Lake Trout in Prince Albert National Park
Prince Albert National Park
Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) are a cold-water fish that are unique to North America with Prince Albert National Park occurring in the southern extent of their range in Saskatchewan. They are most suited to lakes with cold, deep water which contain high levels of oxygen and rocky underwater reefs for spawning. The park uses lake trout as an indicator species for freshwater lake health because they are a long-lived species and are sensitive to changes in their environment. This means that changes in lake trout populations can also signify changes in the broader aquatic lake ecosystems they live in.
There are currently three lakes in in Prince Albert National Park with known lake trout populations– Kingsmere, Wassegam and Crean. Of these, Kingsmere Lake is the most popular for recreational anglers.
Population and Assessments
All lake trout populations are routinely monitored using a variety of survey techniques, including the Summer Profundal Index Netting (SPIN) methodology, angler “creel” surveys and water quality sampling. The Kingsmere Lake trout population is of special interest because of angling pressure on the lake and recent survey results showing population fluctuation over the last 15 years. SPIN survey results suggest the lake trout population in Wassegam has remained relatively stable through time. Wassegam Lake is located along the northern border of the park and generally receives very little fishing pressure due to its remote location. Lake trout in Crean Lake occur at very low population levels and are at risk of extirpation in the future. Research on Crean Lake has found the lake contains a limited amount of suitable oxygenated habitat for lake trout, which may be further limited with the warming climate in the future. Prince Albert National Park is committed to continuing to monitor and conserve lake trout so that populations remain sustainable.
Kingsmere Lake Trout Management Plan
Prince Albert National Park takes its mandate to protect the ecological integrity of the park seriously. As an indicator of aquatic ecosystem health, the lake trout population in Kingsmere Lake are considered of special interest in Prince Albert National Park. The park is currently working to create a Kingsmere Lake Trout Management Plan to ensure lake trout are conserved for the future. To do this, an internal working group and the Kingsmere Lake Trout Advisory Board were created in fall 2022 to bring together diverse expertise, experiences, and worldviews on lake trout management. The advisory board included representatives from local First Nations, Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, academia, NGOs, the Province of Ontario and two members of the public. The advisory board will continue to meet in the fall of 2023.
Prince Albert National Park is grateful for the time, expertise, and dedication of all those who participated in management planning discussions. The information gathered in the process will be used to draft a Kingsmere Lake Trout Management Plan. This plan will be available to the public once finalized. For more information on lake trout conservation efforts in Prince Albert National Park, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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