Over the years, SVSFE has conducted various projects, programs and activities. In part of completion of theses activities, summaries, final reports and general notices/articles were created to summarize works completed. Below is a list of various media of these activities.
The main objective of the Fisheries & Aquatic Surveys was to obtain important information and coordinate it into the Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the Swan Lake Watershed Conservation District. Having the opportunity to conduct an aerial assessment of the main tributaries is significant for baseline data. Results oriented programming is important in correctly reaching watershed management goals and this project was completed in partnerships with SVSFE; using water quality results, habitat assessments, fisheries stock assessments and fish passage data collected during the study period, goals and objectives will be followed realistically.
Angler Survey in Bell Lake & North Steeprock Lake and Walleye Abundance in North Steeprock
The main objective of the Angler Survey in Bell Lake and North Steeprock (09-010) was to estimate angling pressure, total catch and harvest and biological characteristics of walleye.
The main objective of the Walleye Abundance in North Steeprock Lake (09-011) was to estimate the population size and structure of walleye in North Steeprock Lake. A mark-recapture study was completed to show population estimates and determine biological characteristics of walleye.
Fish Habitat Survey: Whitefish Lake Tributaries
Whitefish Lake is one of the most popular recreational fishing destination sites, and potentially one of the most heavily fished lakes, within the Swan Lake Watershed. Due to its close proximity to Swan River, many avid fishermen make their way to the lake after work to catch their daily limits. As Whitefish Lake gains in popularity, there is however, an increased need to help protect the fish populations within the lake.
SVSFE initiated this project to start the rehabilitation process. The project objectives were: 1) to conduct detailed habitat assessments on each Whitefish Lake tributary (North Creek and Lagoon Creek) 2) to conduct fish community surveys to 3) to identify barriers impeding fish movement; and 4) to provide a number of recommendations on how to improve and restore the habitat within the selected tributaries.
Stocked Trout Assessment
Trout fishing is a popular recreational activity within the Duck Mountains and Porcupine Mountains.Nearly all the trout lakes within the two mountains are managed and stocked on a regular basis to allow for these fishing opportunities. A total of eight lakes were assessed and included; East Blue Lake, Vini Lake, West Blue Lake, Black Beaver Lake, Glad Lake, Beaver Lake, Gull Lake and Two Mile Lake. The 2010 assessment was conducted to provide a solid baseline data set to allow fisheries managers the ability to analyze the results and make well-informed decisions on local fisheries management issues.
Whitefish Lake Fisheries Survey & Creel Survey
Working closely with partners, SVSFE is taking a pro-active approach in monitoring fish populations and behaviour. The Whitefish Lake Creel and Fisheries Survey is an additional asset required to obtain a full perspective of Whitefish Lake’s fishery. Monitoring and comparing the effects of fishing pressure and harvest rates to the future End of Spring Trap Netting (ESTN) data will indicate the sustainability of the Whitefish Lake fishery.
Integrated Fisheries Assessment – Phase One
Many projects require continual or rotational surveys to validate results. SVSFE developed an efficient plan to encompass both new and additional phases to past and projected programs and research. The project is referred to as “Phase One” of the “Integrated Fisheries Assessment” for Swan Valley Region. The project included; fisheries and aquatic research for Whitefish Lake, Wellman Lake, Swan River, and stocked trout lakes in the Duck and Porcupine Mountains; an adult walleye transfer/stocking program; and education seminars/events for youth & the public. Ensuring local fishing opportunities for future generations and working together closely with partners to achieve this is one of SVSFE’s main objectives. With the better understanding of our local fishery and the strong educational component of our projects we feel this objective can be met.
Stewards of the Future was a two month program designed to educate elementary students within the Swan Valley School Division on the conservation of fisheries; including preserving and improving habitat for game fish species. The program included introducing fish in the classroom. The presence of the fish inspired students to relate all learning concepts to fish within their environment.
2011 Fish Camp
August 5th – 7th, 2011 – marked the first ever Fish Camp held by SVSFE. This 3-day camp provided a curriculum of both theoretical and field experiences to inform and motivate campers to pursue the goals of protecting, reconnecting, restoring, and sustaining fisheries and their watersheds.
