Province to reconsider stocking of lake trout in Burnt Island area

MANITOULIN—With the abundance of lake trout naturally reproducing in the Duck Islands-Burnt Island area, and the prevalence of lamprey, the Upper Great Lakes Management Unit, Ministry (UGLMU) of Natural Resources (MNR), is taking another look at a proposal to stock a significant amount of lake trout in that area.

“I am cautiously optimistic with what we got out of the UGLMU-MNR reps at the meeting,” Drew Purvis of Purvis Brothers Fishery told the Recorder on Monday.

The UGLMU-MNR held a meeting with representatives of Fisheries Management Units last Saturday.

“They told us much of what they have been saying for a long time,” said Mr. Purvis. “They are looking at stocking lake trout, regardless of any concerns that are raised, and they are trying to figure out if there is a way to do this better by limiting commercial or sport fishing.”

“They are proposing to stock 312,000-plus fish in this area Burnt Island-Duck Islands,” said Mr. Purvis. “But we had them humming and hawing in regards to our concerns with this. Information shows there is over 50 percent natural reproduction of lake trout, so we feel strongly they shouldn’t be planting more lake trout in our area waters.” He pointed out as well, the MNR proposal would see areas not stocked with more lake trout if evidence shows there are five sea lamprey wounds per 100 trout inspected, “but we get about 10 wounds for every 100 lake trout we see here,” said Mr. Purvis. “They indicated that if there is above five wounds per 100 fish (caused by sea lamprey) it could be detrimental to trout.”

“As I said at the meeting, between the lamprey and natural reproduction of lake trout already, they shouldn’t be looking at planting more here,” stated Mr. Purvis. “There is already a large population of lake trout around now; the ministry has never planted lake trout in this area before, and they are still reproducing, so why bring the ones from the provincial hatcheries to stock here? They indicated at the meeting that with all this evidence in place, maybe they shouldn’t be stocking more fish here and will be reviewing the area once again.”

Mr. Purvis explained that the MNR proposal includes Parry Sound and South Baymouth as two of three areas that are not being currently looked at for stocking of the lake trout in the province, because they too have proven to be natural reproduction areas.

“If they don’t plant the lake trout in the Duck Islands they will look at stocking these fish somewhere else,” said Mr. Purvis. “They said they will be reviewing our concerns and the proposal for this area.” He noted from Little Current to Gore Bay the proposal for 520,938 lake trout to be stocked remains in place.

As reported previously, Manitoulin area waters have been slated to be stocked with over 800,000 lake trout per year (from 2012-2020) as part of a proposed Lake Trout rehabilitation (LTR) plan released by the Upper Great Lakes Management Unit-Ontario MNR. The LTR plan has a list of 17 priority stocking locations in the province, four deferred and 12 the province is proposing for stocking to take place.

Tom Sasvari