyre R.;
(21) Neebing R.
• Catch and possession limit of one (1),
minimum length of 69 cm.
The size limit on Whiteman’s Creek was initiated in 1990 as a method to control the harvest of
young brown trout. It has had the added benefit of limiting the harvest of young juvenile rainbow
trout. At the time it was created there were few migratory rainbow trout in the creek but they now
have much better access to this area of the Grand River watershed. This section also has artificial
bait only restrictions so much of the sport fishing is conducted by anglers practicing voluntary catch
and release. The area has not been monitored by creels in many years so the true effectiveness of
the size restriction has not be validated (L. Halyk, pers. comm.).
Size restrictions on McIntyre and Neebing Rivers implemented in 2000 have not resulted in a
significant increase in rainbow trout abundance (J. George, pers. comm.). However, these actions
may have helped to prevent a further decline in these populations given that these tributaries are
subjected to some of the highest fishing pressure on Lake Superior. Continued monitoring and
assessment is vital to determine the longer-term suitability of these regulations in the management
of rainbow trout.
The use of a protected slot regulation for rainbow trout was proposed for Lake Huron in the 1990s.
This proposal was considered desirable since boat anglers generally capture smaller fish and shore
anglers capture larger fish and either a minimum or maximum size limit to reduce harvest would
have disproportionately affected one or the other of these angler groups. The slot regulation
proposal was, however, deemed socially unacceptable at the time and cancelled despite concerns
that the other regulations changes enacted at the time (bag limit reductions and river specific season
restrictions) were unlikely to have significant success in improving fish populations. The lack of
improvement in the majority of Lake Huron rainbow trout populations since 1999 may support a
review of the protected slot regulation. Should such a proposal be adopted, it would need to be
treated as experimental, be thoroughly evaluated, and the results shared with other managers
across the Province.
Size Limit Recommendations
• Generally, the use of size limit regulations is not recommended as a widespread regulatory
tool for rainbow trout in Ontario.
• Size limit regulations can be considered on designated waters being managed to provide
high quality angling opportunities.
• The use of a protected slot regulation should be considered for situations in the Great
Lakes where boat anglers capture smaller fish and shore anglers capture larger fish and
additional reductions in harvest levels are necessary.
• Assessment of the two existing size based regulations should be communicated Provincewide
to provide direction to other managers of rainbow trout populations on the suitability
of this type of regulation.
• The creation of any future size limit regulations must be thoroughly rationalized and fully
evaluated and shared with other managers.
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Fish Sanctuaries
Fish sanctuaries are designated areas where all fishing is prohibited. Sanctuaries can be seasonal
in nature or extend for the entire year.
Since sanctuaries are not specifically denoted as protecting individual fish species it is not possible
to list those created to protect rainbow trout. However, there are a number of sanctuaries which
undoubtedly had the main purpose of protecting spring spawning rainbow trout.
Seasonal fish sanctuaries are a legitimate regulatory tool where required (e.g. major spawning
areas, areas immediately downstream of barriers, etc.).
Recommended Use of Fish Sanctuaries
• Fish sanctuaries for rainbow trout in the Great Lakes should be standardized to the
following date: Last Saturday in April to May 31.
• Existing fish sanctuaries below dams and barriers on Great Lakes tributaries should be
maintained.
Special Regulations
Special regulations are those that differ considerably from province-wide regulations and are
designed to recycle all or a portion of the anglers creel (Imhof 1989). They may include restrictions
on gear (e.g. artificial flies only, barbless hooks only), or bait (e.g., artificial vs. live bait), as well as
harvest (e.g. catch-and-release only). Special regulations must be established based on valid
biological criteria and with well established objectives.
Special regulations are usually implemented in heavily-fished waters to prevent overexploitation or
in waters where management goals are to provide increased catch rates or the opportunity to catch
large fish. These types of regulations are based on the assumption that trout can be angled several
times during the fishing season and released with no significant mortality. Hooking mortality is
generally low for rainbow trout but varies according to a number of factors including gear type, bait,
air and water temperatures, air exposure, and the amount of handling.
There are relatively few instances of special regulations for rainbow trout in Ontario. Existing
regulations include the use of artificial lures and barbless hooks in combination or individually.
There are also four waters which are restricted to artificial flies only and/or have reduced catch and
possession limits (Appendix 3).
Catch-and-release angling has resulted in increased abundance in rainbow trout populations in both
the Grand River (Lake Erie watershed) (L. Halyk, pers. comm.) and Portage Creek (Lake Superior
watershed) (J. George, pers. comm.). The Portage Creek location is not controlled by regulation but
by private land access and voluntary implementation by the land owner. In addition, the Grand
River has fishing gear restrictions which have generally made it more difficult to catch rainbow trout.
