Fish Habitat of the Tay River Watershed: Existing Conditions and Opportunities for Enhancement Completed by



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Existing Fish Habitat Conditions


Fish Habitat Enhancement Opportunities

Leggat Lake (T2)

Warm water



Warm water fish community with top predators (particularly smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, and walleye)

All populations are natural and self-sustaining with management focused on the bass fishery



Water Quality

Trophic State- between meso and oligotrophic

Average phosphorus levels (1997) 0.008 mg/L (classed as oligotrophic)

below the PWQO for P of 0.01 mg/L

Generally good oxygen levels, with possible dissolved oxygen depletion in deep water during the summer months



Preserve and maintain natural riparian buffers
Potential shoreline replanting projects are present in the only cluster of cottage development on the southwest shoreline (Figure 2.2.1)







Critical Fish Habitat

Many bass spawning/nesting areas are located within small, shallow bays near the south shore, these areas are often associated with nearby nursery habitat (Figure 2.2.1)

Smallmouth bass spawning (nesting) and rearing areas should be protected from development in or near water, and early summer angling









Walleye spawning areas remain unknown, but many potential shoal spawning sites are present throughout the lake




Lake / Watercourse


and Designation

Fish Community Objective

Issues

Existing Fish Habitat Conditions


Fish Habitat Enhancement Opportunities

Eagle Lake (T2)

Cold water


Cold water fish community with top predators (particularly lake trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and northern pike)

Management directions towards naturally sustaining lake trout populations

Other populations are natural and self-sustaining


Critical Fish Habitat/

Water Quality



Trophic Status- oligotrophic

General trend in Secchi disk and nutrient measurements indicate good and improving water quality

Average phosphorus levels (1996-1999) was 0.008mg/L, below the PWQO of 0.01 mg/L

Eagle lake is classed as moderately sensitive lake trout habitat

Depth of Eagle lake allows for high reserves of dissolved oxygen (but the minimum acceptable levels for lake trout) in the late summer months

YOY/nursery and summer habitat (temperature and DO) for all life stages is at minimal levels for lake trout survival



Encourage practices that do not decrease water quality (ie. control shoreline development, shoreline rehabilitation, reduce nutrient input, etc.) (refer to priority enhancement projects)
Numerous cottages on the southern shore and the peninsula jutting out into the mid-lake exhibit riparian destruction (Figure 2.2.2)

Potential shoreline rehabilitation projects could be done in the above locations









Critical


Fish Habitat

Significant natural lake trout reproduction occurs on the large shoal south of Camp Oconto


Several potential lake trout spawning shoals exist mainly around island shorelines in the northeastern corner of the lake (Figure 2.2.2)

Protect and enhance known and potential lake trout spawning shoals (Figure 2.2.2) to increase natural reproduction


Lake / Watercourse


and Designation

Fish Community Objective

Issues

Existing Fish Habitat Conditions


Fish Habitat Enhancement Opportunities

Eagle Lake (T2)

Cold water


Cold water fish community with top predators (particularly lake trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and northern pike)

Management directions towards naturally sustaining lake trout populations

Other populations are natural and self-sustaining


Critical Fish Habitat, continued

Few northern pike spawning areas are known

The narrows and at the mouths of shallow inlet creeks (Figure 2.2.2) supply the only available pike spawning habitat on Eagle Lake


Smallmouth and largemouth bass spawn in abundant, isolated, shallow bays around the lake (Figure 2.2.2)


Northern pike spawning and nursery areas require protection from near shore development and water level manipulations during critical life history periods

Smallmouth and largemouth bass spawning (nesting) and rearing habitat should be protected from development in or near water, and from early summer angling pressure.






Priority Enhancement Projects:

T2 – Leggat and Eagle Lake Sub-watershed


  1. Leggat Lake- Shoreline Rehabilitation

Although the riparian vegetation surrounding Leggat Lake remains intact, a number of cottage lots require minimal rehabilitation. Cottage owners should be persuaded to replant natural riparian species (e.g. red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), shrubby willow (Salex sp.), meadowsweet (Spiraea alba), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus vitacea)) and maintain the natural vegetation around the entire lake. Property owners should also remember not to conduct work in or around water during sensitive bass spawning periods which usually occurs during the month of June. Anglers should not fish for species such as northern pike or walleye near bass spawning locations until nest guarding has ceased.




  1. Eagle Lake- Lake Trout Spawning Shoal Rehabilitation

Several lake trout spawning shoals have opportunities for rehabilitation. The most important known spawning area used by lake trout is a large submerged shoal located in the northeast portion of the lake south of Camp Oconto. This shoal lies in roughly 0.5-1m of water and is surrounded by relatively deep water (5-15m). This shoal is mainly composed of varying substrate from large boulders to small cobble. Enhancement work should be concentrated on improving existing spawning habitat within this shoal by placing well washed, rounded limestone cobble ranging in size from 5-30cm in diameter. This material should be added in specific locations as recommended by OMNR, and not on the entire shoal.

Four potential lake trout spawning shoals also exist on the lake (Figure 2.2.2). These shoals have been identified as potential spawning locations due to their substrate composition. Lake trout are not known to spawn at these locations. Enhancement work in these areas should focus on improving substrate composition and increasing the size of these potential shoals.


  1. Eagle Lake- Shoreline Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation of riparian vegetation is required on many cottage lots on the peninsula and the south shore. Shoreline vegetation such as red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), shrubby willow (Salex sp.), meadowsweet (Spiraea alba), and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus vitacea) should be restored to protect and maintain the strict water quality parameters for this cold water lake and its fish community. Funding and assistance in replanting efforts can be obtained through CFWIP and MAPLE.


3. Eagle Lake- Nutrient Input Reduction
Many small and easy steps can be taken to reduce nutrient inputs to Eagle Lake. Property owners could conduct the following for example:

  • pump out septic systems every 2 years

  • upgrade old septic systems

  • do not fertilize lawns

  • leave a buffer strip of shrubs between the lake and lawn

  • use low or no phosphate soaps for bathing, laundry, or dish washing.

These small steps can improve or at least maintain the present water quality and sensitive lake trout habitat of Eagle Lake.



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