Sport Fishing Near Farabout
The Kenora District Campowners Association recently (2018) gave the Eagle Lake Farabout Peninsula Coalition a $5,000 donation to support the Coalition in their conservation efforts over the past decade to protect the peninsula from logging. The Coalition and local fishing lodges will continue to cooperate to hold fund-raising dinners, support archaeological activities adjacent to the peninsula, and to promote protection of fish spawning areas and ecotourism around Farabout Peninsula . This partnership provides a template for the future of tourism and ecotourism in the Kenora district. It brings together the interests of diverse groups invested in preserving our natural resources for the future.
IMPORTANCE OF MUSKELLUNGE TO LOCAL FISHING LODGES
Eagle Lake is recognized as a premier site in Ontario for Muskellunge fishing. Ontario MNR has recognized the importance of this fishery for the tourist industry in a recent (2011) publication, which identifies Eagle Lake as one of the top Muskellunge lakes in Canada. There a number of tourist camps and local professional fishing guides whose businesses depend on the local Musky catch.
It is important for the well-being of the tourist industry on Eagle Lake that high-quality Musky spawning habitat is preserved. A leading expert on reproduction of Muskellunge (Dombeck) has opined that practices such as road building and logging should not be allowed to occur close to Muskie spawning areas.
Consistent with fish science, the MNR Stand and Site Guide (March 18, 2010) indicates that Best Management Practice for water crossings (220.127.116.11, p. 136) adjacent to critical fish habitat, such as “areas of fish spawning”, should not involve earth cuts within 100 meters of the water’s edge. If this formal standard is respected and enforced, it would require that all road building on the isthmus to the Farabout Peninsula, and logging near to the shoreline of the peninsula, is permanently removed from any future Forest Management Plans.
Scott Jaeger, Owner of Northshore Lodge and Professional Guide, spoke at a fundraising dinner for the Farabout Coalition in August 2014. The following is his keynote speech.
Both of these pictures are of Scott Jaeger with world-class Musky that were caught and released near to the Farabout Peninsula.
My love of Eagle Lake began at birth. I grew up living on Eagle Lake in Little Neck Bay as my parents purchased Big Eagle Lodge the year I was born. I have spent the last 11 years living on the big water of Eagle Bay just down the road and now own North Shore Lodge - both properties overlooking Farabout Peninsula. My life on this lake has provided me the understanding of just how amazing and fragile our water and the life within and around it are.
When it comes to harvesting wood off the Farabout Peninsula, I am not only concerned with how devastating it would be to look out my windows and not see pristine, old forest but also how harvesting has increased the mercury level in the lakes and fish due to run off. This water shed is huge and the run off from clear-cutting in and around streams that feed Eagle Lake has already resulted in an increase. With deforestation, stream and bank erosion increases nutrients in the water, and reduces suitable vegetation with other types of vegetation that are not of the same quality. As well, the road building necessary to log, in this case across the narrow isthmus, would negatively impact flora and fauna - including Eagle's nesting spots and the spawning grounds of many types of fish that have been in existence long before any of us arrived.
As my passion is musky fishing and I have chased trophy fish for over 30 years I know first hand that Muskies are one of, if not the most, fragile fish in the water. For those of you who may not be familiar with Muskies, they are known as the fish of 10,000 casts and are similar to a northern pike but their colouring and markings as well as head-shape differ. The Musky grows to be one of the largest freshwater fish found in Canadian Lakes.
Each and every season I have caught countless numbers of Muskies around the Farabout Peninsula; including some of my very biggest fish. The water around the peninsula is some of the most fertile water on Eagle Lake for Musky and Northern Pike spawning, with its numerous bays; including the two main bays - Little Neck which you toured last year and Outlet Bay to which we are closely located. These two bays are on each side of the narrowest piece of the peninsula, the isthmus, are shallow long narrow bays and are perfect for spawning. In early June you will see Muskies cruising the shoreline in pairs getting ready for their spawn. I've been lucky enough to witness this around the peninsula and it really is a sight to behold.
The Musky spawns a couple of weeks after the Northern Pike and seek the area's shallow waters that are warmed early by direct sunlight. Most really good spawning bays are along the northern or northwest shores of lakes as the water warms faster due to longer periods of sunlight, and are not affected by cold fronts as easily. That is why Outlet, Little Neck, Kennedy and other bays around the peninsula are great spawning areas. In these bays, the wind and cold temperatures of the bigger waters on Eagle Lake are not as prevalent and offer a safe, undisturbed place to spawn.
Since a single adult female will spawn in the same areas each summer, and produce as many as 200,000-250,000 eggs with seldom more than a 1% survival rate, the peninsula needs to be protected. Musky waters populations are still low in even ideal conditions. It takes a lot of luck for a fingerling to reach maturity and this requires great habitat including an undisturbed shoreline.
Eagle Lake is one of the top four Musky waters in the world, and it is a world class fishery for giant Muskies. People from all over the world come to Eagle Lake to Musky hunt and those that do respect the fish enough to believe in catch and release. They appreciate that it is a fish that needs to be preserved and allowed to grow, in order to catch it another day - when it is even bigger. Musky hunters, including myself, have been advocates for the preservation of the species and of catch and release even before it was mandated. And as conservationists of Muskies we are also advocates for the protection of its environment... after all, what's good for the Musky is good for the lake.
Thank you all for coming out to support the Coalition and allowing me to be part of such a worthwhile cause. While it would seem obvious that harvesting the Peninsula would have a greater impact than simply ruining the view from the opposite shoreline, we need to continue to work together to preserve Farabout and protect all life that is currently living on and around it. After all, it is a part of what makes Eagle Lake amazing.