If you aren’t sure of what type of fish you’ve caught – put it back.
It’s a simple rule that all anglers should follow says Kathryn Peiman who is the Program Coordinator for the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
Peiman was in Port Hope after receiving a call about a discarded Atlantic salmon near the Barrett Street bridge along the Ganaraska River on Monday, September 13, 2021.
Like all tributaries in the Province, they are strictly catch and release for Atlantic salmon.
“If you catch one in the tributaries you do have to release it. It is illegal to keep one.”
Although some anglers may be unsure of what species they’ve caught, Peiman said it’s their responsibility to know.
The reason anglers cannot catch and keep Atlantic salmon is the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is restoring the fish that is native to Lake Ontario.
“Right now we do not yet have a self-sustaining population which is the program goal.”
“When we get to that stage, we hope we can have anglers catch and keep the fish.”
Presently the only way to catch and keep an Atlantic salmon is if you are fishing in Lake Ontario.
At this point, there are low numbers of Atlantic salmon spawning in the tributaries.
“And we’d like everyone of those fish to have the chance to spawn. So if you catch one in the tributaries you must release that fish.”
Peiman said anglers can educate others if they have caught an Atlantic salmon in one of the rivers or streams.
“I think having that interaction among anglers is probably a good way for people to learn. There are people who simply don’t know what they’re doing is wrong.”
Other anglers do it on purpose and will be charged if caught.
The Atlantic salmon that Peiman picked up in Port Hope will still be useful in determining biological information including the age and diet of the fish.
“It’s like anything else – if you don’t know what you’re shooting at – don’t shoot and if you don’t know if you can legally keep that fish – put that fish back.”
Pieman also adds if an angler does catch a Atlantic salmon accidentally if they choose to take a photo while they are releasing it, they can share it through e-mail at email@example.com or social media @ontariosalmon.
Sharing the photos and information helps OFAH determine details such as movement.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry tips line at 1-877-847-7667.