Ontario’s 2011 Volunteer Muskellunge Angler Diary Program

In 2011, information was collected from four volunteer muskellunge angler diary programs in Ontario. These included MNR-sponsored programs on Lake of the Woods and Lake St. Clair as well as Muskies Canada Inc’s (MCI) and Muskies Inc. (MI) ongoing volunteer programs. The 2011 program represented the 33rd consecutive year that MCI anglers have participated in this volunteer activity. A total of 178 MCI anglers participated in the 2011 program and reported angling activities on 62 different Ontario waterbodies. A total of 408 Muskies Inc. members provided information on 4,734 muskellunge angled from 62 different Ontario waterbodies in 2011. The majority (3,728 records, 78.7%) of these records originated from either Lake St. Clair or Lake of the Woods. In a few instances reported information was not included because the lake could not be verified. The annual Lake St. Clair program was coordinated by the Lake Erie Management Unit. Six volunteer anglers were involved in the 2011 program. – The MNR Lake of the Woods Program, conducted on a regular five year cycle, was coordinated by the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Assessment Unit. Participants in the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Assessment Unit program were guests at one of five lodges on the lake.

Volunteer anglers reported angling results from a total of 92 different Ontario waterbodies in 2011. This is the largest number of individual waters since the program began. Most of these new waters were in northwestern Ontario with information being provided by Muskies Inc. as well as the new northwestern Ontario chapter of Muskies Canada Inc. Anglers participating in the 2011 program reported 20,812.2 rod hours of angling effort. Those same anglers reported catching a total of 1,235 muskellunge. This represents an angling success rate of 0.059 fish per rod hour. Only one muskellunge was reported as harvested. All other angled fish were released. The most heavily fished water in 2011 was Lake of the Woods (Table 2) with 5,173.25 rod hours of reported effort. This may be attributed to the fact that MNR had a volunteer angler diary program on that water in 2011.