Where are the fish? Researchers investigating lake west of Collingwood
Researchers are trying to figure out why fish are disappearing from a lake west of Collingwood.
Barry Mills and his friends made the trip from the London area to Lake Eugenia to try their luck at fishing. They were hoping to catch a bass or two but came up empty.
“We have been out for four hours. We have some good effort in that's for sure,” Mills says.
It’s a story Nancy Matthews has heard before, she has been cottaging on Lake Eugenia for more than 30 years and has fond memories of her children growing up catching fish off the dock. She says the lake has changed recently and the cottage association is paying close attention to the lakes ecosystem.
“Last summer the fisherman were catching almost nothing. We are concerned because I know that if you have an environmental situation, the sooner you can address it and the sooner you can apply remediation the better opportunity you have and the less cost there is to make the correction.”
In an effort to find out what's happening to the lake and the fish, the cottage association has teamed up with the municipality and a research company from Kitchener to conduct a two year study that will use radio telemetry and underwater cameras to track largemouth bass.
Christopher Bunt is a fisheries research scientist, who has studied fish across North America. Bunt is already tracking 19 bass with transmitters. A stationary underwater camera is also documenting everything that swims by, while water chemistry is continually monitored.
“When we are finished setting the study up we will have 30 fish with transmitters that we will able to track every couple of days for two years. Mae will be collecting data on temperature, dissolved oxygen, vegetation structure, habitat type, distance to cover and species association from each of those location from the fish over two years.”
When the study is complete, the cottage association will have some facts to base future stewardship efforts on.
In the meantime it’s up to anglers to report any tagged fish and according to the latest research there are still some record breaking bass out there.