August 14, 2019 - The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry wants to remind
all anglers that fishing during the closed season is illegal, even if you're releasing
Two anglers have been fined $3,000 for catching Lake Sturgeon out of season on the
During the summer of 2018, conservation officers from the Midhurst Enforcement Unit
received a tip that two men were posting photos of the sturgeon they had caught
on social media. Investigators from MNRF searched online and found the photos. Officers
then confirmed that the photos had been taken along the Nottawasaga River, an area
where the Lake Sturgeon season is closed all year.
Interviews with the two anglers revealed that one of the men had caught a sturgeon
in the Nottawasaga River in the fall of 2016, and that both men had returned to
that location in June 2018 to target Lake Sturgeon. They continued to fish that
area specifically to catch Lake Sturgeon.
On July 15, 2019, at the Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie, Ron Mercer and Travis
Hall pleaded guilty to angling Lake Sturgeon during the closed season. Justice of
the Peace Michelle Vella-Baxter heard the guilty pleas and imposed a fine of $1,500
and a one-year fishing suspension to each angler.
There are no open seasons for Lake Sturgeon in many of the Fisheries Management
Zones in Ontario. Anglers should check the Fishing Regulations summary to be fully
informed of the seasons before going fishing. The Great Lakes-Upper St. Lawrence
River population of Lake Sturgeon is classified as endangered. If you accidentally
catch a threatened or endangered species of fish, or any species during its closed
season, you must immediately release it at the place and time of capture.
Ministry conservation officers work tirelessly to help make sure we can all enjoy
Ontario's natural resources in a safe and respectful manner. To report a natural
resource violation, or report that you've harvested an animal that you don't have
a tag for, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free anytime, or contact
your local MNRF office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers
anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
We need your help to solve cases. Please visit Ontario.ca/mnrftips to view an interactive,
searchable map of unsolved cases. You may have valuable information that can help.