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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Don't use illegal bait, anglers warned

Don't use illegal bait, anglers warned


With ice fishing season well under way in many areas of the lake, anglers are being warned about using illegal bait.
The Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Bait Association of Ontario are concerned invasive species, such as the round goby will get into the lake and devastate the sports fishery.

Lake trout and whitefish season opens New Year's day.

Round gobies were found in Pefferlaw Brook last year and a controversial plan to poison the river was carried out.

It is not known if the program was successful.

Due to its winter fishery, Lake Simcoe is the most intensively fished inland lake in Ontario.

Anglers, bait dealers and bait harvesters each have a critical role in stopping the spread of invasives, MNR scientists said.

It is illegal to take bait fish from one body of water and deposit it in another; to possess live goby or to use round gobies as bait, or for anglers, bait dealers and bait harvesters to store live baitfish that are not from Lake Simcoe or the watershed, in live holding boxes, cribs or receptacles in Lake Simcoe or its tributaries. It is the angler's responsibility to know the origin of bait.

Resident anglers who want to catch baitfish for personal use must have a valid fishing licence.

Licensed anglers can possess up to 120 baitfish they caught themselves (dead or alive) or got from a dealer without needing a receipt. They can have an unlimited number if they have a valid receipt from a legitimate baitfish dealer.

To help stop the spread of invasive species, anglers should not dump bait buckets into any lake or on the ice of any lake because it could introduce invasive fish species or microscopic invasive organisms which could harm the fishery.

Check bait buckets carefully for invasive or non-bait species before going out on any lake. Remove and freeze minnows suspected of being an invasive species and call the OFAH/MNR Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or visit www.invadingspecies.com

The ministry is strengthening its enforcement efforts to stop the spread of invasive species.

Call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667 to report a natural resources violation or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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