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A New Resource for Local Anglers

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The Swan Valley Sport Fishing Enhancement (SVSFE) want to tell you about an excellent new resource for all anglers living and visiting in the area: it’s their new website!
Although they’ve been live at swanvalleysportfishing.com for some time, through a grant acquired through the Manitoba Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund, SVSFE has updated and freshened up their website to include more information than ever before, empowering anglers to better explore and sustainably fish the multitude of water bodies found in the Parkland region.
“We wanted to make (this website) a one-stop shop for anybody who wants to go angling in the area,” said Brock Koutecky, a fisheries technician for the SVSFE.
The first impression of the homepage invites you to “Fish the Parkland” and “Enjoy some of the best multi-species angling in the country”. From there, visitors have access that will teach them more about the area and help them become more effective and responsible anglers.
A full database of stocking reports has been added, with records from the entire western Manitoba region showing which fish were added to which lake, going back as far as the 1920s.
“Anglers want to know what was stocked most recently or, more importantly, what was stocked four or five years ago,” said Koutecky. “This is a huge asset for somebody who wants to go fishing, especially for trout.”
SVSFE have also provided a complete database of research done about the area. This includes SVSFE’s own research since 2009, but also older research done by governments and other organizations. More than 100 scientific reports are available, both to view on the website and to download.
All research papers are categorized and tagged with fish types, water bodies, region, and research organization, making searching through the database more user-friendly.
“This was available before, but very basic on our website,” said SVSFE Project Manager and Fisheries Technician Holly Urban. “This gives people different tools to filter their search, so they can more easily do their research before they go out fishing.”
The real pièce de résistance of the new website though is the Go Fishing section, which provides another database of water bodies in the Parkland region, how to get to them, and what kind of fish one might find there.
“The bulk of our work went into this page,” said Koutecky. “This has, hopefully, everything you would want to know about any of the fisheries in our area.
“We’ve separated it into sub-categories, like Lake Fishing, Stream Fishing, and Backcountry Fishing. Below the page there is also an interactive map where you can apply filters to see where you want to go.
“We’ve been collecting data on all these fisheries for years, and a lot of people don’t necessarily know how to get there – especially the backcountry ones. We have provided that information and the contour information and depth information as well.”
The majority of the lakes and streams listed contain multiple tools that assist in navigating, such as downloadable files that apply overlay contour maps directly into a GPS device or GPS smartphone app, as well as trail maps that give offline directions, following your progress on a map app with GPS much like any online map would. With this, anglers can navigate to the backcountry lakes more easily, and know what depth of water they are in without having to use sonar, even without a cellular signal.
Downloadable PDF and JPEG files are also available to print off or reference on your smart device.
The SVSFE website includes a page that thoroughly, outlines how to use these downloadable files and what kinds of smartphone apps can be used.
Other features available on the website include a link to the annually-released Manitoba Anglers Guide, links to popular fishing forums, links to the Master Angler records, and links to third-party websites related to angling, camping, parks, or anything that may be particularly helpful when visitors are exploring our region.
And, of course, there are plenty of photos that give a great visual preview of the kind of scenery around the Parkland.
“We’ve asked people in the community to send some cool pictures,” said Koutecky, noting they are continuing to accept images. “We add them to the gallery on the bottom of each page so people can have a sense of what’s in (these water bodies) and what it looks like.”
Photo submissions can be sent to swanvalleysportfish@gmail.com.
In addition, anglers are encouraged to fill out a couple of surveys that really help out the SVSFE.
“We want to hear back from our anglers,” said Urban. “One survey is a general questionnaire, asking for their opinion of different fisheries and how things are managed. The other is just of your daily catch. We want to know the fishing quality. As we are out doing this research, we are not always angling on these lakes, so we want to know what the quality is for angling so that’s where we can get this input from.”
Another form is available to fill out if anybody happens to catch a tagged fish.
“There are not too many fisheries that have tagged fish left in them, but there is a chance that people could get some in other areas of the Parkland, so we have that in there for people to submit their tagged fish catches,” said Urban.
At the end of the year – in October – those that have submitted surveys are entered in a draw for a few great prizes, with the 2019 Angler Survey Draw Prizes currently listed as a $500 GPS/Sonar Unit, $200 worth of fishing gear, and a $100 fishing gear gift card.
With all this data at their disposal, the SVSFE is able to continue to maintain sustainable fisheries in the region, even as angling grows more popular in Manitoba in recent years.
“Our bottom line is coming up with up-to-date management plans for lakes,” said Koutecky. “When it comes to managing a lake, it comes to two different aspects: regulation and how it’s stocked.
“We quite often change regulations to assist in increased fishing pressure if we notice that is happening. And, we increase the stocking rate if we notice that there is increased pressure. So, we are always keeping an eye out on those trends and therefore suggesting to the government that lakes are managed differently.”
“The growing popularity to this sport is why providing this information to the angling community is so important,” Urban added. “Anglers are more likely to fish in a sustainable manner if they understand what’s happening with the fishery and the initiatives that are being taken to manage them.”

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Jeremy Bergen
REPORTER
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