Jock River Embayment Creation Project (2014 – 2016)

In October 2014, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RCVA) constructed a fish habitat embayment at the Richmond conservation Area, located in Ottawa, Ontario. This project was done in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Shell Fueling Change, Muskies Canada Ottawa Chaper, National Defence Fish and Game Club, Community Foundation of Ottawa, Fendock and the Ottawa Flyfishers Society.

The project involved converting an existing grassed park area into a small wetland embayment along the shoreline of the Jock River. Raab Construction Ltd. was retained to help construct the new wetland and work couldn’t have been completed without the help of a group of dedicated volunteers.

A Spring Community tree planing day is planned for May 16th to complete the project.

For more information, contact:
Jennifer Lamoureux, Aquatic & Fish Habitat Biologist
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
613-692-3571 ext. 1108
jennifer.lamoureux@rvca.ca
http://rvca.ca/brewerpark/index.html

Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Project Wins Top Conservation Award (2010)

The Spring Fishing and Boat Show and its partners established a new award in 2010 for the top fishing conservation project of the year. The inaugural winner was Muskie Canada’s Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Project. This multi-year project is to reintroduce muskellunge into Lake Simcoe after an absence of about 30 years. The project is led by Dave Boxall, Project Manager, and Jim Kelly of Muskies Canada and Jason Borwick and Brad Allan of the Ontario MNR. It is supported by many partners, including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Sir Sandford Fleming College, Muskies Inc., Canadian Sportsman’s Shows, Bob Izumi’s Fishing Forever Foundation, Georgian Bay Hunters and Anglers and the Spring Fishing and Boat Show.

Project Noble Beast Muskie Catch and Release Study (2009 – 2011)

In the early eighties, the one and only study on the impacts of catch and release angling on muskellunge, concluded there was up to a 30% mortality rate of angled fish, likely due to the stress of the experience. Thirty years and numerous changes in tackle, fish handling techniques and angler knowledge, there was a need to re-examine the mortality rate of muskies that were caught by anglers using modern tackle and techniques. In 2009, Masters of Science candidate, Sean Landsman, undertook a field study, fondly referred to as Project Noble Beast, to determine the sub-lethal and lethal effects of the catch-and-release process using two different handling procedures (normal and gentle). The project required intense angling effort, which was carried out over the summer and fall muskellunge angling seasons in 2009 and 2010, yielding 77 muskies up to 52 inches long. Under the tutelage of Dr. Steven Cooke of Carleton University and Dr. Cory Suski of the University of Illinois, Sean collected blood samples used to assess the physiological impact of the angling process and these samples were compared to those obtained from fish sampled via electrofishing (control group baseline levels). Behaviour and survival were assessed by attaching radio transmitters to a sub-sample of 30 fish (15 per handling procedure) and tracking their movements.

Hedrik Wachelka of the Ottawa Chapter of Muskies Canada worked tirelessly with Sean to organize, fundraise and assist in angling muskies from the Ottawa and Rideau River systems. Hedriks efforts and those of the nearly two dozen other volunteers from Muskies Canada were instrumental in the completion of the project. Blood sample analysis revealed minimal physiological disturbances between handling treatments. Behaviours were similar for fish from each handling group. Perhaps most importantly, all radio-tagged fish survived the catch-and-release event making this finding of 0 percent mortality dramatically different from the 30 percent figure previously suggested for muskellunge. True zero percent mortality can never exist in a hook-and-line fishery, but muskellunge fishing mortality may indeed be negligible.

Sean has published the results of this research in Fisheries Research an International journal on fisheries science, fishing technology, and fisheries management, and is available by permission, here. Seans paper was also presented at the World Recreational Fishing Conference in Berlin, Germany in the summer of 2011 to very positive reviews. This original research will save countless muskie and other fishes lives worldwide in the future.

Major funding for this research effort was generated by Muskies Canada, various chapters of MCI, Muskies Inc, the Becker Foundation as well as support from Carleton U and various government agencies.

Muskies Canada Partners with Wounded Warriors Canada

Muskies Canada is proud to announce a new partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada to host a “Fishing in the Kawarthas” weekend at Scotsman Point Cottage Resort on Buckhorn Lake.