•To bring a greater appreciation and respect of natural resources
•To teach young anglers about the importance of fishing and its role in conservation.
•To teach campers about fisheries research and management of our fisheries resources.
•To teach campers boat and outdoor safety.
Walleye Telemetry on the Swan River & Whitefish Lake
The main objective of the study for both the Swan River and Whitefish Lake was to monitor seasonal walleye movement, with the emphasis on spring spawn and habitat requirements. Walleye movement was further analyzed for trends and behaviour throughout the entire study period and compared to past telemetry data. Trends provide information on fish passage, barriers and requirements for habitat. Results and recommendations will be used for future fisheries management on both systems.
Winter Stocked Trout Assessment
The “Winter Stocked Trout Assessment” is phase two of project 10-011 (Stocked Trout Water Assessment). The main objective of phase one was to provide an unbiased index of stocked trout abundance, as well to provide biological information on the target species.The winter trout assessment included comparisons of summer-winter trout habitat,identifying predator-prey behaviour, assessing growth rates and collecting basic water quality parameters. Results will provide information for a proactive management approach for our stocked trout waters. Lakes chosen for winter sampling included Glad, Two Mile, Beaver and Black Beaver Lake.
Integrated Fisheries Assessment – Phase Two
SVSFE’s mandate includes working with the community and surrounding partners to sustain and help manager fish for the future. This project developed an efficient plan to encompass both new and additional phases of past and projected programs and research… Phase Two.
The project included fisheries and aquatic research on: the Swan River & Honoway Fishway, Wellman Lake Whitefish Lake, Bell Lake, Marge Lake, Beaver Lake, Line Lake, No Name Lake, Red Shack Lake, Hoodoo Lake, Schade Lake, North Steeprock Lake, the Birch, Bowsman & Steeprock River, and the famous Beautiful Lake Adult Walleye Transfer.
2012 Fish Camp
Popularity gained from the 2011 Fish Camp motivated SVSFE to run this camp annually and increased it to a 4-day camp. In 2012 the camp was held August 20th -23rd. Again the camp provided a curriculum of both theoretical and field experiences to inform and motivate campers to pursue the goals of protecting, reconnecting, restoring, and sustaining fisheries and their watersheds.
The success to each camp is owed to the continued support from the community, sponsors and volunteers who take the time to share their passion for the sport of fishing!
2013 Adult Walleye Transfer Project
The 2013 Adult Walleye Transfer Project was conducted during the month of October with a total of 1550 walleye being successfully transferred from Beautiful Lake to surrounding lakes including: Beaver Lake, Singush Lake and Wellman Lake, all which are located within the Duck Mountains Provincial Park and as far away as Vermillion Reservoir located near the city of Dauphin. This marked the 4th year in which the project was funded through the Fisheries Enhancement Fund.
Through the past four years, Swan Valley Sport Fishing Enhancement and Manitoba Water Stewardship – Fisheries Branch have developed an unique partnership with many user groups including Intermountain Sport Fishing Enhancement, which has made this project one of the most valuable projects to fisheries in our area.
Bathymetric Mapping of Local Lakes
In the summer of 2013, SVSFE technicians mapped a total of eleven lakes located within close proximity to Swan River, Manitoba. Bathymetric maps, or depth maps, are the primary method used to describe a lakes physical characteristics. These maps are very important tools that are used by anglers and lake managers for various reasons.
The overall objective of this project is to create three-dimensional and contour maps with aesthetic representations of the most popular fishing lakes in the area using a common theme.
Bell Lake & North Steeprock Lake Trap Netting
The purpose of conducting trap netting programs on Bell & North Steeprock Lake was to obtain a better understanding of the current fisheries in both waterbodies and to identify any management or enhancement actions required to maintain or develop self sustaining walleye fisheries.
