This Wednesday, folks from Alberta Environment and Parks will be in Slave Lake to talk about management plans for northern pike and walleye. There’s an update in process on those plans and the government would like to hear what you think about what’s proposed.
It’s happening on Jan. 17, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the government centre, next to the town offices in Slave Lake.
In an ad appearing in this newspaper, AE&P says it wants “to hear you thoughts on proposed recreational fisheries management objectives.”
According to talkaep.alberta.ca, the new management plan is for certain lakes in the northern half of the province. These are ones where walleye and pike are believed to be at risk. They include Fawcett Lake and Winagami Lake, but notably not Lesser Slave. The lakes up for ‘consultation’ are divided into zones. Winagami and Fawcett are in one; another includes Utikuma, Haig, Joker, Nipisi, Round and Muskwa Lakes, all of which are more or less north of Lesser Slave Lake.
For each of the zones a survey is attached. You have to register online to fill it out.
Looking over the draft report online, a few things stand out. One is that angler numbers per lake in Alberta are much higher than in Saskatchewan, Manitoba or Ontario. That’s because Alberta has far fewer lakes and – in the case of the other Prairie Provinces – more registered anglers. That’s one reason for pike and walleye to be in danger. Another is something you wouldn’t necessarily expect, but apparently studies show: fish in northern lakes are less fussy about what they bite. They are simply easier to catch than southern fish.
Each lake is dealt with individually in the report and each main fish species rated according to a ‘sustainability’ scale. Fawcett Lake, for example, shows both pike and walleye at ‘high risk,’ in Fawcett.
Further restrictions are almost certainly going to be proposed at the end of this consultation process. Exactly what and exactly where has yet to be determined.
Interested parties can ask questions about that and other aspects of fisheries management on Jan. 17.