Out of the water: what happens to fish after a flood?

When rivers flood they can do so with enormous force, picking up everything and anything in the way. Trees, vegetation, and whole houses are carried along in the flow – and when the waters recede, the debris is deposited wherever it happens to land. This can make clean-up extremely difficult and time-consuming – and stranded wildlife can add to the challenge.

In the past week, ESRD has received calls from many Albertans who have found fish stranded in shallow waters. Fish are highly adapted to deal with flooding, and typically take refuge behind rocks, under banks, in deeper pools, and in other places where they are less likely to be swept away by the current. But the magnitude of the recent flooding in southern Alberta has carried some fish to some places – like storm water ponds and even basements – that make it impossible for them to return to the river on their own.

That’s where ESRD staff and our volunteers come in – working diligently to return stranded fish to our rivers. Check out this video from the Dimestore Fishermen to see some of the work being done:


If you see stranded fish, take note of their location and call your local ESRD office or 310-ESRD (3773) – the information will assist our rescue efforts. And to the many Albertans who have already volunteered their time to help return the fish to safety – thanks for taking a moment to help out our slippery friends!

2 thoughts on “Out of the water: what happens to fish after a flood?

  1. Pingback: Calling all anglers: please help us help Alberta’s fish! | Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

  2. Pingback: In safer waters: the conclusion of Bow Habitat Station’s blood recovery story | Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

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