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As defined in the Ontario provincial questionnaire of the 2005 Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada, anglers were asked to provide the name of the lake, river or stream on which they fished, the nearest town or village, the number of days fished, the number of fish caught and kept by species, as well as other attitudinal and socio-economic information regarding their fishing activities. Estimates for Great Lakes waters were produced using geographic coding identifying each town which were then grouped according to their proximity to Great Lakes waters. The areas defined by the grouped codes form a continuous border along the system, generally one township deep (8 to 24 kilometres). Individuals fishing tributaries of the Great Lakes further inland than what is defined by the geographic coding are not included as participants in the Great Lakes fishery.
A map detailing the Great Lakes areas is provided in Annex B. Specifically, these areas are defined as follows:
St. Lawrence River: East of Amherstview to the Ontario-Quebec border.
Lake Ontario: West from Amherstview to the Niagara peninsula, including the Niagara River to the eastern edge of the city of Fort Erie.
Lake Erie: West from Fort Erie to Amherstburg.
Lake St. Clair: North from Amherstburg to the southern edge of Sarnia (including the Detroit and St. Clair rivers).
Lake Huron: From Sarnia north to Sault Ste. Marie including the St. Mary's River.
Lake Superior: From north of Sault Ste. Marie to the Ontario-Minnesota border.