Fall fishing is an enjoyable pastime for many people in Ontario.
The salmon are running and it’s a great time to find some fast moving water and cast your line.
Others look forward to the colder weather that is coming and spending time on an open lake and doing some ice fishing.
If you are planning to pack up your gear and do some angling this season, you should be aware of the rules, regulations, and common sense methods of taking part in the sport in a way that promotes conservation and helps stop invasive species from taking over local waterways.
Invasive species in Ontario impact the aquatic ecosystem by competing with native fish for food and habitat.
They prey on sport fish eggs and the larvae Anglers should follow action plan when fall fishing population and can spread disease to native species. Invasive species can be spread through ballast water, movement of bait to different locations, the aquarium and water garden trades, and through canal and water diversion.
Before you go to your favourite fishing spot, you should make yourself aware of invasive species so you can identify them and take the appropriate action if you find them.
It is illegal in Ontario to introduce an aquatic species to areas where they are not naturally found. It is also illegal to possess, deposit, release, transport, breed or grow, and buy sell or trade prohibited invasive species.
Sport fish transported over land must be dead and should be transported on ice – not in a livewell filled with water.
When using live bait, you should always purchase your bait as close as possible to where you plan to fish.
This reduces the risk of introducing species or diseases that aren’t normally found in the area. If you are packing up for the day, never dump your leftover bait into the water or leave it on the ice. You should dispose of the bait at least 30 metres from any body of water.
If you happen to catch a fish that is an invasive species, do not return it to the water. Y
ou should destroy it right way and notify authorities that you have caught it.
There is an invasive species hotline where you can report locating invasive species. You will be asked if you know the type of fish you have, where and when you caught it, and you will be asked to provide a photo if possible.
If you are fishing from a boat, you should always clean your catch well before moving to a new body of water.
This can prevent the spread of fish-harming pathogens to different lakes. This also helps stop the spread of invasive plant species that may have come aboard your vessel when you are on the water.
Fishing is a popular activity in Ontario and if you are planning to cast your line in the water, you should be aware of your responsibilities as an angler to help protect our waterways and natural eco-system
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times