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Fisheries Timeline and Selected Historical Events of Lake Simcoe

Ice Fishing on Lake Simcoe - 1938 Ice Fishing on Lake Simcoe - 1938 Photo Credit: Robert. A. Kirk

Chronology of facts:

1615 - Hurons led French explorer Samuel de Champlain to the Atherley Narrows between Lake Simcoe and Couchiching, "where the great catch of fish is made by means of a great many stakes, which almost close the straight, leaving only little openings where they set their nets in which the fish are caught".

1624 - Reports of Huron Indians on Lake Simcoe "putting aside the biggest and fattest Assihendo (probably the sturgeon, possibly the whitefish) to boil in great kettles in order to get oil from them”.

1792 - One of the earliest reference to the fisheries of Lake Simcoe written in English is made by Governor Simcoe - "we hear of maskalonge (a superior kind of pike) in abundance in Lake Simcoe".

1793 - Lake Simcoe was named by Governor Simcoe in memory of his father Capt. Simcoe R.N. who died on an expedition to Quebec in 1759.

1818 - Indian surrender of territories surrounding Lake Simcoe and in the Kawartha lakes area.

1870s - Resort lands were being developed on Lake Erie, Georgian Bay, Lake Simcoe and lakes in the Kawartha region.

1871 - Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) was planted in the waters of Lake Simcoe.

1896 - First record of carp.

1907 - Winter spearing licences were issued to take lake trout and lake whitefish on Lake Simcoe. By 1920, as many as 122 licences were issued. Spearing licences were discontinued in 1941.

1918 - The province imposed a legal daily limit of three lake trout.

1921 - Lake trout daily limit was increased to five (changed to the recent limit in 1956).

1941 - Spear fishing for lake trout and lake whitefish was banned. This had been a traditional activity on Lake Simcoe. Between 1907 and 1941, licensed spear fishers reported a winter lake trout harvest of almost 500 000 pounds.

1948 - 1450 ice huts were registered on Lake Simcoe.

1952 - Snagging was declared an unlawful means of capturing lake whitefish in the Ontario Fishery Regulations. Prior to this, it had been a popular activity in waters including Lake Simcoe.

1956 - 42" lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) was captured near Jackson's Point.

1956 - Lake trout daily limit was reduced to two.

1962 - American smelt were first reported.

1964 - Lake Simcoe was designated as a separate fisheries management unit with its own biologist and senior technician. At roughly the same time a cooperative fishery research program, funded by the Canadian National Sportsman Show, was initiated with the University of Guelph.

1970 - The booklet Fisheries of Lake Simcoe (MacCrimmon and Skobe 1970) was published by the Department of Lands and Forests.

1970 - There are 42 commercial ice hut operators with a capacity to handle 1700 anglers at the time.

1987 - First record of black crappies.

1991 - Zebra mussels were first observed.

1991 - The World Ice Fishing Championships was held on Lake Simcoe.

1993 - Canadian Ice Fishing Championships (CIFC) started.

1997 - (January 25), 32 kms pressure crack on Lake Simcoe attracted world-wide attention. More than 300 ice anglers had to be air lifted to safety.

1997 - Daily perch limit was adopted.

2000 - 2nd confirmation of bluegill sunfish by the Lake Simcoe Fisheries Assessment Unit was reported.

2001 - Lake herring (cisco) became a protected species.

2001 - The book Hook, Line and Spear The Ice Fishing History of Lake Simcoe was published by Robert A. Kirk

2002 - At 82, Pope John Paul the 2nd visited Lake Simcoe for World Youth Day. The Pontiff stay on Strawberry Island.

2004 - First record of quagga mussels.

2005 - A multi-year stocking program was initiated to re-introduce muskellunge to Lake Simcoe.

2006 - Gobies were found in both the Pefferlaw River and Lake Simcoe

2008 - Carp die-off continued (>19000 carp).

2008 - The Lake Simcoe Protection Act received royal assent by the Ontario legislature.

2010 - Canadian Bass Tournament Record set at Bass Pro Shops Lake Simcoe Open. New all time Canadian record weight for the five heaviest bass ever weighed on Canadian soil. Mark Moran and Joe Muszynski - 31.50 pounds of smallmouth bass.

2012 - (March 9) - 27 fishermen rescued off ice floe on Lake Simcoe

2015 - Lake herring (cisco) season being reopened


Kerr, S. J. 2010. Fish and Fisheries Management in Ontario: A Chronology of Events. Biodiversity Branch.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 80 p. + appendices.

Kirk, R. A. 2001. Hook, line and spear - the ice fishing history of Lake Simcoe.
And So Forth Press. Orillia, Ontario.

MacCrimmon, H. R. and E. Skobe. 1970. The fisheries of Lake Simcoe.
Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. Toronto, Ontario

Wegman, W. 2010. The Great Lake Simcoe Quiz. Fishing Lake Simcoe Website

Last modified on Friday, 26 August 2016 12:36
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