Both of these locations serve as examples that significantly reducing or eliminating harvest can have
dramatic results in increasing both spawning biomass and recruitment of rainbow trout.
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Studies have shown that rainbow trout can survive being caught and released (Klein 1965; Horak
and Klein 1967, Reingold 1975, Mongillo 1984, Taylor and White 1992). While artificial and egg
baits generally result in less than 10% mortality, other natural baits can result in mortalities of up to
50% (Mongillo 1984). Although the benefits of barbless versus barbed hooks continues to be
debated (Turek and Brett 1997) the banning of live or natural bait has proven benefits to catch and
release survival (Mongillo 1984). In addition, survival appears higher with treble hooks versus single
hooks when attached to artificial baits. Larger single hooks fished with bait may cause less mortality
than smaller single hooks (Mongillo 1984). This may justify a critical revisiting of existing special
regulations.
Currently there are no restrictions on the use of roe (fish eggs) when angling for rainbow trout.
Using rainbow trout roe (or other species of fish eggs) in spawn bags for drift fishing is a very
popular and effective method of catching rainbow trout in river systems. The desire to obtain roe
from gravid female rainbow trout has led to enforcement issues on many areas of the Great Lakes
(D. Weltz, pers. comm.). Anglers often exclusively seek female fish and have been witnessed
catching, removing eggs and releasing fish, and are believed to harvest eggs from more fish than
their legal limit. The desire to obtain rainbow trout roe for use as bait has resulted in illegal angling
activity and the development of an illegal trade in roe . Although the use of eggs as bait allows for
better post-release survival, in many cases fish are either harvested for eggs or stripped and
released which likely significantly reduces survival.
Proposing some control on the collection and use of roe has met resistance when attempted in the
past. Given the apparent escalating problem of illegal roe collection and sale, declining rainbow
trout abundance in many locations of the Province, and the effectiveness of roe in catching rainbow
trout, the Province should conduct a review of the roe situation and assess options for any future
action. The development of a DNA database for wild rainbow trout would assist in prosecution.
Currently retail outlets selling roe claim that they purchased the eggs from private hatcheries.
Without a genetic database little can be done to follow up and prosecute those illegally selling roe
from wild rainbow trout.
Education is needed to make anglers aware that catching, striping and releasing wild rainbow trout
is an ethically questionable practice. At the very least they should be informed that they should not
exceed current bag limits when collecting eggs.
Recommendations for Special Regulations
• Special regulations should only be implemented where there are clear management
objectives, where there is widespread public support and where they can be fully
evaluated.
• Special regulations should only be considered when exploitation is exceptionally heavy or
where the goal is to provide unique angling opportunities. Special regulations which can
be considered on designated waters include use of artificial flies/lures only, and/or the use
of barbless hooks.
• Catch-and-release only regulations (zero catch and possession limit) may be considered in
some cases for designated waters (or sections thereof) being managed to provide a high
quality angling experience or where there are serious conservation issues.
• Assessment on the existing areas with special regulations should be communicated
provincially to provide direction to other managers of rainbow trout on the suitability of
this type of regulation.
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• The Province should review the usage of roe as bait from a policy perspective. The status
of illegal roe collection and sale, and the associated increased efficiency of angler success
should be assessed.
• Anglers should be informed of the legal aspects of roe collection and provided guidelines
on best handling practices and methods of releasing fish.
• Seek the development of a DNA rainbow trout database for use in prosecuting the illegal
trade of wild fish roe.
References
Biette, R.M., Dodge, D.P., Hassinger, R.L. and Stauffer, T.M. 1981. Life history and timing of
migrations and spawning behavior of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) populations of the Great
Lakes. Proceedings of the Stock Concept International Symposium. Canadian. Journal of
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 38: 1759-1771.
Dodge, D.P. 1967. Some biology and vital statistics of rainbow trout, (Salmo gairdineri) of Bothwells
Creek, Lake Huron. M. Sc. Thesis, University of Guelph. Guelph, Ontario. 126 pp.
Dodge, D.P. and MacCrimmon, H.R. 1970. Vital statistics of a population of Great Lakes rainbow
trout (Salmo gairdneri) characterized by an extended spawning season. Journa of the Fisheries
Research Board of Canada 27: 613-618.
