Assessment of the Status of the Sport Fishery for Walleye at Ethel Lake, 1997
Bill Patterson, M. G. Sullivan
To recover or maintain Alberta's walleye fisheries, a new walleye management strategy was implemented in 1996. In 1996, the walleye fishery at Ethel Lake was classified as a collapsed walleye fishery and a zero (0) daily bag limit was implemented. In order to monitor the status of the walleye fishery at Ethel Lake, a creel survey was conducted during May to August 1997. Since the last creel survey conducted in 1986, the estimated number of anglers had increased less than 1.0 % from 1037 anglers to 1042 anglers, while the estimated angler effort increased by 19 % from 4.7 angler-hours / ha to 5.6 angler-hours / ha. The catch rate on released walleye increased since 1986 from < 0.001 to 0.070 fish / hour.
Only age 6 walleye exist in Ethel Lake. Consecutive recruitment failures are evident. Based on the criteria used to classify walleye stocks in Alberta the walleye in Ethel Lake should retain the classification of “collapsed”. The Ethel Lake has, historically, only supported a minimal walleye fishery. Recovery to this level is certainly possible, although comments from local anglers suggests that poaching of walleye will increase if these restrictive regulations persist.