Horn River Creel Survey and Stock Study

Regions: Dehcho Region

Tags: biology, fish, subsistence

Principal Investigator: Low, George (10)
Licence Number: 16133
Organization: Dehcho AAROM
Licenced Year(s): 2017
Issued: Jul 11, 2017
Project Team: Mike Low (Technical Advisor, Dehcho AAROM), George Low (Coordinator, Dehcho AAROM), Joe Lacorne (Community Monitor, Deh Gah Gotie First Nation), Steven Nadlii (Community Monitor, Deh Gah Gotie First Nation), Bruce Townsend (Supervisor, Dehcho AAROM)

Objective(s): To collect information on the walleye population from the Horn River.

Project Description: It is the objective of this project to collect information on the walleye population from the Horn River which can be used for managing the fishery and possibly changing the regulations. In order to reach this objective the following goals have been set out:
1. to collect population structure and spawning information by setting gill nets of varying mesh size and biologically sampling a portion of the catch. Biological sampling will collect data for length, weight, sex, maturity and age; and,
2) to collect information on the current recreational fishery through a creel survey where an attempt to interview all itinerant anglers will be made. The interview will consist of questions on the amount of time spent fishing, fish species and the number caught, amount of fish released and place of residence. This will also be an opportunity for community monitors to develop good recording techniques.

There are going to be two parts to this project with each having a different methodology. The first part of the study will be the collection of biological information. Gill nets with a mesh size of 3.5", 4.5" and 5.5" will be set each day and checked the following morning, the mesh size, soak time, location, amount of fish and species of fish will be recorded each time. All fish removed from the net will be processed at a sampling station where species, length, weight, sex and maturity will be recorded and an aging structure will be removed for analysis.

The second part of the study involves interviewing human beings through a creel survey. Two local community monitors will be trained on interviewing techniques to successfully approach and collect proper information from itinerant anglers the week prior to the survey. During the survey, the two monitors and one Dehcho First Nation technician will approach itinerant (non- local) boats and anglers on- shore using an 18ft aluminum boat. The creel crew will introduce themselves as workers of the first nation, explain the survey and then ask if they would like to participate in an interview. Each person in a group will be interviewed if permission is granted, one monitor will ask the specific questions of where the group was fishing, how many fish were caught and released, what type of fish and how long they fished for. The other monitor will record observational data which includes, time of day, location, number of people in a group and any other significant details.

As with all Dehcho Aquatics Resource Management projects, they are driven from community concerns and questions and the community is both consulted with and a key part of the planning process. This project is not only collecting information about the Horn River fishery, it is an opportunity to train the two local community monitors in record keeping, interviewing anglers, biologically sampling fish and acting as a steward to the land. The community monitors assist through the Dehcho AAROM program each summer to record observations regarding the environment; this work will be a continuous part of their summer work.

Presenting all results is a priority for every Dehcho Aquatics Resource Management project. Community presentations will be given annually and upon completion. As well, community camps and community feasts will be used to discuss any results.

In addition to community presentations, results will be presented at the annual Dehcho Aquatics Resource Management meeting and an update given at the Dehcho Assembly.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 12, 2017 to December 31, 2017.