On March 3 & 4th, 2017, SVSFE took on a long overdue project at Wellman Lake. Beginning on Friday, a handful of volunteers dug into a rock pile of 260 cubic yards of clean rock destined for improving a spawning reef found in Wellman Lake.
Natural recruitment of walleye in Wellman Lake has been an ongoing topic of conversation since the early 1990’s. Throughout this time, SVSFE has been actively involved in management and enhancement efforts with a focus on walleye. This focus lead to the initial enhancement of the Wellman Lake reef in 1993 which proved successful in following years. Over time, habitat on the reef silted over and egg deposits & recruitment success notably decreased.
With recent declines in fish usage motivated the group to take action and “lightly” enhance the reef by adding a small layer of gravel/cobble substrate. The team was very fortunate in how plans worked out. They contribute this luck to the overwhelming support received from community members. Many individuals assisted in various stages of the project and fortunately the weather cooperated. On the March 3rd, SVSFE’s technicians and a volunteers decided to test out the ice-bridge and road that was created over the winter and transport a few loads of rock out to the reef. Since the test runs were running smoothly and with Saturday’s forecast calling for balmy temperatures, the crew decided to transport half the rock while temperatures remained below zero.
This was a good call, as on Saturday March 4th the well-organized crew started early and laid the remaining rock, wrapping the project up prior to noon; luckily before the temperatures rose to 9+oC! The project was finalized with a group picture on the newly placed rock and a home cooked meal at the Wellman Lake Lodge.
Through funding received from the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program, SVSFE improved ~2,000 m2 of preferred spawning habitat to support natural walleye recruitment for recreational angling.
SVSFE would like to thank everyone involved in this project including the project management team, supporting businesses, and volunteers. Together, this investment will improve recreational fishing in one of Swan Valley’s top angling destinations
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Manitoba Sustainable Development – Fisheries Branch, Parks Branch and Fire Program
Glad/Wellman Lake Cottage Owners – Ralph Hart, Richard Bidzinski, Gord Hart, Reid Shiels, Grant Blosha
Wellman Lake Lodge – Alvin & Linda Wiebe
Cement Works – Calvin Bordian & Carey Harris Flaman Rentals