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Catch and release in Prelude, Prosperous lakes

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 22/05) - The "one that got away" soon will be the lake trout you had to put back in two Ingraham Trail lakes.

Warren Parsons, area chief of conservation and protection for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said it will be catch and release only for lake trout in Prosperous and Prelude lakes this fall.

"We are going to allow catch and release only from Sept. 1 until Oct. 31," Parsons said of the change that does not include pike and whitefish. "The idea behind that is to protect fish during spawning and when they congregate and are more susceptible to anglers," Parsons said.

While no definitive biological evidence exists to suggest the trout population is in danger, Parsons said the department has been told by anglers that catch rates are down.

"When catch rates are down, that's a good indication that stocks are declining.

"We are taking action before it's too late."

A closure on the north end of Prosperous Lake will be extended as well, Parsons said.

"That's a no fishing zone," he said.

Parsons said this is the first step in examining all the lakes along the Ingraham Trail. "It will be a matter of monitoring catch rates, anglers and hopefully, some biological data in the future," he said.

"We will be having ongoing discussions with anglers about how do we appropriately manage these stocks so that we have trout forever."

"I'm sure we will have some complaints, but generally, I think this is the right thing to do."

Parsons noted that the regulations do not have an impact on aboriginal fishing.

There are rules for aboriginal fishing, such as fishing for subsistence only, not wasting fish and checking gill nets on a regular basis.