Release date - November 2014
A Selkirk district NRO was conducting a recreational fishery patrol when he saw a man actively angling with rod and reel. The man was angling near the fishway at the St. Andrews Dam at Lockport, MB. The officer watched the man lean around the wall and cast his line to within 23 metres of the lower entrance of the fishway several times in a row. Fishing within 23 metres of the lower entrance of the fishway is prohibited and is clearly marked by several signs measuring approximately 3 feet by 4 feet each; one of which the angler was standing directly beside with an unobstructed view.
The NRO returned to his patrol vehicle to retrieve his video camera. He watched the man again and recorded him continually leaning around the wall and casting towards the lower entrance of the fishway. When the man was retrieving his lure, he would repeatedly reel in a small amount of line then vigorously pull his fishing rod. This activity is known as snagging and is prohibited. This method is used predominantly where fish are found in high concentrations. The vigorous retrieval results in hooking the fish in the side, tail, or back and can leave large wounds caused from the fish fighting capture.
The NRO approached the man and identified himself. He asked the man why he was casting towards the entrance of the fishway and attempting to snag fish. The man argued that he was not snagging fish but told the NRO that he fishes this area because the high concentration of fish and that they had not been biting the hook, so he was casting closer to the fishway’s entrance.
The prohibition on fishing within 23 metres of the lower entrance of a fishway exists to protect the artificially high concentration of fish that gather there due to the physical barrier (the dam). The man was served offence notices for engaging in a prohibited fishing activity in an area marked by signs as well as for taking or attempting to take fish by snagging.
He entered a guilty plea and was assessed a fine of $639.15