A new fishing season has begun, and that means new regulations to help keep even the swiftest of currents protected from overfishing.
As with every year, 2022 has some changes here and there regarding fishing regulations. Just because the southern region opens up sooner than the rest, doesn't mean there is a window where the regulations stay the same as the year before. Rest assured, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment has them ready to go.
Murray Koob, a sport fishery biologist with the Fisheries Unit of the Ministry of Environment, knows anglers are eager to sink their hooks, but wants to remind everyone that there are some things they should go over first.
"License fees went up for all categories of licenses," announced Koob. "From the annual license to the three-day license and a one-day license as well for all (Saskatchewan) residents, Canadian residents, and non-residents (i.e Americans )."
The process for purchasing a license is the same. You can do so online, or at a licensed vendor.
Koob would also like to remind everyone to check out their local fishing hole limits on different fish. While the general limits can apply to most places, sometimes there is an exception.
"Unfortunately, the one size fits all doesn't work on every body of water," admitted Koob. "Certain lakes are more heavily pressured and their fish populations need a little bit more protection, so we have some special limits as well."
There are specific tables for the southern management zone and the central management zone. If you plan on fishing in either of those regions, you should check to see how many pickrel you can take or how many jackfish are allowed.
And as always, the size of the catch matters.
"You can't go and catch four really large breeding fish," reminded Koob. " You can take one over 55 centimetres, just to correct those breeding fish for future years, so that'll help sustain the population for future generations."
In the southern region, there are no requirements for barbless hooks. However, if you plan to fish north of the zone, it's a good idea to make sure you bring along some barbless hooks so you aren't forced to clip your favourite spinners or jigs.
"When you move further north into the central management zone and the northern management zone, then there are a few catch and release designated waters that are primarily associated with outfitter operations," stipulated Koob. "Those types of waters are barbless.
Koob also brought up the issue of invasive species. The most common of which that concerns officials right now is the Zebra Mussels, which hasn't found their into Saskatchewan's waters yet, there is concern about boaters coming from out of province with their boats, as they could be contaminated.
To avoid bringing in Zebra Mussels and other dangerous invasive, make sure to wash your boat between lakes, and check for any stowaways in hard-to-reach places, like around the motor/propeller.
"But if a person is in doubt, and you want to get your boat checked, you can always contact the number on our website and get your boat inspected," advised Koob.
With all that in mind, good luck fishing this year, and remember to obey the limits and regulations. They are in place to help preserve the natural order of water bodies throughout Saskatchewan.