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Citizen Science: How you can help the fish of FortWhyte Alive

Posted on April 25, 2024

Calling all anglers! Your help is needed this fishing season to collect information about our fish.

From master anglers to children learning to cast, the lakeshores of FortWhyte Alive are often dotted with fishers during the summer. With small lakes, fishing equipment rentals, and with a location right here in Winnipeg, FortWhyte Alive is a favourite place for many to spend a day connecting with nature.

But sustainable fishing is more than catch and release or taking in moderation. It also means making informed decisions to protect the future of the lakes and the fish that live there.

This is where you come in: you can help protect the lakes of FortWhyte Alive by completing a creel survey – a short form about what you caught and how during this open water season.

hands holding fishing rod

What is a creel survey?

A creel survey is a way to collect data on fish caught in a specific area over a set time. Anglers fill out a few boxes on a chart so we can get an idea of what species and how many of them are being caught. This gives FortWhyte Alive information about our lake system and how anglers interact with it, so we can make informed decisions to protect our fish populations.

How does it work?

During a creel survey, trained volunteers or staff will interview anglers at fishing sites here at FortWhyte Alive. They will record information like the number and species of fish caught, the amount of time spent fishing, and the fishing methods used. This data provides a snapshot of fishing activity and will allow us to estimate catch rates and angler success.

A few short answers give us a world of information.

Why is it important?

FortWhyte Alive is committed to maintaining a healthy and sustainable fish population in our lakes for the years to come. Creel surveys will provide essential information for our site management. The data collected from these surveys will help us manage invasive species and improve water quality, lake levels and fish stocks throughout our property.

How can I help?

Citizen science, your help, plays a crucial role in conducting creel surveys. By participating, you directly contribute to conservation and management of our fisheries. Your observations and data help paint a comprehensive picture of fishing activity and contribute to informed decision-making. It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced angler or just learning, your participation is needed and appreciated.

How can I can start?

When you arrive for some fishing, please stop by the survey table in our Alloway Reception Centre and speak with us. If the survey table isn’t set up during your visit, the front desk will provide you with a paper survey to fill out (don’t worry, it’s very simple!).

As a thank you for your help, you will be entered to win a one-year FortWhyte family membership to be drawn when the fishing season closes in the fall.

person holding fishing rod facing lake at sunset

Sustainable fishing requires collaboration and commitment from all stakeholders. Your help with our creel surveys as citizen scientists will ensure that our fisheries remain healthy, vibrant and accessible for generations to come.

The FortWhyte Alive Creel Survey is supported by the Fishery And Wildlife Enhancement Fund.

Manitoba Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund logo