Plans for 2014 were developed at a half day meeting at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Aurora offices on February 27, 2014. Attendees included all of the key players from the MNR, Sir Sandford Fleming College, the OFAH and Muskies Canada (Jim Kelly, Dave Boxall, Andy Pappas and Ian Young). Particular attention was given to increasing the number of hours trap netting for spawning Muskellunge in Gloucester Pool in May, and to expanding the monitored fishing program.
We have a great partnership with the Ontario MNR and most of their Lake Simcoe area biologists are very supportive of the muskellunge fishery and our LSMRP. In late April the MNR was electro fishing for walleye and watching out for muskies at the mouth of the Talbot River. The MNR captured and obtained fin clips for genetic testing from 7 adult muskies in two days. Some of these fish may be from those stocked by us in the mid to late 2000`s. There were also incidental sightings of muskies and catches by ice fishermen and early season cottagers.
The spring egg collection on Gloucester Pool was a huge success. The lead coordinator was Gabrielle Liddle, a biologist from the MNR, and she did a superb job organizing and coordinating the effort. We were well supported with volunteers from Muskies Canada and Wil Wegman, Brent Shirley and Adam Challice of the MNR. We obtained and fertilized eggs from 4 ripe females. The hatchery at Sir Sandford Fleming College is bulging at the seams with 22,000 fry and the MNR`s Blue Jay Creek hatchery at Manitoulin is also full. Our plan is to release 8 to 10 inch fingerlings into the Lake in the fall.
The monitored fishing program has been expanded in 2014 to help determine the current status of our program to reestablish a self-sustaining population of muskellunge into Lake Simcoe.. Although there is a closed season for muskellunge in Lake Simcoe, authorized members of Muskies Canada are being allowed to fish for muskies in the Lake from May 10 to December 31. Captured fish will have several scales removed for genetic testing and then be live released. Trap and hoop netting will also be carried out by the local conservation arm of the MNR. The target number of net sets is 90, concentrating on areas where fingerlings have been stocked by us.