During the IFA #2 assessments, technicians collected year one baseline information for both lakes through the ESTN program. This project carried out year two of the program to meet or are steps to receive the following objectives:
•Identify patterns or concerns on both fisheries
Evaluating the Success of Walleye Recruitment
SVSFE strongly supports walleye management with the objective of creating self-sustaining fisheries. When a fishery becomes a sustainable entity, stocking efforts can be concentrated elsewhere and stock can be reallocated to lakes which require stocking. Each spring walleye fry is limited for each Manitoban region, meaning proper allocation of these fry is of top priority. In order to understand which lakes require supplemental stocking and which do not, it becomes important to understand natural recruitment success. In order to determine walleye recruitment success on five targeted lakes, SVSFE used two different methods; evaluating success based on young of the year (0+) catches through seining and Oxytetracycline (OTC) markings from catches through electro-fishing. Recruitment assessments were evaluated during 2013 for; Beaver Lake, Marge Lake, and Line Lake, located in the Duck Mountains and Bell and North Steeprock Lake located in the Porcupine Mountains.
Walleye Telemetry Study on Wellman Lake & the Swan River
This study was initiated to further understand walleye spawning utilization and success on two popular fisheries in the Swan River Valley. Over the course of three years, various methods transpired in these two fisheries in order to generate significant results. The two waterbodies included the Swan River itself, and Wellman Lake. This report has been divided into three parts to simplify studies and results.
Part 1: Swan River Telemetry – Using radio telemetry, SVSFE technicians monitored the spatial variation of five walleye in the Swan River from October 3rd 2011, through August 22nd, 2013. SVSFE aimed to understand walleye residency areas, survival, and seasonal movements emphasizing on the spring spawn.
Part 2: Honoway Fishway Monitoring – Using various methods, SVSFE technicians monitored the Honoway Fishway in the spring of 2012 and 2013 to understand fish usage and passage while focusing on walleye.
Part 3: Wellman Lake Telemetry – Using radio telemetry among other methods, SVSFE technicians aimed to further understand walleye spawning behavior in Wellman Lake with two objectives. 1) to understand if walleye were using any area in the lake, including the enhanced reef for spawning. 2) to further understand spawning reef utilization and success. Various methods were used in this study including telemetry, guzzling, observation, trap-netting, and the utilization of spawning mats.
2013 Fish Camp
The 3rd Annual Fish Camp was held August 16th – 20th, 2013. Again, due to popularity, SVSFE increased the camp by one more day to a 5-day camp filled with various activities, hands on education and of course…..tons of fishing!
Camp Review: 2013 SVSFE’s Fish Camp_PRJ 12-037_Final Review
Integrated Walleye Enhancement Project
SVSFE strongly supports walleye management with the objective of creating self sustaining walleye fisheries. In recent years this partnership has; initiated regulation changes, identified walleye compositions and frequencies, enhanced walleye populations through adult stocking, created/enhanced walleye spawning habitat, identified local walleye behavior and habitat requirements, and introduced walleye to new waterbodies creating new fishing opportunities. Due to the positive results from these practices and efforts, SVSFE set out to continue monitoring activities within an Integrated Walleye Assessment during 2014 field season. This project included the following activities:
• Monitoring the walleye spawn on two newly re-introduced walleye lakes Beaver Lake and Marge Lake.
• Monitoring walleye populations through trap netting in Beaver and Marge Lakes.
• Young of the year (YOY) assessments through midsummer seining. These assessments would indicate recruitment success of walleye in Beaver Lake and Marge Lake.
• OTC Analysis of YOY walleye, therefore determining natural recruitment success in both Bell and North Steeprock Lakes.
• Walleye fry stocking in rearing ponds/lakes.
Beaver Lake – Walleye Spawning Shoal Creation
Beaver Lake has always been of interest to Swan Valley Sport Fishing Enhancement (SVSFE) as a sport fishing lake. Working closely with partners & Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, several initiatives and management efforts have been made to make this small fishery one for anglers to enjoy.
Through several assessments in 2010 & 2011, conducted by SVSFE (funded by FEF) and Manitoba Water Stewardship, it was determined this trout fishery would be more suitable for walleye. Beaver Lake was re-established with walleye through the Beautiful Lake Adult Walleye Project (FEF), with over 1,500 adult walleye stocked between 2011 & 2013. The walleye transfer project is one of the most valuable projects in the area and anglers can see the results in their angling experience and appreciate the projects initiative of “giving fish a helping hand”. Following stocking, concerns of low walleye recruitment and available spawning habitat were identified. In order to sustain and develop this walleye fishery to it’s fullest potential, it was recommended to enhance spawning habitat.
