Anglers will soon be able to drop a line in the water, and regardless of where they are headed, the public is reminded to follow all fishing rules and requirements to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).
“Recreational fishing is an important part of our lifestyle and local economy, and we are committed to making sure it is sustainable and our waters are protected from AIS transfer,” Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires said. “There are endless adventures in our great outdoors, and we want Manitobans and visitors to enjoy fishing our many lakes and rivers for generations to come.”
The fishing season opens Saturday, May 11 in the southern division and May 18 in the rest of the province. Anglers are encouraged to carefully handle and release any fish they catch that is spawning or full of eggs. By releasing spawning fish, anglers will help protect stocks and sustain Manitoba’s fisheries.
Water-users such as boaters and anglers are also reminded of the requirements to stop the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species. Before leaving any body of water, remove aquatic plants and aquatic invasive species, drain all water from watercraft and water-related equipment, and remove drain plugs before transporting watercraft over land. Dry or decontaminate all water-related equipment before placing it in another water body. When boating in an Aquatic Invasive Species Control Zone there are additional requirements. Bait must be properly disposed of prior to leaving the shore and anything used in the water must be decontaminated before it can be placed into another water body.
The province has instituted a series of set fines under the AIS legislation that are in effect year-round and carry a range of penalties, depending on the offence. Fines range from $174 to $2,542. As well, this weekend is the start of the 2019 Watercraft Inspection Program. Stations will be operating in Selkirk, Headingley, Ericksdale and The Pas with additional stations opening in the coming weeks. Anyone transporting a boat, canoe, Jet Ski or other type of watercraft over land, must stop at the inspection stations when they are open. The set fine for failing to stop at a watercraft inspection station is $672.
Anglers are reminded they need an annual angling licence to fish in Manitoba, unless exempted, and should be familiar with Manitoba’s fishing regulations. Angling licences are available at Manitoba Sustainable Development offices and numerous licence vendors throughout the province. When buying a licence, be sure to pick up the 2019 Manitoba Anglers’ Guide to review provincial regulations.
For more information on aquatic invasive species, including the Watercraft Inspection Program schedule for aquatic invasive species, and the latest anglers guide, go to: gov.mb.ca.