Catch Charts

2004 - 2014

For the past 11 years, a select few individuals have been tagging brook trout and recording data on a volunteer basis for the Ministry of Natural Resources. The charts represent the 1258 fish that we have tagged from 2004 to 2014. This is only the data gathered by two individual volunteers and does not represent the total tagging population of the program sponsored by the Ministry of natural Resources.

The full MNR report is located here: "Update on brook trout rehabilitation..."

The following charts have been created based on our annual data and each chart has been organized as follows:

- number of fish caught that year
- highest percent of the population
- percent of the tagged population in a 3" range (bulk of the population)
- average length of fish
- number and percent of recaptures over multiple years for that fish
- # of fish recaptured multiple times within that year
- percent of tagged population 22" or greater
- percent of fish with mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

In 2005, the minimum length to retain a memorable Brook Trout in the Nipigon system changed from 18" to 22". On each graph,

the red line ( __________ ) indicates the length of those 'memorable' fish that potentially could be kept at 22" and over.

Note how this regulation has helped protect a significant proportion of the tagged population. Practice **"Catch & Release"**

- 49 fish tagged
- 20% of the population measured 20" (highest spike)
- 46% of the population measured 19-21" (3" range spike)
- average length: 18.4"
- 11 recaptures or 22.4% of the annual population
- no fish were recaptured more than once during this year
- 55.4% of tagged fish were 18" or greater
- 4.4% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 4% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- the new regulation hadn't been instituted yet so 51% of the tagged fish population from18" to 22" and was available for retention (not including those 22" and greater)

- 47 fish tagged
- 13% of the population measured 15" (highest spike)
- 43% of the population measured 14-16" (3" range spike)
- average length: 16.7"
- 5 recaptures or 10.6% of the annual population
- no fish were recaptured more than once during this year
- 4.4% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 0% fish had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- an even bell curve distribution with no spikes in population similar to the MNR chart showing a balanced populztion of both small and large fish.

- 94 fish tagged
- 22% of the population measured 15" (highest spike)
- 46% of the population measured 13-15" (3" range spike)
- average length: 18.4"
- 5 recaptures or 5.3% of the annual population
- 1 fish recaptured multiple times within this year
- 8.6% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 4.3% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- A greater percentage of the fish tagged were smaller indicating good reproduction the previous few years

- 161 fish tagged
- 17% of the population measured 18" (highest spike)
- 48% of the population measured 17-19 " (3" range spike)
- average length: 17.7"
- 30 recaptures or 18.6% of the annual population
- 1 fish recaptured multiple times within this year
- 3% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 3.7% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations**:

- the previous year's population spike appears to be moving to the right on the graph as fish continue to grow in length

- 117 fish tagged
- 22% of the population measured 19" (highest spike)
- 48% of the population measured 18-20 " (3" range spike)
- average length: 19.8"
- 49 recaptures or 41.9% of the annual population
- 9 fish recaptured multiple times within this year
- 2 fish recaptured 3 times within this year
- 19.7% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 5% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- The bulk of the recap. population continues to increase in length
- note the high recapture rate.

- 80 fish tagged
- 17% of the population measured 21" (highest spike)
- 46% of the population measured 19-21 " (3" range spike)
- average length: 18.6"
- 25 recaptures or 31.3% of the annual population
- 5 fish recaptured multiple times within this year
- 15.1% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 5% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- There is still a solid population of larger fish, but a new bulge has surfaced on the left side of the chart with a smaller fish population returning

- 130 fish tagged
- 25% of the population measured 14" (highest spike)
- 55% of the population measured 13-15 " (3" range spike)
- average length: 15.7"
- 12 recaptures or 9.2% of the annual population
- no fish were recaptured more than once during this year
- 5.4% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 4.6% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- The large fish population has flattened and there is a strong resurgence of smaller fish
- the 2010 graph looks similar to the 2006 graph

- 213 fish tagged
- 17.8% of the population measured 18" (highest spike)
- 44% of the population measured 18-20 " (3" range spike)
- average length: 17.7"
- 53 recaptures or 24.9% of the annual population
- 31 fish recaptured multiple times within this year
- 3 fish were caught 3 times within this year
- 3.8% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 6.1% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- 14.6% of population was recaptured within this same year
- the 2011 graph looks similar to the 2007 graph

- 124 fish tagged
- 14.5% of the population measured 19" (highest spike)
- 40% of the population measured 19-21 " (3" range spike)
- average length: 18"
- 17 recaptures or 13.7% of the annual population
- 7 fish recaptured multiple times within this year
- 11.3% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 5.6% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- the 2012 graph looks similar to the total population graph below suggesting this is a very average year class

- 117 fish tagged
- 13% of the population measured 19" (highest spike)
- 35% of the population measured 19-21 " (3" range spike)
- average length: 18.5"
- 28 recaptures or 24% of the annual population
- 11 fish recaptured multiple times within this year
- 15% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 7.7% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- 2013 was a year for some BIG fish
- note that 3 fish were caught 3 times each in this same year by just two anglers suggesting these fish are resilient.