DuBois, R.B. and Plaster, S.D. 1989. Fecundity of spring- and fall-run steelhead from two western
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Selected results for the Great Lakes fishery. Statistical Services, Economic and Commercial
Analysis Report No. 168. Ottawa, Ontario. 86 p.
George, J. 1994. The status of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Canadian waters of Lake
Superior based on frequency of repeat spawners 1991-1993. Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources. Thunder Bay, Ontario. 28 p.
Great Lakes Fishery Commission. 1997. A joint strategic plan for management of Great Lakes
fisheries. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 42 p.
Gonder, D.J.A. 2005. Status of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in southern Georgian Bay and
Lake Huron. Upper Great Lakes Management Unit, Lake Huron Office, Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources. Owen Sound, Ontario.
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predators. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 62: 238-248.
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96(2):220-222.
13
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14
Personal Communications
Daniels, Marion. Management Biologist. Lake Ontario Management Unit. Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources. P.O. Box 7000, 300 Water Street, Peterborough, Ontario K9J 8M5 (705)-
755-1345
George, Jon. Operations Specialist. Northwest Science and Technology Unit. Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources. 25th Side Road, RR #1Thunder Bay, Ontario P7C 4T9 (807)-939-3113
Gonder, David. Management Biologist. Upper Great Lakes Management Unit. Lake Huron Office.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1450 Seventh Ave. East, Owen Sound, Ontario N4K
2Z1 (519)-371-5596
Halyk, Larry. Stewardship Coordinator: Wellington - Hamilton – Wentworth. Guelph District. Ontario
Ministry of Natural Resources. 1 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario. N1G 4Y2 (519)-826-4936
Weltz, Donald. Conservation Officer. Upper Great Lakes Management Unit. Lake Huron Office.
1450 Seventh Ave. East, Owen Sound, Ontario N4K 2Z1 (519)-371-5597
15
Appendix 1. Ontario waters currently having open season exceptions for rainbow trout ..
Season (Division) Waterbody
Year Round Open Season • (3) Ausauble River. (Hwy. 21 to L. Huron);
• (3) Big Creek (Regional Rd. 21 to L. Erie);
• (3) Black Creek. (Hwy. 3 to L. Erie);
• (3) Fifteen Mile Creek. (Queen Elizabeth Way to L.
Ontario);
• (3) Forty Mile Creek. ( Queen Elizabeth Way to L.
Ontario);
• (3) Lynn River. (Misner Dam to Lake Erie);
• (3) North Thames River. (main branch only
Middlesex County);
• (3) Rondeau Bay (Waters fronting Kent County),
• (3) Sixteen Mile Creek. (Queen Elizabeth Way to L.
Ontario);
• (3) Thames River. (main branch only) (Elgin County
and Middlesex County);
• (3) Trout Pond of Waterford Ponds (City of
Nanticoke);
• (3) Twelve Mile Creek. (Lakeport Road to L.
Ontario);
• (3) Twenty Mile Creek. (Queen Elizabeth Way to L.
Ontario);
• (3) Young’s (Ryerse) Creek. (downstream side of
lakeshore rd. bridge to waters edge of L. Erie at
Port Ryerse).
• (4) Bayfield River (Hwy. 21 to L. Huron);
• (4) Bighead River. (Hwy. 26 bridge to Georgian
Bay);
• (4) Bronte Creek. (Hwy. 2 to L. Ontario);
• (4) Coldwater River. (County Rd. 19 to Georgian
Bay );
• (4) Credit River. and tributaries. (south side of the
Queen Elizabeth Way bridge downstream to L.
Ontario and from the north side of the Dundas St.
bridge upstream to the south side of the Hwy. 403
bridge);
• (4) Grindstone Creek. (Hwy. 2 (Plains Road) to
Hamilton Harbour);
• (4) Humber River. (Eglinton Ave. to L. Ontario);
• (4) Maitland River. (Hwy. 21 to L. Huron);
• (4) Nottawasaga River. (Boyne R. to Georgian Bay);
• (4) Oakville Creek. (Sixteen Mile Ck.) (Hwy. 2 to L.
Ontario);
• (4) Penetangore River. (Queen Street, Kincardine,
to L. Huron);
• (4) Pottawatomi River. (intersection of 15th St. W.
and 7th Ave. W., Owen Sound, to Georgian Bay);
16
• (4) Rouge River. (Hwy. 2 to L. Ontario);
• (4) Sauble River. (440 m (1444 ft.) downstream
from lowest edge of Sauble Falls to Lake Huron).
• (4) Saugeen River (cement abutments below
Denny’s Dam to L. Huron);
• (4) Spencer Creek. (Hwy. 102 (Cootes Dr.) to L.
