Assessment of the Status of the Sport Fishery for Walleye at Lac Ste. Anne
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 Lac Ste. Anne was classified as vulnerable and a 50 cm (total length, TL) size limit for walleye was implemented in the sport fishery. In order to monitor the status of the walleye fishery at Lac Ste. Anne, a creel survey was conducted during May to August 1997. Creel surveys were also conducted in 1984 and 1995. The estimated number of anglers in 1997 was 6 902, compared to 5423 and 9052 in 1984 and 1995 respectively. The estimated angler effort in 1997 was 2.9 angler-hours / hectare, compared to 3.02 in 1984 and 5.9 in 1995. No walleye were observed harvested in 1224.5 hours during the 1997 survey, compared to 1922 and 3052 in 1984 and 1995, respectively. The catch rate on legal-sized walleye (>50 cm TL) had decreased from 0.014 walleye kept / hour in 1995 to < 0.001 walleye kept / hour in 1997. The reported release rate for walleye in 1997 was 0.007 fish / hr, 0.054 in 1995 and 0.008 in 1984.
Based on the criteria used to classify walleye stocks in Alberta, the walleye population in Lac Ste Anne was collapsed. The regulation recommended in Alberta’s walleye management strategy for a walleye fishery with a collapsed status is a catch and release regulation (0 daily bag limit). According to the survey results, this regulation would effect very few anglers and protect the remnant population of walleye in Lac Ste. Anne.