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Muskellunge Restoration

Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) Management Plan and Habitat Suitability Index for the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) Area of Concern

Related Delisting Criteria

Habitat Impairments: Fish Communities and Populations

Delisting Criteria:

XIII-5 For Muskellunge, sturgeon and walleye, the acceptance for implementation of restorations plans by the responsible agencies.

Revised to Read Acceptance for implementation of the actions recommended in the Lake St. Francis Fisheries Management Plan, Walleye Fisheries Management Study, Muskellunge Management Strategy and broader St. Lawrence River Restoration plans for these species to help restore/protect and monitor populations of muskellunge, sturgeon and walleye.

R8: Assess recruitment abundance and spawning/nursery areas as well as changes in adult abundance for muskellunge.

Project Goals/Objectives

Muskellunge are one of the most prized game fish in North America.  Unfortunately, since the damming of the river and the creation of the seaway much valuable fish habitat has been lost or degraded.  Modifications to the shoreline, such as breakwall and the removal of vegetation has aggravated the problem.  These habitat changes lead to changes within the fish community structure in this section of the river. 

Presently little is known about the status muskellunge and their habitat within the AOC; this has lead to the development of the muskellunge plan. The objective of this plan is to incorporate what is known about muskellunge populations and their habitat needs from the surrounding waters outside the Area of Concern (AOC) and use it to help fill the gaps in and guide the research pertaining to the population within Lake St. Francis.  Each of the plans recommendations is design to answer one or more questions pertaining to muskellunge and their life history or habitat use within the AOC.

Over the past several years a seine netting campaign has been undertaken to locate young-of-the-year muskellunge and at the same time to characterize the habitat and fish community in the areas in which they reside.  To date only a handful of sites have been positively identified as muskellunge nursery areas; others still need confirmation.  The ongoing inventory of muskellunge spawning and nursery sites involves linking the results of the Lake St. Francis Aquatic Vegetation Mapping Project with the Muskellunge Suitability Index that is being developed as part of the management plan.  Once identified, these potential sites will be sampled and characterized in depth in order to provide validation for the suitability index.  Other recommendations within the plan are to conduct several years of spring muskellunge index netting (SMIN) as well as the protection and rehabilitation of areas considered to be good muskellunge habitat throughout the stages of its life cycle.

If you have and questions pertaining to this porject please contact:

Brendan Jacobs
Wildlife Monitoring Supervisor
e-mail: brendan.jacobs@rrca.on.ca
Tel: 613-938-3611 ext: 234

Chris Critoph
Manager of Environmental Services
e-mail: chris.critoph@rrca.on.ca
Tel: 613-938-3611 ext: 223

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Raisin Region Conservation Authority
18045 County Road #2, P.O. Box 429, Cornwall, ON, K6H 5T2
Tel. 613-938-3611   Fax. 613-938-3221