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Operation Bait Bucket

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) will once again be conducting Operation Bait Bucket, a joint initiative between the ministry and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) under the Invading Species Awareness Program, in support of protecting Lake Simcoe’s aquatic resources. This will be the 5th consecutive year of OBB.

Through the Operation Bait Bucket initiative, MNRF crews from the Aurora District office visit and engage with ice anglers around Lake Simcoe to speak about maintaining the health of the lake and preventing the spread of invasive species.

The overall goal of OBB is to meet with anglers on their own turf while they are fishing Lake Simcoe to discuss ways they can help prevent the spread of invasive species.  The primary message will be focused on letting anglers know not to dump their leftover bait buckets (water and minnows) into the lake when they are finished fishing. 

Quick facts:

  • More people fish Lake Simcoe during the winter than all other seasons combined. Thousands of ice anglers fish the lake every weekend throughout the winter, and it is home to several major ice fishing competitions.
  • During OBB, we are trying to engage all ice anglers so that they will feel committed to helping us control the spread of invasives both into Lake Simcoe and from this lake to others.
  • Prevention is the most effective tool we have  in our efforts to combat the spread of invasives and disease. 
  • Last year was our most successful one yet, when OBB staff spoke one on one with 1,424 anglers on the lake.
  • New for 2015 will see OBB crews provide anglers with a free “Personal Leftover Baitfish Bag” to encourage them to either re-use leftover bait, or to dispose of properly.
  • For more information about Operation Bait Bucket and the protection of species in Lake Simcoe please contact Wil Wegman at wil.wegman@ontario.ca or 905-713-7730.