The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a recreational rainbow trout fishery
Bunt, C. and B. Jacobson. 2021. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a recreational rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) fishery. Journal of Great Lakes Research. In Review.
After initial complete lock-downs caused recreational angling restrictions due to COVID-19, angler exploitation rates of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Saugeen River, Ontario, a tributary to Lake Huron, increased while fishery support activities remained impeded. There was a seven-fold increase in overall exploitation rate and a four-fold increase in harvest rate in fall 2020 compared to pre-pandemic seasons. Increased angling pressure occurred simultaneously with reduced fishway functionality and interrupted hatchery operations. As a result return run sizes in the future may be significantly diminished and fisheries managers may need to take action to mitigate this unforeseen consequence of the pandemic, the full extent of which is likely not to be fully realized for several years.