Survey will collect data to help managers assess the health of the lake’s fish populations
In what managing director Carly Deacon calls “by far, one of our biggest projects,” the Manitoba Wildlife Federation is conducting a wide-ranging creel survey on Lake Winnipeg this winter. Slated to begin as soon as the ice is safe enough for travel, likely in early January, the survey will collect data to help fisheries managers assess the health of the lake’s fish populations.
“They have annual fish stock data, but their understanding of angling use and harvest could be significantly improved,” Deacon says, noting that the $367,000 in funding for the survey came from the province’s Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund (FWEF). “This is huge for the MWF. It’s new and exciting for us, and it ties in well with all our objectives on Lake Winnipeg’s fishery sustainability and management.”
To conduct the survey, MWF staff plan to approach anglers at Lake Winnipeg’s most popular access points as they arrive in the morning and come off the ice in the evening. Deacon says the surveyors will ask the anglers for details about what they caught, what they released, how much time they spent fishing, the duration of their trip and the overall quality of their experience. The anglers will also have an opportunity to comment on fisheries decisions and the overall management of Lake Winnipeg.
Along with being on hand to help conduct the creel survey, provincial fisheries biologists will provide the actual survey questions, then later compile and analyze the resulting data.
The MWF will also be using part of the FWEF funding to hire a recreational angling coordinator, who will be devoted to raising public awareness about all aspects of angling. “That includes our angling programs, seminars and recruitment efforts,” Deacon says. “It will also provide Manitoba anglers with more information about upcoming angling regulation changes the government is proposing.”
Learn more about the MWF’s programs and positions at www.mwf.mb.ca.