|Seventeen-inch laker caught and released by Jerime Williams|
That statement might seem confusing to people who are not familiar with the lake trout situation in Red Lake. After all, don't you want to always catch big lake trout?
No. No you don't. During the 1980s and '90s Red Lake gained the reputation of having some of the largest lake trout anywhere. They were plentiful and easy to catch and as a result there was a colossal over-harvest. The curious thing was no one caught little lakers. Around the year 2000 studies showed there just weren't any. It was also found that the few remaining mature trout, almost all located in Pipestone Bay, were not successfully reproducing although they were found to be perfectly healthy.
This began a 17-year long program by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to renew the trout population and bring back the fishery. Hundreds of volunteers as well as camps and businesses have joined in. About a million fingerlings reared from Red Lake's own wild trout have been released in the lake. The planted fish can be identified by a missing fin. The MNRF clips a different fin each year.
Meanwhile naturally-spawned fish are showing up in anglers' catches as well. Bow Narrows angler Jerime Williams holds one in the photo up top. It has all its fins.
All lake trout must be released on Red Lake while this species rebuilds. Regulations also require anglers to only use lures with single barbless hooks and not to use any bait, alive or dead.
|Brother Jason with a hefty northern pike|
|Bald eagle is locked onto a prey item. Jason and Jerime Williams photos|