Our lakes are located in Fisheries Management Zone 15. FMZ 15 ranges from Georgian Bay in the west to the Ottawa River in the East and the northern edge of Algonquin Park to the northern edge of the Kawartha Lakes south of Bancroft.
Historically our four lakes have been superb Lake trout waters. Indeed a lake trout weighing in excess of 59 pounds was caught in Carson Lake. Carson Lake is one of 174 natural lake trout lakes in FMZ 15 outside of Algonquin Park. Trout Lake is designated a PGT (put, grow, take) lake. Each year, in the Spring, about 1300 Manitou strain “lakers” are stocked by MNRF in Trout Lake. I note that one year shows 3300, but I believe this is a typo. These stocked fish are yearlings, and they are about 8 inches long. Now, the latest science indicates that fish hatched from eggs native to the lake do better as their genetic makeup, unique to the lake from which they are taken, have adapted to those waters over thousands of years. I hope to work with MNRF and others to perhaps organize a program to collect native eggs from the Trout Lake spawning shoals, hatch them, and stock “native” lakers back in these waters.
Lake trout are a prized species among anglers. They provide an economic opportunity for tourist operators, bait and tackle retailers and more–and fun for my grandkids too–did I mention that? The lake trout fishery in FMZ 15 is in critical condition. We are over-exploiting this precious resource. There is only one lake in FMZ 15 for which exploitation is occurring at a sustainable level, and even for that lake, the “margin of error” is such that it too may indeed be overexploited. Lakers are a cold-water fish and water quality is critical for this species. We test water quality annually and encourage property owners to help. Climate change and shoreline damage also affect habitat.
I am participating in an MNRF Citizen Advisory Committee providing input from members of our Association. MNRF will seek public input on ideas for regulations to sustain and improve fishing in FMZ 15. Let me just say that the science I have seen already is amazing. If you catch a “fin-clipped laker”, that is a stocked fish from Lake Manitou–if it is not fin-clipped, it is probably a native “laker”–consider releasing it. Be sure you read the Fishing Regulations before you fish.
If you have any ideas for an improved fishery or want to participate on the fishing committee, please let me know. ~Al Best