Perch mimic trout in all their behaviors, unlike Sunfish and to a certain extent, Bass, that are dormant in early Spring and late Fall. They occupy the shallows where the young stocked trout need to reside and feed. The survival rate plummets. In Bass waters, the young stockers are food.
The bait fish that you buy are OK and in most cases don't negatively affect trout waters if they are released. It always amazes me that fishers who have no compulsion to cruelly skewer a bait fish have a change of heart and release all of the leftovers against the law. If you aren't using them, throw them in the bush for the racoons.
The issue is not the bait fish that you buy but the self caught bait fish in lakes that have Sunfish, Bass and Perch, even Pike. Bait contractors take their bait from lakes that don't have these species.
You will be asked if it is OK to ban bait fish in sensitive lakes, such as Brook Trout lakes. It is at least a start but it isn't enough. In jurisdictions where that is the rule still have problems with fishers using bait fish in trout lakes. A complete ban is the only answer and it is the intelligent choice given the risk of VHS infection of bait fish. Quebec recently banned bait fish. Ontario should follow suit regardless of the history of using them. But of course, you are entitled to your opinion. The chairman of FLIPPR in Manitoba told me they will have to start initiating winter kills even on their precious trout lakes to get rid of them which is such a shame since they started with clean lakes. Check my earlier posts on Manitoba to see these beautiful trout that will have to be destroyed.
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