- 120 fish tagged
- 20% of the population measured 20" (highest spike)
- 43% of the population measured 19-21 " (3" range spike)
- average length: 18.8"
- 27 recaptures or 22.5% of the annual population
- 9 fish recaptured multiple times within this year
- 2 fish were caught 3 times in the same year
- 8% of tagged fish were 22" or greater
- 5% had mouth damage,hooks removed or lost maxilla plates

**Interpretations:**

- 2014 was the 3rd year of high water and heavy flows
- the 2014 chart maintains a large population of large fish
- not as many smaller fish as in previous cycles

**2004-1014 Percent of Total Population Per Inch **

- graphical summary of all 1258 tagged fish over 11 years
- of the 1258 tagged fish, 9.4% were 22" or greater
- 19" and 20" fish are the most commonly caught at 12-13% of the total population
- compare each year graph to this summary graph and observe the annual changes

Ontario regulations state for zone 6 (Nipigon system), that only one brook trout 22" or larger may be kept. According to the summary graph, this protects 92% of the population.

practice "** Catch and Release**"

All of the annuall data charts have been combined into one chart showing the % of the population based on length in inches. It show two distinct average fish sizes over multiple years. There is one bulge in the graph for fish sized 13-15 inches and there is another bulge in the graph for fish in the 18-12 inch range. The current regulation of not keeping any fish inthe Nipigon system under 22", protects the bulk of the fish in the overall population and facilitates reproduction so the stock can be maintained.

The "Tagging Program" and gathering of data is critical to the long term survival and protection of brook trout in the Nipigon system.

- There appears to be a 4 year cycle. Note the bulk of the population increases in length (graph spike moves to the right) from 2004 through 2007, then starts to repeat
- With the end of the Tagging Program, the 2015 data will not be available.

The MNR continues to experience cut backs to programs and personnel and I want input as part of the fishing public. With the retirement of Nipigon biologist Rob Swainson after 30+ years, The Co-operative Angler Program seems to have run its course and is now in limbo. It has been a lot of work for me and others, but I felt it was necessary to contribute rather than just sit back and complain about the condition of our fishery. After all, what is the alternative for making sustainability decisions? To me, the program was about gathering data to make informed decisions and educate, not about personal glory or bragging any more than someone who publishes a “grin” shot, as we all do from time to time. I tried to do my part and contribute, but now it is time to just enjoy the fishing.

**…and what are you doing???**

- the 1258 fish were tagged by two tagging teams and does not include any fish reported to the MNR biologist by other individuals
- the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons was impacted by exceptionally high water flows causing fish to dispurse from their traditional haunts.
- there has been an increase in the number of fish showing mouth damage, old hooks removed or lost maxilla plates.
- Are larger fish more susceptible to recapture? Are smaller fish less tolerant to release? ...and what do you conclude?
- Additional recapture data:
- 23 fish were recaptured over multiple years
- 22 fish were recaptured in the same month
- 13 fish were recaptured in the same week

**Some interesting stats over 11 years **

- 1258 fish tagged
- average length = 18"
- average weight = 3.5 lbs.
- 9.4% of the fish were 22" or bigger
- 266 recaptures or 21% of the population caught over multiple years
- 37 fish were recaptured 3 times,
- 8 fish recaptured 4 times
- one lucky fish was recaptured 5 times.(lucky #5152)
- 95% of fishermen now practice some form of "C&R" since the '05 regulation change to 22".

- one lucky fish was recaptured 5 times.(lucky #5152)

- 8 fish recaptured 4 times

- 37 fish were recaptured 3 times,

- 266 recaptures or 21% of the population caught over multiple years

- 9.4% of the fish were 22" or bigger

- average weight = 3.5 lbs.

- average length = 18"

** ****"fabulous wilderness fishing…**

**is enough to make a fisherman break out in speckles himself”**

Kirkland Alexander, 1905