Sandfield landowner recites litany of Ministry of Natural Resources pratfalls

To the Expositor:

First the MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) netted nearly all our stock of Whitefish in Lake Manitou to get spawn to plant in Lake Huron for commercial fisherman. One can hardly catch a whitefish now.

They started to take lake trout spawn from Lake Manitou years ago until my dad, uncle and taxpayers demanded a meeting with them (then known as Fish and Wildlife). Out of the meeting both sides agreed to take so many trout eggs and in return put back so many trout fingerlings. This agreement worked well for many years. Now MNR personnel are not sticking to that agreement.

The MNR are taking spawn and are not going to put back any fingerlings, so I heard, for three or four years.

Also they netted big pickerel out of Lake Manitou to put in Lake Kagawong and a lot of the big fish died. Now they are robbing Lake Manitou of pickerel spawn to put the young pickerel all over the North, but really stocking Lake Kagawong to make heroes of themselves at the expense of Lake Manitou because they won’t put pickerel eyed eggs or pickerel fingerlings back in Lake Manitou.

They have kept the water so high in the fall and spring that they have washed the shoreline badly on the trout spawning beds. Not only have they ruined a lot of the shoreline, they have ruined the Manitou River as a trout stream with the silt from the washed banks of the river.

My father looked after the old dam in Sandfield. He controlled the water levels and we had a trout stream for five generations. But not anymore.

The MNR changed the deer season. Now they have bow, rifle and black powder seasons and everyone can shoot bucks but not does and fawns.

Therefore what is happening is we don’t have many big bucks left so our deer herd is going to get like the deer in Michigan; small deer. They get a lot of money from licences. Landowners who pay taxes on their land and feed the deer should not have to send in for an anterless deer tag.

Getting back to Lake Manitou, I have winter fished it for 80 years and never saw the ice fishing so bad. I could always catch small trout at 90-100 feet but now there does not seem to be many small trout to catch.

Another thing that frustrates me is they set many gill nets two years ago and killed a lot of fish just to sample the fish health.

Why didn’t they get samples from fisherman’s catches instead of killing a whole lot of healthy fish? It is time Manitoulin started telling the MNR what they can do on private land. Let them look after Crown land, not private land.

Also they came to South Bay and set up a research station. There were lots of fish in South Bay. What they did was net fish and dissect them with a lot of students in the summer. They dragged the perch beds and took almost all the beds out. They had a person hired with a backhoe to bury all the fish they killed.

Last fall, they had the Manitou River almost dried up because they said they needed Lake Manitou at a high level to run their fish ponds next door. All they have to do is to not allow the river to dry up and kill all the salmon eggs that were hatched last fall and install a few aerators in each pond like the fish farms do. The fish farms raise big fish in a very small area using aerators. Now it is spring and the Manitou River is flooding over the banks. One other point is that the MNR brought in fishers. They released them all over the Island without permission or the knowledge of the municipalities. Fishers prey on rabbits and partridge. Now both rabbits and partridge are scarce all over the Island. Also, I sold minnows for many years and did not need a licence. The MNR bluffed their way and demanded that I buy a licence to catch and sell a few minnows. This costs $361.60 a year. I own the land on both sides of the river so it makes no sense to me as it is not Crown land.

J.D. Hutchinson
Sandfield