No More Natural Hardwater Brook Trout Fishing? Feedback Wanted for FMZ 15 Proposal

The comment period is now open for a proposal affecting anglers in Zone 15, aimed at protecting the area’s natural populations of Brook Trout, Lake Trout, and much more.

Some of the contents of the proposal include:

1) No More Hardwater Brook Trout?

One of the most notable changes found in the proposal comes in the form of season change, delaying the current January 1st Brook Trout opener until the 4th Saturday in April on lakes where populations are naturally occurring.

Essentially, the goal of this is to eliminate the ice fishing season – a time that the proposal deems Brook Trout to be especially vulnerable.

Although this may put some ice anglers on edge, the proposal also seeks to extend Brook Trout angling opportunities on stocked lakes where seasons will be open year-round.

In addition to these season changes, regulations on natural lakes would also be updated to include:

  • Catch Limit: (S=Sport, C=Conservation)
    • 2(S) and 1(C)
  • Bait, Gear and Other Restrictions:
    • Use and possession of live baitfish prohibited
    • Brook Trout fishing only, or, Season closed for illegally introduced species after establishment.

2) New Lake Trout Season

Along with the changes to the Brook Trout season, the proposal also seeks to protect the natural populations of Zone 15’s other char species – the Lake Trout.

One of the recommendations in the proposal would also seek to eliminate the winter fishery for natural populations, opening the season on the 3rd Saturday in May.

Another option sees the season open on Family Day weekend, allowing anglers to retain some of their ice fishing opportunity.

With both of these options, stocked lakes would remain open year-round.

3) Whitefish Limits

Whitefish are another focus of the proposal, however, the changes are much less severe, relating to catch limits rather than season changes. The proposed options are as follows: (S=Sport, C=Conservation)

  • Option 1
    • 4(S) and 2(C) (preferred)
  • Option 2
    • 2(S) and 1(C)
  • Option 3
    • 6(S) and 3(C)

4) Extended Bass Season

Ending on a high note (especially for Pete Bowman), the proposal also seeks to amend the Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass seasons, moving opening day a week earlier.

Submit Your Feedback!

The four species mentioned here are just a small part of the proposal, with Splake, Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Brown Trout, and more also seeing amendments.

In addition, the majority of these changes are presented with multiple alternatives, all of which are going to be decided upon based on the feedback provided by anglers like yourselves.

We highly encourage you to head over to the Environmental Registry of Ontario’s website, check out the full proposal, and submit your feedback if you live or fish in this FMZ!

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