New limits on trout fishing in Yukon in effect this spring

It will be catch-and-release only for lake trout on a couple of Yukon's most popular fishing lakes this summer, and two other lakes will have reduced limits.

"I think intuitively folks who spend time out there are pretty aware that these changes are necessary," said Aaron Foos, a fisheries biologist with Environment Yukon.

"Lake trout tend to be our most sought-after sport fish species in the Yukon. Generally they exist in the Yukon at pretty low densities." 

The new limits target lake trout at four lakes — Kusawa, Fox, Frenchman, and Twin Lakes. All four lakes are relatively accessible and have government campgrounds.

Trout populations in Frenchman and Twin Lakes are in the worst shape, Foos says, because those lakes are smaller and have been over-fished in recent years. Anglers will no longer be allowed to keep any trout from those lakes.

The Twin Lakes have seen catch limits reduced before, but not enough, Foos says. He says the trout population is "severely depleted" there.

Anglers will still be able to keep trout caught in Kusawa and Fox lakes, but not as many. 

For Kusawa, the daily catch limit will drop from three fish to two, and for Fox Lake it will drop from three to one. There will also be size limits, so anglers release the larger fish. 

The government first proposed the new limits in 2015 and Foos says there's been a lot of public consultation. He says most anglers support the changes. 

"We find, across the range of lake trout in North America, that when you reduce these harvest pressures off of these populations, they recover on their own," he said.

"The lakes are still generally in quite good shape and pristine, so the populations will recover."

The new limits come into effect April 1.