Inland Fishing Amendment Approved

Originally Published in the February 1994 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.

The following News Release entitled “Approval of Inland Fishing Agreement will Delay Border Water Regulation Changes Until February 1994” was received from the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The Ministry of Natural resources has announced public review results for a proposed catch and release angling requirement for non-resident (non-Canadians) fishing inland waters adjacent to Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods. The public review period closed on December 23rd.

Under the proposed regulation, non-residents will be allowed to fish catch and release on inland waters with an Ontario sport fishing license, but will not be permitted to keep fish of any species unless staying at an Ontario tourist facility or owning property in the affected area. Immediate relatives of property owners will also be exempt from the requirement. Fish eaten are considered fish kept, under existing regulations.

“There was strong public support for making the change on inland waters in Fort Frances MNR District including Atikokan and a portion of Dryden District in the vicinity of Upper Manitou Lake,” said Mike Willick, MNR District Manager in Fort Frances. “We will proceed with approving the amendment for these areas,” Mr. Willick added.

“The inland change is not being made in the southeastern portion of Kenora District as originally proposed, to allow for further discussion with interest groups there,” said Gord Pyzer, MNR District Manager in Kenora.

Walleye and lake trout over-harvest problems exist on inland lakes within a day’s drive of the international border. A substantial amount of fish harvested from these inland waters is taken by Minnesota-based anglers who fish in Ontario for the day and return to Minnesota at night.

“The first major step in resolving the inland conservation problems was taken in 1989 with a reduction in the lake trout limit from three to two in the Fort Frances area for all anglers,” said Mr. Willick. “This change will occur in the Atikokan area in 1994,” he added. “The catch and release requirement for non-resident anglers is a necessary second step.”

During the review of the inland proposal, the public offered other recommendations for management changes. Although these recommendations do not form part of the inland amendment, MNR will continue discussing possible further changes with the public through 1994.

“A decision has been made to integrate the inland change with border water regulations announced by Minister Howard Hampton on November 4th,” said Mr. Willick. “Since integration, of the two regulations will take some time, implementation of both changes will be delayed until February 1994.”

The border water changes announcement in November will require non-residents holding a regular sport fishing license to fish catch and release on Lake of the Woods, Rainy River and Rainy Lake, unless exempted as above. Those that purchase a seasonal Border Water Conservation Tag will be allowed to keep reduced limits on Lake of the Woods and the South Arm of Rainy Lake, and full limits on Rainy River. The previous requirement for a Daily Angling Validation Tag will be eliminated effective January 1, 1994.

Since Minnesota did not provide a portion of its share of the South Arm Rainy Lake walleye harvest to be taken by Minnesota-based day anglers on the Ontario side, the walleye limit for non-residents fishing the South Arm will be zero starting in February, 1994, unless such anglers are exempted as stated earlier. Ontario had offered to issue jaw tags in the amount designated by Minnesota for use by its day anglers.

Regulation changes that will be in effect for all anglers on January 1, 1994 are, for Rainy Lake: a new size limit for walleye in which fish must be 35 to 45 cm long or over 70 cm to be legal; a reduction in the walleye limit from six to three, of which only one may be greater than 70 cm; and boundary extensions for fish sanctuaries at Squirrel Falls and Rat River Bay. On Rainy River, no walleye over 50 cm in length may be possessed from March 1 to April 14.

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