Fisheries Report – 2015 update

December 2015

French River Stewardship Council Fisheries Report – 2015 update.

A major undertaking of the FRSC is to review and improve the fishing opportunities of the French River. Since the 1990’s some areas of the river have seen fishing stocks decline in pike and most dramatically pickerel. As a result the Ministry of Natural Resources implemented new guidelines on catch limits and slot sizes. Although successful these actions needed some assistance aimed at habitat improvement.

The most direct form of habitat improvement involves the rehabilitation of existing spawning sites as well as the construction of new sites. To this end the FRSC fisheries committee with members of the local Ministry of Natural Resources in 2009 toured existing spawning sites as well as areas where the construction of new sites would be beneficial.

From these tours a three year plan of rehabilitation and construction of news sites was prepared and submitted for approval.  Approval was obtained in 2010 and work began in the summer of 2011 with the Meshaw Falls project and the Lower Sturgeon sites. Restoration involved the removal of debris, high pressure water cleaning and where required beaver dam removal. A total of 154 hours of volunteer work was logged on these projects. A local contractor hauled two tandem truck loads to the local landfill.  Costs came in at $ 5,810 and were funded by local businesses and our members.

In 2012 our plan included the design and construction of two new spawning sites southwest of Ouellette rapids. $ 7,600 of dedicated funding was received and used to complete these projects. Funding came from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Sudbury East Economic Development Partners and our two local Caisse Populaires.

In 2012-13 funding of $ 47,000 was acquired for the rebuilding of the Murdock River spawning site. Given the importance of this site to the Dry Pine Bay area the rebuild plan was prepared by MNR personnel and carried out by the bridge rebuild contractor. This site saw a three tier bed construction to ensure water levels, regardless of dam operations, remain conducive to pickerel spawning. The FRSC is continuing to work with Public Works Canada to ensure that consistent water levels will be maintained in the river during the spawning and nursery stages of pike and walleye.

In 2014 tours of the spawning sites produced encouraging results as Pickerel spawning was clearly taking place at most sites. Also in 2014 a Fall Walleye Index Netting project funded by the MNR, the FRSC and the Hartley Bay Marina, was completed again showing an improvement in fishing stocks. Funding for this project required $ 37,000.

In 2015 plans were developed for the installation of an additional spawning site and restoration work on the Lower Sturgeon site with approvals now received for 2016 work.

The FRSC would like to thank all those contributing time and moneys to these worthwhile projects.

Date Added: December 16, 2015 | Comments Off | Filed under: News — webedit @ 2:24 pm

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