Ice fishing season is fast approaching.
Saskatchewan offers a variety of local waters that provide excellent ice fishing opportunities including the Qu’Appelle Valley, Last Mountain Lake, and Tobin Lake to name a few. A tad closer to the Prince Albert area anglers will usually vouch that Bittern Lake is also an excellent spot to enjoy a bit of fishing in the winter.
Bittern Lake is a popular northern fishing spot that is located near Montreal Lake Cree Nation and it attracts a large number of anglers throughout the year. It is a great lake to catch walleye, jack and perch.
But what many fishermen may not realize is that Bittern Lake has a slightly different catch limit than most other Saskatchewan lakes. Gary Provencher, conservation officer with the compliance education unit of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment in Prince Albert said there is a general provincial catch limit in Saskatchewan waters that usually allows fisherman to keep four walleye, five jack and 25 perch, which are the main fish that can be caught at Bittern Lake. However some lakes including Bittern need special limits so extra care can be taken at protecting the fisheries resourceful harvest.
“Since 2007 Bittern Lake has had a special walleye limit of three rather then the provincial limit of four,” said Provencher “So for the last seven years bittern lake has been offered a little bit more protection then the rest of Saskatchewan in the regards of preserving walleye or pickerel as some people might call them.”
Provencher also mentioned that anglers may possess no more than one limit of each fish species at any time including fish that were eaten or given away for that particular day and all fish that are at your camp, being transported by or for you, or fish that were in storage.
On top of a daily fish limit there is also a daily size limit to further assist in the preservation of the fish population.
“You are only allowed to keep one large fish of each fish species,” said Provencher. “So with walleye people are only allowed to keep one fish over 55 cm. So just short of a couple feet long… and that helps protect the big fish that reproduce and populate the lake in our future.”
In the past Bittern Lake has also experienced, especially in the winter, issues with large amounts of trash being left on the lake. In 2012 a barricade was built to block access to the lake until the issue could be dealt with.
“Fisherman going out and leaving garbage on the ice they are responsible for picking up all litter that they take with them and if not they might be charged under the litter patrol act,” said Provencher.
If you love fishing, if you love the great outdoors, the snow and the crisp, fresh air ice fishing can be a great and fun way to spend the day. As long as you carry your fishing license with you at all times and follow all the rules applicable to the area you choose to fish, there’s no reason not to give ice fishing a go this winter.
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