Ontario Catch & Release: Walleye, Northern Pike, & Lake Trout Fishing
We have implemented a size ruling on the Medicine Stone Lake System and at the outpost camps whereby you are not allowed to keep any Walleye over 18 inches, no Northern Pike over 27 inches, and no Lake Trout over 22 inches. Only two Walleyes per day per guest for consumption is permitted. This has been implemented to ensure the fishing remains top notch for years to come.
When you are out on that lake and catching Walleyes, Pike, and Lakers like crazy, you will appreciate that’s it better to catch 100 fish in a day and only eat two versus working your butt off all day trying to catch three or four fish in a lake with no conservation policy implemented.
Fish Handling and Conservation Policy (CPR)
Catch your trophy, photograph it, and release it. Have a taxidermist create a fish mount from your photos. Our “No Trophies Home” policy has preserved our fishery since 2005 and explains why our fishing is so good and improving each year.
All of our lakes have a strict “No Trophies Home” policy to insure our fisheries remain the quality that makes our guests return year after year. This also includes the policies of “Catch and Release, Consumption of Smaller Fish Only”.
The trophy fish provide their genes to the next generation. Natural selection insures that the next generation of fish is strong.
Help us protect our fishery. Ontario fishing regulations limit fish size and the number of fish that can be kept. We have an edge over most fisheries as when you visit one of our fly-in lakes, you are most likely to be the only fisherman on the waters. Despite this, we have to practice conservation to insure the continuing success of our fishery.
We encourage you to return trophies and larger fish to the lake so they can spawn again. The larger the fish, the greater the amount of spawn. The larger the fish, the chance that its genes will produce other trophy fish. Female fish choose strong males to be their spawning partner. Stronger, larger female fish often pair with larger stronger males. While this is not a firm rule, it is often the case. Please handle fish to be released with care to insure their survival.
Handling fish properly will insure that a released fish will survive to spawn and be caught again. Wet your hands before touching a fish. Lift a fish carefully and lift it horizontally giving support along the length of the fish with two hands.
When a fish is caught, limit the time you play the fish. Exhausting your fish before netting it will mean that it is less likely to survive if released. A released fish needs to have some strength left to survive. It must have enough energy to re-oxygenate its own blood. An exhausted fish my swim away only to die a few minutes later, out of sight and out of mind. The longer you keep a fish out of water, the more strength it needs to re-oxygenate its blood when released. You can’t go without oxygen for a minute or longer and neither can a fish! Limit the time you keep a fish out of water to a minute or less to insure its safety.
Dispatching a fish that is to be kept in a timely manner is the best way and the humane way to deal with your catch. Two or three sharp blows with a weighted, blunt instrument, striking the fish between and slightly behind the eyes is the best way to dispatch a fish. Any 12 to 24 inch hardwood will work. A length of one inch galvanized pipe will work. The broken handle of a paddle, cut to length will work. After you arrive at your camp, take a walk in the bush and find a dried hardwood branch that is about one inch or more in diameter and cut it to size with a camp saw.
Leaving a fish out of the water, to expire by suffocation is not humane. Leaving a fish on a stringer will often cause it to die slowly by suffocation as well.
Some day your photographs are going to tell some other fisherman how conscientious you are or are not! Taking photos of your fish is often the most common way of damaging a fish that is to be returned to the water. In the excitement we forget to take care. We must put fish handling rules first when taking photographs. Hold your fish horizontally at the water’s surface to remove hooks and to take a photograph.
A fish lifted for a picture will likely attempt to jump from your grasp! When lifting a fish use both hands, lift horizontally and over the water. Fish that jump from your hands and fall into the bottom of your boat, instead of falling in the water, are unlikely to survive for long if released. The protective slime covering of fish protects them from infection. When slime is removed by rough handling or from a fall, or from using dry hands, the fish is unlikely to survive if released even thought it looks healthy and is able to swim away with vigor.
The thoughtful and informed fisherman today uses barbless hooks. A barbless hook protects the fish as they are much easier to remove and only do a small fraction of the damage a barbed hook will do in the mouth of a fish. When a barbless hook is set after a strike, a fish is not likely to shake it out or spit it out if you keep your line tensioned. The barbs on your hooks can often be removed with side cutters. Better still, go to your tackle shop and purchase new barbless hooks and attach them to your lures.
Catch and Release – Fish Handling Tips
Don’t place your fingers in the gills of your fish. Don’t lift your fish by its eyes or touch its eyes. Fish placed on a stringer in the water cannot be released as they are unlikely to survive.