Temporary Fish Sanctuaries – Opinicon Lake and Charleston Lake

ERO number
Notice type
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
May 4, 2023 - June 19, 2023 (46 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:

May 4, 2023
to June 19, 2023

Proposal summary

In co-operation with academia (Fisheries Conservation Foundation, Universities of Carleton, Illinois, Manitoba, and Queen’s), the ministry is proposing to create temporary fish sanctuaries on Opinicon Lake and Charleston Lake for the 2024 and 2025 fishing season to support long-term bass nesting and population recruitment research.

Proposal details

The proposed temporary regulation changes are to support long-term bass nesting and population research which has been conducted over the last three decades, in Fisheries Management Zone (FMZ) 18. See map of FMZ 18.

Research conducted by academia has shown that pre-season bass fishing (either intentional or while targeting other fish species) and fishing for nesting bass once the season is open, has had a detrimental impact on population recruitment in several bass fisheries.

Regulation changes – to Ontario Fishing Regulations, 2007

The regulations are proposed to only occur in the 2024 and 2025 fishing seasons.

Proposed sanctuaries

No fishing – April 15 to July 10

  • Opinicon Lake - South Crosby Township – Queens University Biology Station to Eightacre Island
  • Opinicon Lake - South Crosby and Bedford Townships – Deadlock Bay and “OPOC” Bay
  • Charleston Lake - Lansdowne Township – Sheep, Democrat, Fisher, Hogback, Prospect, Tar, Victoria, and Rockhouse Islands
  • Charleston Lake - Lansdowne and Escott Townships – Sand Bay and Sally’s Hole Bay, including Browns Island

The proposed sanctuaries will support continued research in this area. The research intends to use spring-time bass spawning sanctuaries on both lakes to determine the level of improvement in reproduction and resulting population recruitment in comparison to unprotected areas. The research will also study the relative size of sanctuary area needed to provide for sustainable population recruitment for each waterbody as well as area required to compensate for the negative impacts of pre-season fishing for nesting bass. The research also intends to collect data on population monitoring indicators which will be compared to historical data collected for each lake during the 1990’s by the research group.

Support for the proposed temporary regulation changes has been provided by the FMZ 18 Advisory Council and affected lake associations.

The proposed changes are not anticipated to impact Aboriginal and/or treaty rights. Indigenous communities will be provided notification of the proposed changes. We welcome any feedback Indigenous communities may have.

Maps depicting boundaries of the proposed sanctuaries can be received by contacting the ministry contact listed below. Information on the research that has been conducted to date can be provided on request (see the supporting materials section of this posting).

Analysis of Regulatory Impact

  • the anticipated environmental and social consequences of this proposal are positive. The proposed regulation is very localized and will only impact relatively small portions of both lakes
  • the anticipated economic consequences of this proposal are neutral. Only small portions of both lakes will be closed to springtime fishing over a total period of only two open water fishing seasons
  • there are no annual administrative costs to businesses anticipated from these proposed changes

Information Sessions

Information sessions related to the review of the proposed temporary fish sanctuaries will be held via in-person and/or remote meetings which may be arranged by reaching out to the contact listed in this notice during the comment period. Reasonable opportunities to remotely meet during non-business hours will be provided upon request.

The following supporting documents for this proposal can be viewed by making arrangements with the contact person in this notice:

1. David P. Philipp, Aaron Zolderdo, Michael J. Lawrence, Julie E. Claussen, Liane Nowell, Peter Holder, Steven J. Cooke,
COVID-19 reduced recreational fishing effort during the black bass spawning season, resulting in increases in black bass reproductive success and annual recruitment, Fisheries Research, Volume 259, 2023,106580.

2. David P. Philipp and Julie E. Claussen, What COVID taught us about how angling nesting bass hurts bass populations, Fisheries Conservation Foundation.

Additional supporting materials

The following can be requested from the contact person in this notice:

  • Scientific paper on bass nesting research in FMZ 18
  • Summary article on bass nesting research in FMZ 18
  • Maps of localized sanctuary areas

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

MNRF - ROD - Southern Region - Kemptville Work Centre

10-1 Campus Drive
Kemptville, ON
K0G 1J0

Office phone number


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from May 4, 2023
to June 19, 2023

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Joffre Côté

Phone number
Email address
MNRF - ROD - Southern Region - Kemptville Work Centre

10-1 Campus Drive
Kemptville, ON
K0G 1J0

Office phone number

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