Ontario);
• (4) Sydenham River. (point 177 m (581 ft.)
downstream from Mill Dam, Owen Sound, to
Georgian Bay);
• (4) Telfer (Bothwell’s) Creek. (bridge on County Rd.
15 to Georgian Bay),;
• (6) Cobourg Brook (Cobourg Creek/Factory Creek)
(southerly limit of the C.N.R. right-of-way to L.
Ontario);
• (6) Gages Creek. (southerly limit of C.N.R. right-ofway
to L. Ontario);
• (6) Ganaraska River (between the southerly limit of
the C.N.R. right-of-way and Lake Ontario);
• (6) Regional Municipality of Durham (all waters
between the southerly limit of the C.N.R. right-ofway
and L. Ontario).
January 1- Friday before last Saturday in
April & October 1- December 31
• (7) Mayhew Creek.
January 1- March 15 & Saturday before
Victoria Day- December 31
• (15) Lake Nosbonsing
January 1- March 31 & Last Saturday in
April- September 15
• (3) Pinery Park Pond
January 1- March 31 & Last Saturday in
April- September 30
• (4) Bells Lake.,
• (4) Eugenia Lake.,
• (4) Irish Lake.,
• (4) Wilcox Lake.,
• (4) Wilder Lake.,
• (4) Williams Lake.
Last Saturday in April – December 31
(Extended Fall Season for Rainbow Trout)
• (3) Elgin County;
Last Saturday in April – December 31
(Extended Fall Season for Rainbow Trout
and Brown Trout)
• (3&4) Grand River (25 m (82 ft.) downstream of
Wilkes Dam, Brantford, downstream to L. Erie);
• (3) Big Creek. (south of Quance Dam to Regional
Rd. 21);
• (3) Big Otter Creek. (Bayham Twp.);
• (3) Little Otter Creek. (East branch of Big Otter
Creek);
• (3) Young’s (Ryerse) Creek. (mill dam on Lot 23,
Conc. III, Charlotteville Twp., to L. Erie).
• (4) Bayfield River. – ( Hwy. 4 to Hwy. 21);
• (4) Beaver River. (Thornbury Dam to Georgian
Bay);
• (4) Bighead River. (St. Vincent Twp.);
• (4) Bronte reeCk. (Hwy. 5 to the unopened road
allowance at Rebecca Street, Oakville);
17
• (4) Grand River. (line across 100 m (328 ft.)
downstream of the Hwy. 2 bridge, Paris,
downstream to pedestrian and service bridge
upstream (west) of Brant Conservation Area,
Brantford);
• (4) Hog Creek. (C.P.R. bridge to Georgian Bay);
• (4) Humber River. (Eglinton Ave. to Steeles Ave.,
Toronto);
• (4) Little Sauble River. (Hwy. 21 to L. Huron);
• (4) Maitland River. (County Rd. 4 to Hwy. 21);
• (4) Nine Mile (Lucknow) River. (County Rd. 86 to L.
Huron);
• (4) North River. (MacLaughlins Falls to Matchedash
Bay (Georgian Bay);
• (4) Sauble River. ( Sauble Falls L. Huron);
• (4) Saugeen River. (Truax Dam (Walkerton) to
westerly edge of the abutments of Denny’s Dam);
• (4) Sturgeon River. and tributaries (including mouth
of Sturgeon River. at Georgian Bay);
• (6) Northumberland County (all waters downstream
of Hwy. 2, except Ganaraska R. which may only be
fished downstream of the south side of the C.P.R.
bridge);
• (6) Regional Municipality of Durham (all waters
between Hwy. 2 to the southerly limit of the C.N.R.
right-of-way).
First Saturday in May- September 30 (4) Maitland River.
June 1- September 30 (4) Judge Creek.,
(4) Mill Creek.,
(4) Orchard (Centreville) Creek.,
(4) Parkhead Creek.,
(4) Pretty River.,
(4) Silver Creek.
18
Appendix 2. Ontario waters currently having exceptions to the catch and possession limit for
rainbow trout.