Thanks to the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program (RFCPP), SVSFE received funding to create two walleye spawning shoals along the east & south shore of the lake. On March 8th 2014, SVSFE along with many dedicated volunteers and partners worked together and enhanced 1,050 square meters of habitat. The shoals provide suitable substrate and conditions for walleye during critical spawning periods. The community support received for this project illustrates the value our fisheries has to our local community. SVSFE asks anglers to respect the initiatives taken at Beaver Lake and to respect the regulations and management implemented. This fishery, even in the early stages, offers exceptional angling experiences and with the support from user groups, this fishery can be enjoyed for many years to come.
Whitefish Lake Walleye Spawning Habitat Enhancement
Through past studies, two main tributaries; North and Lagoon creek were identified as suitable spawning habitat for walleye and other species. Beavers create several barriers within the creeks on an annual basis and if un-managed, this vital spawning habitat would be lost and inaccessible to fish. Through this project and future management, SVSFE is committed to protecting and maintaining this habitat.
•Remove barriers (beaverdams) in the main tributaries of Whitefish Lake to make valuable spawning habitat available to fish.
•Increase and/or maintain walleye recruitment success
•Enhance and conserve the current walleye fishery and to maintain it for future generations
•Inform and educate the public on the role these tributaries play, the importance of habitat restoration for walleye populations and how they can respect and protect them for the future.
2014 Fish Camp
Another successful year of Fish Camp was held August 20th – 24th, 2014. Fifteen enthusiastic campers joined SVSFE volunteers and staff for 5 days packed full fishing adventures and activities.
This year introduced a large group of new young anglers to the program. Many memories were made and campers were excited to share their fishing stories with friends and family….as any angler is!
Integrated Fisheries Assessments & Initiatives
Over the years, SVSFE has conducted meaningful fisheries work with the intention of enhancing local waterbodies through our motto “Giving Fish a Helping Hand”. As the years pass by, we’ve developed relationships with many other user groups, government/non-government organizations, fisheries staff, and anglers to come up with a proactive approach to increase fishing quality in our area. We have conducted research, initiated enhancement projects, introduced educational programs, aided in transfer programs, developed comprehensive management plans, the list goes on and on. As the field season of 2015 wrapped up, we felt that providing a “summary of summaries” would be beneficial. Below is a short summary of our work from the 2015 season, focusing on some of the highlights (in chronological order). Please refer to 2015 Reports link for lake specific summaries.
Integrated Fisheries Assessments, Monitoring & Maintenance (IFAMM)
For decades, SVSFE has conducted meaningful work with the intention of enhancing the recreational angling experience. As the years pass by, we’ve developed relationships with many other user groups, government/non-government organizations, fisheries staff (throughout North America), and anglers to come up with proactive approaches to increase fishing quality in the North Parkland Area. The group has conducted research, initiated enhancement projects, introduced educational programs, aided in transfer programs, developed comprehensive management plans, the list goes on and on. IFAMM is similar to previous integrated work and a continuation of our efforts. Summaries of the 2016 season can be found below:
The quantity and quality of walleye spawning habitat has shown to be directly related to walleye productivity (Schupp, 1978). With this statement in mind, 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. Wellman Lake is a recipient for both walleye fry and sub adult/adult walleye through transfer and stocking programs. These efforts have, no doubt strengthened walleye populations, nevertheless, Wellman Lake has the potential to offer a self sustainable walleye fishery. This potential initiated a partnership between SVSFE & RFCPP to improve the habitat on the Wellman Lake Spawning Reef through “light enhancement” (adding a small layer of 3/4” – 4” diameter rock over the existing substrate). The initiative enhanced approximately 2,000 square meters of spawning habitat and has improved spawning habitat for various species, specifically walleye.
2016 Projects Update: 2016_Projects_Newsletter
2015 Projects Update: 2015_Projects_Newsletter
2014 Projects Update: 2014_Projects_Newsletter
2012 Projects Update: 2012_Projects_Overview_June
Permanent to temporary signage has been posted over the years to inform anglers and the public of various projects being conducted, what to be aware of and how they can get involved. The following is just a few examples of sign you may come across while out fishing. Visit our Angler Submissions Page to find out more on how to participate.