Fishing in the Kawarthas will provide ill and injured Veterans and their families with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while fishing for muskellunge in the company of experienced Muskies Canada anglers. What’s more, the event will provide a relaxing environment that will allow the participants the chance for respite, reflection and the ability to reconnect with their fellow Veterans and family members.

woundedWarriorsWounded Warriors Canada is a registered charity whose mission is to honour and support Canada’s ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, First Responders and their families.

 

cropped-muskies_canada_logo.pngMuskies Canada is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to Muskellunge angling, research and conservation. Muskellunge, or Muskie, is Canada’s apex freshwater predator and an important sport fish in eastern Canada. Muskies Canada anglers have boats and equipment well suited to host Wounded Warriors for a great weekend on the water.

“It is with great pride that Muskies Canada entered a partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada, to spend time on the water with veterans that have given so much to their country.  It not only will be an honour to spend time with these veterans but to show them that Muskies Canada acknowledges and is grateful for their sacrifices”, said Tyler Duncan, a Muskies Canada Board of Directors representative and Chair of the Upper Valley Chapter.

Wounded Warriors Canada Fishing in the Kawarthas weekend will be held at Scotsman Point Resort on Buckhorn Lake, August 25-28, 2017. Friday night feature a “Meet-and-Greet” get-together with and Saturday will be Muskie fishing day, teaming participants with Muskies Canada members.

Phil Ralph, National Program Director for Wounded Warriors Canada, commented, “We continue to witness first-hand the benefits of recreational programs that bring together Veterans and their families. We are proud to partner with Muskies Canada and Scotsman Point Resort on what will be a great annual event that provides our participants with important respite and the opportunity to reflect and reconnect.”

Scotsman Point Cottage Resort is a sponsor/supporter in the event and is donating accommodation for the Wounded Warriors Canada participants. “All of us at Scotsman Point Resort are very proud and honoured for the opportunity to provide the most courageous of Canadian citizens some well deserved relaxation and fun. We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with all of the partners involved in this memorable event”, said Leslie Clarkson, General Manager of Scotsman Point Resort.

For more information, please see:

Wounded Warriors

Muskies Canada

Scotsman Point Resort

Muskies Canada Partners with Wounded Warriors Canada

Muskies Canada is proud to announce a new partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada to host a “Fishing in the Kawarthas” weekend at Scotsman Point Cottage Resort on Buckhorn Lake.

Fishing in the Kawarthas will provide ill and injured Veterans and their families with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while fishing for muskellunge in the company of experienced Muskies Canada anglers. What’s more, the event will provide a relaxing environment that will allow the participants the chance for respite, reflection and the ability to reconnect with their fellow Veterans and family members.

woundedWarriorsWounded Warriors Canada is a registered charity whose mission is to honour and support Canada’s ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, First Responders and their families.

 

cropped-muskies_canada_logo.pngMuskies Canada is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to Muskellunge angling, research and conservation. Muskellunge, or Muskie, is Canada’s apex freshwater predator and an important sport fish in eastern Canada. Muskies Canada anglers have boats and equipment well suited to host Wounded Warriors for a great weekend on the water.

“It is with great pride that Muskies Canada entered a partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada, to spend time on the water with veterans that have given so much to their country.  It not only will be an honour to spend time with these veterans but to show them that Muskies Canada acknowledges and is grateful for their sacrifices”, said Tyler Duncan, a Muskies Canada Board of Directors representative and Chair of the Upper Valley Chapter.

Wounded Warriors Canada Fishing in the Kawarthas weekend will be held at Scotsman Point Resort on Buckhorn Lake, August 25-28, 2017. Friday night feature a “Meet-and-Greet” get-together with and Saturday will be Muskie fishing day, teaming participants with Muskies Canada members.

Phil Ralph, National Program Director for Wounded Warriors Canada, commented, “We continue to witness first-hand the benefits of recreational programs that bring together Veterans and their families. We are proud to partner with Muskies Canada and Scotsman Point Resort on what will be a great annual event that provides our participants with important respite and the opportunity to reflect and reconnect.”

Scotsman Point Cottage Resort is a sponsor/supporter in the event and is donating accommodation for the Wounded Warriors Canada participants. “All of us at Scotsman Point Resort are very proud and honoured for the opportunity to provide the most courageous of Canadian citizens some well deserved relaxation and fun. We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with all of the partners involved in this memorable event”, said Leslie Clarkson, General Manager of Scotsman Point Resort.

