There was a ton of confusion this spring among anglers concerning the closure on the Winnipeg River of Lake Sturgeon. Last week the province came out with a two page document outlining the current guidelines concerning this issue. Here is part of that release
“Sustainable Development continues to assess Lake Sturgeon populations. While populations have grown despite incidental catch and release, more information is required to understand the impacts of the practice on Lake Sturgeon, including how the populations might respond to increased angling pressure. This information will be used to determine when the closure may be relaxed or lifted.
A university study is also planned for 2018-2021 to assess the impact of catch and release angling on Lake Sturgeon. This study follows a preliminary study that suggested direct catch and release mortality on Lake Sturgeon on the Winnipeg River is low. But more data is needed for a solid conclusion. Manitoba Sustainable Development staff will continue to evaluate the Manitoba Lake Sturgeon Management Strategy, including reviewing management goals for Winnipeg River populations, in consultation with resource users.
NO NEW ENFORCEMENT PLANNED
The department will not be launching any new enforcement activities at this time. Conservation Officers will be on normal patrol this fishing season to ensure the laws respecting sturgeon are clear to the public. In the meantime, anglers are asked to be careful in handling and caring for incidental Lake Sturgeon catches.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HOOK A STURGEON?
To minimize harm to the fish and to ensure the highest possible survival rate, use best handling techniques. Have tools ready for hook removal and release fish immediately. If safe to do so, remove the hook without taking the fish out the water. Proper handling will help the ongoing recovery of Lake Sturgeon. If you catch a tagged Lake Sturgeon, please record the tag number and the date and location of capture. Then, report your information to the Eastern Regional Fisheries Biologist at 204-345-1426 or call toll free at 1-800-214-6497.”