Friday, October 3, 2014

Lake trout spawning project one of best in years

Jeff King carries trout from pens to Eagle Falls' pontoon boat

Toby Braithewaite strips eggs into bowl held by Tori Toews and Nadine Thebeau assists
Pam Dietrich tags each fish before it is released

Ministry of Natural Resources fish and wildlife personnel are all but finished with the 2014 lake trout spawning project and have had great success in gathering plenty of eggs for the hatchery.
For about two weeks now two three-person crews have been netting the lake and gathering lake trout which were kept in underwater pens off our main dock at camp. Twice the trout were stripped of eggs and milt and released back to the water. The final tally of fertilized eggs wasn't known today but it seems it would be in excess of 200,000.
Depending on egg mortality that should mean perhaps 100,000 trout fingerlings will be reared by the Dorion, Ont., fish hatchery and will be planted back into Red Lake in 18 months.
I believe this is the 12th year of the project and was one of the best in egg collecting. It seems the fish and wildlife crews captured the trout at exactly the right moment when they were ready to spawn.
It should be noted that three camps helped with the project this year. For starters, trout caught two years ago were released this spring when the MNR crews and hatchery truck drove right down to the lake at Black Bear Lodge. Those fingerlings were released by the MNR, assisted by staff and guests from Black Bear Lodge and Bow Narrows Camp, in the Potato Island basin.
For several years now the MNR has used Eagle Falls Lodge's pontoon boat as sort of a giant MASH tent to strip the eggs. It has proved ideal.
Bow Narrows has been providing meals and accommodations to the fish and wildlife crews from the beginning of the project.
The spawning program was begun 12 years ago when the trout population plummeted and it was discovered there were almost no young trout in the lake. The reason for the lack of reproduction is still a mystery; however, natural regeneration has begun again in some areas and boosted by the stocking program, the trout population is beginning to build again.
Our anglers are catching more and more trout each year now. All trout must be released immediately. Other regulations require anglers to use single barbless hooks and not to use live or dead bait.

Pontoon boat tied to our dock with underwater pens at right
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