For more information, please see:

Wounded Warriors

Muskies Canada

Scotsman Point Resort

Fish of A Lifetime

Sometimes a fish is more than a fish.  This remarkable story came to me from a good friend who has taken up guiding this year.  Read on and when you get to the end, take a moment to send some positive energy Bill’s way and remember to enjoy every moment.

“Being a guide can be rewarding. Bill was my guest for two days. He has inoperable cancer so he’s been travelling the world to catch fish on his “Bucket List”.

His wish was to catch his first Muskie and to catch a 50 inch fish. He had never caught a Muskie before and catching (and releasing) a Muskie was now at the top of his “Bucket List”. That’s a tall order for any guide.

The first day he worked very hard, casting big blades all day. This can be very tiring. We caught Pike but no Muskie. As it got dark we set up a trolling run so he could take a break and sure enough, he the reel went off and he caught and released his first Muskie, a nice 38″ fish. He finished the first day a happy man.

Day two, we now needed to find a big fish to fulfil the second part of his wish.
Anyone that fishes for Muskies knows that it’s not so easy to find and catch them and the really big ones are very elusive. This is where being a guide helps. When you are on the water a lot, you see patterns and seasonal activity that enhances your knowledge.

I really wanted to get him connected with a giant so we worked hard as the day progressed. I knew he was tired and sore after two days of casting but I encouraged him to keep going. He did.

As soon as his cast hit the water there was a big swirl and his rod bent over double as he set the hook. I could see that it was a big one. As he tried to bring it to the boat the fish had other ideas and went the other way. When it came around, I could see that if we could get it close enough to net, he would have his 50 incher. As the fish came into the net we could also see how fat she was. Nice fish.

I brought it into the boat for him. We did a quick measurement. 50.5 inches long by 22 inch girth. He couldn’t lift this big fish so we put on his lap for a quick photo. Back in the water after that and we were left with that great feeling of “mission accomplished”. He smiled and said, “I’m done! Take me back now. I’ve caught my fish of a lifetime.”

There’s no better feeling as a guide than helping someone fulfill their wishes.”

fishoralifetime

 

2017 Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Program

The following weekly updates were sent to Muskies Canada and Orillia Fish and Game Club reps as well as some key MNRF staff, each week during the five week trapnetting program. Periodically additional information was provided (and included in the updates) by hatchery staff after the trapnetting and our egg collections efforts were finished.

Thank you for your support of the Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Program – Wil Wegman

trapnetting01

Read/download the full report by clicking the link below (PDF – 4.7 MB)
2017 Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Program – Combined Spring Trapnetting, Egg Collection and Hatchery Weekly Updates – Gloucester Pool and Georgian Bay-Port Severn
April 18 – June 30, 2017

Muskie Sunday

Every year there is a special event at the Spring Fishing and Boat Show (SFBS). We call it MUSKIE SUNDAY.

This year it happened on February 19. The doors opened at 7.30 am and we started at 8.00. We had over 300 people come in early to be part of the action. Big Jim McLaughlan was the host and MC for the event.

Great Speakers:
The folks that organize the overall Show are very good to Muskies Canada. They bring in top-notch speakers and group them together in one powerhouse session.james-linder-jeremy-smith

This year we had US experts James Linder and Jeremy Smith who gave a terrific presentation about using in-line spinners; the bait that has revolutionized muskie fishing. They fish hard in highly pressured waters in Minnesota and Lake of the Woods and shared some tactics that work well for them.

John Anderson gave us a rousing presentation called “Ontario Muskies Rock!”. He let everyone know that Eastern Ontario john-andersonand Western Québec make up one of the best but often overlooked muskie hotspots in the world. He identified 5 zones that provide world-class muskie fishing: The Lower Ottawa River; Lake of Two Mountains, Lake St. Louis (Montreal); Lake St. Francis, and The Upper St. Lawrence between Cornwall and Kingston. John is sure that the next world record will come from these waters.

Gord Pyzer brought us the NW Ontario perspective and told us many stories about some of the baigord-pyzerts he uses. He challenged us to break out of our ordinary approach to find and work current breaks, to use the surface (topwater), and especially to consider fishing the bottom with jigs and soft plastics. He suggested that we use something that the fish may not have seen before or to fish an area in a way that is slightly different.