Catch limit by license type Possession limit by license type
Waterbody (Division) Sport Conservation Sport Conservation
• (4) Credit River and
tribs – upstream of Old
Baseline Road Bridge
• (4) Grand River –
between the former
town of Paris and
Brantford from a line
across the Grand River
in Paris at 100 m
downstream of the
Hwy. 2 bridge
downstream to the
pedestrian and service
bridge that crosses the
Grand River on an
angle upstream (west)
of the Brant
Conservation Area in
the City of Brantford
• (4) Grand River:
between the West
Garafraxa 2nd Line and
Scotland Street in the
Town of Fergus;
between Tower Street
in the Town of Fergus
and the Bissell Dam in
Nichol Twp.; between
100 m (328 ft.)
downstream of a bridge
located at the southern
boundary of the Elora
Gorge Conservation
Area and a point 100 m
(328 ft.) upstream of
Pilkington 2nd Line in
Pilkington Twp.
between 100 m (328
ft.) downstream of
Pilkington 2nd Line
bridge and 100 m (328
ft.) upstream of
Pilkington Twp. and
Woolwich Twp.
boundary line; between
100 m (328 ft.)
downstream of
0 0 0 0
19
Pilkington Twp. and
Woolwich Twp.
boundaryline and 100
m (328 ft.) upstream of
Hwy. 86 bridge.
• (3) All of the rivers and
streams and
watersheds in the Twp.
of Bosanquet and
those portions of
Sarnia, Plympton, and
Warwick Twps. north of
Hwy. #402 in Lambton
County; and in
Middlesex County
including the entire
Twps. of West
Williams, East Williams
and McGillivary.
• (4) All of the rivers and
streams and their
watersheds flowing into
Lake Huron and
Georgian Bay in Bruce,
Dufferin, Grey, Huron,
Perth and Simcoe
counties.
• (18&19) all tribs of Lk.
Superior
2 1 2 1
• (3&4) Grand River
(Wilkes Dam,Brantford
to Lk. Erie) (Oct. 1 –
Dec. 31)
1 0 1 0
• (4) Whiteman’s Ck.
(part of aggregate
catch), (21&33) all tribs
of Lk. Superior
1 1 1 1
• (16) Big Sound of Parry
Sound 3 2 3 2
20
Appendix 3. Current (2005) special regulations for rainbow trout in Ontario. (OMNR, 2005)
• (4) Grand River: 4 (between the
West Garafraxa 2nd Line and
Scotland Street in the Town of
Fergus; between Tower Street in
the Town of Fergus and the
Bissell Dam in Nichol Twp.;
between 100 m (328 ft.)
downstream of a bridge located
at the southern boundary of the
Elora Gorge Conservation Area
and a point 100 m (328 ft.)
upstream of Pilkington 2nd Line
in Pilkington Twp.; between 100
m (328 ft.) downstream of
Pilkington 2nd Line bridge and
100 m (328 ft.) upstream of
Pilkington Twp. and Woolwich
Twp. boundary line; between 100
m (328 ft.) downstream of
Pilkington Twp. and Woolwich
Twp. Boundary line and 100 m
(328 ft.) upstream of Hwy. 86
bridge).
• Artificial lures with a single barbless hook
must be used.
• (4) Grand River – between the
former town of Paris and
Brantford from a line across the
Grand River in Paris at 100 m
downstream of the Hwy. 2 bridge
downstream to the pedestrian
and service bridge that crosses
the Grand River on an angle
upstream (west) of the Brant
Conservation Area in the City of
Brantford
• (4) Whiteman's Creek
• Artificial lures with a barbless hook must
be used.
• (4) Credit River and tributaries -
upstream of Old Baseline Road,
Town of Caledon, Regional
Municipality of Peel.
• Artificial lures with a single barbless hook
must be used.
• No live organic bait allowed.
• (18) East Goulais River (from
Laughing Lake in Menard Twp. to
the Goulais River).
• (18) Garden River (from Ranger
Lake to Garden Lake).
• Only artificial flies can be used as bait.
• (21) Arrow River
• Barbless hooks must be used.
• Only artificial lures can be used as bait
between the Robbins/Hartington Township Line
and its confluence with the Pigeon River in Devon
Twp.
• Only artificial flies can be used as bait
21
between the dam on Arrow Lake (Hardwick Twp.)
and the Robbins/Hartington Township line.
(4) Grand River – between the
former town of Paris and
Brantford from a line across the
Grand River in Paris at 100 m
downstream of the Hwy. 2 bridge
downstream to the pedestrian
and service bridge that crosses
the Grand River on an angle
upstream (west) of the Brant
Conservation Area in the City of
Brantford
• No fishing from Mar. 1 to Friday before the
last Saturday in April. For brown and rainbow
trout, walleye, northern pike and smallmouth
bass.

1 comment:

roland_thomas said...

What is the appropreiate reference for this report? I would like to refer to it in some material I am planning to submit to the MNR peiople responsible for the regs on the Ganaraska river.