Updated May 2024

The Kennisis Lake fishery is a challenging one, principally a result of the unfortunate introduction of Rock Bass and Small Mouth Bass in the Seventies and Eighties.   This resulted in the virtual elimination of Bait fish populations in the lake. The lack of a material food supply stunted the growth of our Lake Trout population resulting to today’s small thin bodied fish surviving on plankton, insects, and another invasive species, the spiney water flea. These Lake Trout are also far less productive than before making them vulnerable to overfishing.  The Small Mouth bass fishery while relatively active is comprised of small fish. 

The MNR has experimented in the past with stocking Speckled Trout in the lake to enhance fishing opportunities with the last such stocking in 2022, but catches are infrequent. No evidence of natural spawning activity has been found. 

In 2017 a Fishery Advisory Counsel was established for MNR’s Fisheries Management Zone 15 (the zone Kennisis lake is in) to review regulations affecting the various fish species available in the zone. Participants included the Federation of Anglers and Hunters, FOAH, MNR, Native Groups and local lake associations.

 A subcommittee was established by the CHA (Coalition of Haliburton Cottage Owner Associations) to provide input on Haliburton specific issues, specifically the significant decline of Lake Trout across the zone.

As hard as it is to believe, the Fishery Advisory Counsel finally submitted its recommendations to the MNR in mid 2022 and the regulation changes proposed were posted for public consultation in October 2022. The material recommendations included the shortening/closures of Lake Trout/Speckled Trout ice fishing and slot size expansion.  The science was clear that fishing pressure and climate change were impacting Lake Trout population numbers with mid sized lakes (less than 500 Hectares) the most vulnerable. 

A large outcry erupted fueled largely by Ice Hut operators reacting to the new regulations proposing Lake Trout winter fishing closures on small sized lakes and a shortened season, minimum size and single lines applying to large lakes.  Subsequently in January 2024 the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters voiced opposition to some of the proposed changes notwithstanding they were at the counsel table from the being. The zone 15 regulations unfortunately remain unchanged with both the MNR and Government showing no progress on the issues to date. 

One small way to help enhance our fishery is to get your kids out to our annual Rock Bass fishing derby which helps remove many pounds of this unwanted population, currently scheduled to be held on Saturday July 6th.

Brian Evans