Arunas Liskauskas is probably the most knowledgeable person in the world about Georgian Bay muskies, having worked for almost 30 years with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. arunas-liskauskasArunas talked about the distribution and characteristics of the muskie populations in and around Georgian Bay. He shared some valuable information that has come from research and tracking done by the Ministry in association with McMaster University. Doctoral candidate Dan Weller of McMaster was the recipient of Muskies Canada’s Ed Crossman Research Education award, which helped with the work he’s been doing on “The Bay” with Arunas and MNRF.

Marc Thorpe talked about the important work that has been going on the Ottawa River in association with the Québec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife & Parks. This tagging and sampling study is gathering DNA for detailed genomic analysis at Université Laval. It is also using a non-lethal aging technique using the ray of a caudal fin. These sampled fish are tagged and released so they can be monitored. About 10 volunteers from the Ottawa chapter participated in 2016 and sampled over 100 fish.

This data will give the Québec ministry much more information about how to manage this unique population of muskies. Marc also reminded us of the importance of fish handling. His own approach is to never even take the fish out of the water and he showed us some great examples of spectacular photos, above and below the water, of fish in the cradle. His concern about not over-stressing fish that are caught and released was evident throughout the presentation.

Muskie Sunday as a Fundraiser for Muskies Canada Projects
Not only were the speakers great but also we had tremendous support from the angling industry to help us put some great prizes out on the prize tables and into the silent auction. The big crowd was eager to bid for some hot stuff. Shimano graciously donated a brand-new Tranx 400 reel, one of only a handful that have arrived in Canada. Shimano launched these new 300 and 400 series Tranx at the show and it was a very hot item. Abu Garcia helped with lots of unique items; Hose Baits had some fantastic lures on the table. We had great products from St. Croix rods, Handlebarz lures, Figure Ate guiding service, Waterwolf, Beaver baits, Sandy Haven Lodge (Nipissing), Scotsman Point Lodge (Lower Buckhorn), and many, many more.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the terrific enthusiasm of participants, Muskies Canada was able to raise over $6000 to go to our important projects. This will help us greatly in our work to ensure the sustainability and success of Canada’s muskies for generations to come.

Thank you to the Spring Fishing and Boat Show, Muskies Canada’s tireless volunteers and to everyone who came out to Muskie Sunday. It was a huge success. For Muskies Canada members, if you missed it, we have filmed the all of the sessions and will put them up on-line Members Area in the video section.

Rideau River Muskie Study

Read/download the full thesis  by clicking the link below (PDF – 552 KB)
Comparative spatial ecology of sympatric adult muskellunge and northern pike during a one-year period in an urban reach of the Rideau River, Canada

Abstract: The reach of the Rideau River that flows through Ottawa, Ontario supports a recreational fishery for northern pike (Esox lucius) and muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). The reach is unique not only because such a vibrant esocid-based recreational fishery exists in an urban center, but that these two species co-occur.

Typically, when these species occur sympatrically, northern pike tend to exclude muskellunge. To ensure the persistence of these esocid populations and the fisheries they support it is important to identify key spawning, nursery, foraging and over-wintering locations along this reach, and to evaluate the extent to
which adults of the two species exhibit spatio-temporal overlap in habitat use. Radio-telemetry was used to track adult northern pike (N = 18; length 510 to 890 mm) and adult muskellunge (N = 15; length 695 to 1200 mm) on 73 occasions over one year, with particular focus on the breeding seasons (early April until the end of May [56% tracking effort]). For the two esocids, we observed 19–60 % overlap in key aggregation areas during each season and during the spawning period. The  minimum activity (average linear river distance travelled between consecutive tracking events) and core range (linear river distance within 95 % C.I. of mean river position) were greatest in the winter and fall for northern pike and in the spring for muskellunge. On average, northern pike were considerably smaller than muskellunge and had lower minimum activities and smaller core ranges, which
could be a result of thermal biology, limited suitable habitat, prey availability or predation. Results from this study will inform future management of these unique
esocid populations and should be considered before any habitat alterations occurs within or adjacent to the Rideau River.