As the Ontario government continues to review fishing regulations for Lake of the Woods, anglers are reminded that changes won’t be taking effect this summer.
The province and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry say studies show the walleye population on Lake of the Woods is vulnerable with high harvest rates, a decrease in biomass and high mortality rates within the local walleye population.
As a result, the MNRF is proposing to lower walleye catch limits to 2 fish with a Sport License and to 1 fish with a Conservation License.
Public comments were taken earlier this year and the draft Lake of the Woods Recreational Walleye Plan is still under review.
This means that current walleye and sauger catch limits will remain in effect for northwestern Ontario for the 2023 season, which kicks off this weekend.
The Walleye and Sauger season starts every year on the third Saturday of May (May 20, 2023) and runs until December 31 in Zones 4 and 5, with some waterbody exceptions in northwestern Ontario.
Zone 4 covers the Red Lake, Lac Seul, Minnitaki Lake and Sydney Lake areas. Zone 5 is mostly made up of areas near Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Narrows and Fort Frances.
As it stands, Canadian residents with a Sport Fishing Licence may retain four walleye and sauger combined in most parts of Zones 4 and 5, while those with Conservation Fishing Licences may only retain two fish.
However, anglers on the Winnipeg River system, Rainy Lake, Rainy River and the Seine River system should be aware that caught walleyes must be between 35 and 45cm in length to be in accordance with Ontario’s Fishing Regulations.
Anglers are also reminded to be safe this weekend and all summer long as boaters are eager to get back on the waterways. Happy fishing!