To sustain our fisheries for generations to come
Release of larger breeding class fish
Promote sustainable fish habits
Ensure healthy water quality
Our members follow guidelines of:
Releasing all walleye over 18"
- Releasing all northern pike over 27.5"
Conserving for the Future
Members of the Perrault Falls Adventure Area have long been advocates for the preservation of our natural resources. As supporters of conservation, we are committed to proactively managing our natural resources. Area management planning considers the entire ecosystem for land use planning and provides for guidance on the interrelationships between land uses and the health of the ecosystem over time. This approach recognizes that the ecosystem has limits to how much stress land uses put on before the system is irreversibly damaged or destroyed.
Perrault Falls Adventure Area members maintain a cooperative relationship with the Ministry of Natural Resources to safeguard the purity of our environment as well as the prosperity of our fish and wildlife. Regular testing and evaluations are performed to better understand nature’s balance. Over the years, routine water sampling and creel surveys have guided ministry officials and members of the Perrault Falls Area in their decisions affecting the ecosystem and local tourism.
Our catch and release practices combined with proper area management will preserve our healthy ecosystem and dependable supply of contaminant-free water. Thus, we will sustain the abundant population of fish and wildlife for generations to come.
Safe Handling of Fish
Data from Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Most fish can be secured by placing your wetted hand firmly at the back of the head, just behind or on top of (not under) the gill covers. Wetted hands or wet gloves help to keep the natural protective mucous layer on fish. Never hold fish by the gills or eyes, this can result in serious damage and even death. Mechanical grabbers are also harmful to fish. When netting a trophy fish, try to keep the fish in water while removing the hook. Several techniques have been developed to hold and unhook large trophy fish. Fish cradles are an excellent way to minimize handling stress when you catch and release large fish. Many cradles come with measuring tapes sewn into the fabric for quick length measurements.
Every Second Counts
Minimize the time fish are kept out of water. If possible, keep fish in the water when hooks are removed. If a fish must be taken out of the water, avoid letting it flop around in the boat or on shore. Just a couple of inches of water acts like a cushion and will help reduce injuries. A cooler makes a good temporary live well if you must take a fish from the water.
Releasing a Stressed Fish
Most fish that become stressed from the trauma of being caught can be revived by administering first aid. Simply hold the fish upright in the water and move it gently back and forth, so fresh water flows over the gills. This may take a few minutes. When the fish is strong enough to struggle, release it.
Go Horizontal- Don't Hang Up
Because water is much more dense than air, taking fish out of water puts a tremendous strain on their muscles, their internal organs and their skeletal system. The risk of injury increases with the size of the fish. When you take a fish from the water, either to remove the hooks or to take a picture, you can minimize damage by keeping the body of the fish in a horizontal position. Remember, keep large or trophy fish in the water or a cradle when removing hooks or taking pictures.
Hooks are Important
Hooks can often be easily removed by using the same long-nosed pliers you used to remove barbs from hooks. Pliers let you reach into the mouth of even toothy fish like pike, and they let you grip hooks much better than you can with your fingers.
Using barbless hooks makes releasing fish quick and easy. Often, barbless hooks can be removed without even touching the fish. If your bait doesn’t come with barbless hooks and none can be found at the tackle shop, it’s not difficult to make a normal hook barbless. Simply pinch down the barb with a pair of pliers, or file the barb off.
Gear and Lure Selection
Proper gear selection will reduce the time fish are played. The time it takes to land a fish is important because a fish exhausted by a long struggle may never recover. Probably the most important item in gear selection is line strength - it should be adequate for the species being fished. For example, where northern pike average 2-3 kg (4-7 lbs.), ultra light tackle with 0.9-1.8 kg test line (2-4 lbs.), is too light. Test line strengths of 3.6-4.5 kg (8-10 lbs.) would be more appropriate.
Artificial lures, especially ones equipped with a single barbless hook or a single barbless treble hook, generally result in fish being hooked in the mouth or lips, and not the gills or throat, since the hook is set as soon as a strike is felt. This reduces handling time and injury due to deeply ingested hooks. Using artificials is also fun and challenging.
Ethics and Delayed Mortality
An ethical fisherman will catch a few fish, keep the ones he or she wants, practice good live release methods with the others, and then pursue another species. Know when to limit your catch. Remember shorelunches are included in the daily limit.
Some days, when the fish are really biting, you could literally fill the boat if you kept every one you caught. Of course, keeping a boat load of fish would surely exceed catch limits, and would thus clearly be illegal. Similarly, live release has some hidden mortality associated with it which can be as high as 10 percent, even when practiced properly.
To estimate delayed mortality, use a minimum count of one fish killed for every ten fish caught and released. This mortality, combined with the number of fish kept will provide an estimate of total fish killed. When the total equals or exceeds the daily limit, fishing should stop or be diverted to another species.
Glove or Net? Cut the Line or Not?
Using a net can help you catch your fish, but if it’s to be released, get the fish out of the net as quick as possible. A net can remove excessive amounts of protective slime from a fish. A net can also scratch eyes and split fins. Using a wet hand or wet glove to assist in hook removal will help to avoid excessive loss of slime.
Small hooks, used with bait, are often ingested deeply, so rather than remove them and risk serious injury to the fish, it’s better to cut the line and leave the hook imbedded. A small hook, even in the throat of a fish will dissolve in a few days and the fish will be fine. Quick strike rigs, used when fishing with large live or dead baits, will also help prevent deep ingestion and actually improve hooking percentages.
Barotrauma/Deep Water Fishing
Releasing fish caught in deep water is a special problem. Lake trout can equalize pressure changes rapidly even if brought to the surface from depths of 20 meters (60 feet) or deeper and can usually be live released successfully. Anglers who catch lake trout from great depths will often notice how the fish ‘burps’; this is how a trout gets rid of excess air which is expanding in the bladder as the fish is brought to the surface.
But other fish don’t have this pressure equalizing ability. Fish like walleye and pike which are hooked in water deeper than 10 meters (30 feet) can only be successfully live released if they are brought to the surface slowly and released immediately (even with trout, moderation in the retrieve is suggested when the fish is hooked at great depths).
If a fish can’t get back to the bottom, it’s probably going to die. When this happens, anglers who want to keep fishing and releasing numbers of fish or have to release fish because of size limits will choose to stop fishing deep and move to more shallow water.
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