Know Before you Go: Spring fishing closures kick in soon. Here’s how they impact you.

Photo of a people fishing in a fishing boat

It might be cold right now – but spring is definitely here (at least, according to the calendar). And after a long, cold winter spent huddled in ice fishing huts, we know that anglers are particularly eager to get out in the warmer weather.

But before you throw your gear in the car and head for the lake, remember: it’s your responsibility to review this year’s sportfishing regulations for the scheduled spring fishing closures.

Why these closures are needed

Spring and fall fishing closures protect fish populations during critical spawning seasons. They are lifted once those periods are over.

Most of Alberta’s fish populations are maintained by spawning in the wild – i.e., they’re not stocked by ESRD. Successful spawning periods are critical to keeping these fish populations healthy. And since more fish = better fishing, they’re good for anglers too.

Where and when are the closures in my area?

Closures can apply to any water body that serves as important fish habitat – including lakes, reservoirs, and streams. We try to keep closure dates consistent in each of the three main ecosystem zones, but there are always exceptions – check pages 33-88 of the 2014 Guide to Sportfishing Regulations for your specific destination before you hit the road.

Map of Alberta's Fish Management Zones

Parkland-Prairie Zone

  • Prairies: most lakes, reservoirs, streams, and canals are closed to fishing from April 1-May 8
  • Parkland: most lakes are closed to fishing from April 1 until the Friday of the May long weekend (this year, that’s May 16th)

Northern Boreal Zone

  • Most lakes are generally closed to fishing from April 1 until the Friday of the May long weekend (May 16th  in 2014)
  • Most streams are closed to fishing from November 1 – May 31

Eastern Slopes

  • Closure dates differ – check pages 32-50 of the Regulations Guide

Where can I fish in the meantime?

Every year, we stock about 300 lakes, reservoirs and ponds with trout; these remain open throughout the year. Click here (or check page 16 of your Regulations Guide) to find one near you.

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