Resilient Residents – Frosty Fish

This is the last of a four part series on our province’s most resilient animals. You can find out more about mammals that are active through the winter here, about mammals that are inactive but don’t hibernate here, or about birds that stay in the province over the winter here.

While mammals may burrow or hibernate, and birds can be seen shivering away on a branch, the average Albertan never sees what happens to fish during the frigid days of winter.


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Fish Alberta – Oldman River

oldman r gap U of lethbridgeFrom its rugged and remote upper reaches to its meandering path to join the South Saskatchewan River, the Oldman River watershed is known for its stunning natural beauty.

In the alpine tundra and old-growth spruce and fir forests of the Beehive Natural Area, three creeks (Hidden, Dutch and Racehorse creeks) converge at Three Rivers Gap to form the Oldman River. The river runs from southwest to northeast, with a dip south across the border into Glacier National Park.

Numerous campgrounds and parks along the river’s route provide access for fishing, rafting, canoeing, nature watching and… rock skipping.

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Alberta Fisheries Management – Fishery Productivity

How many fish can be sustainably harvested from an Alberta lake? To answer that question, you need a basic understanding of biological economics. Let’s start by asking some straightforward questions:

  • How many fish are in a lake?
  • How many fish do you want to be there?
  • What is the annual interest rate (the surplus population growth rate)?
  • How necessary or important is reinvestment of fish back to the population?

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Fish Alberta – Lake Newell

For more than a century, Albertans have enjoyed boating, sailing, fishing, hiking and bird watching on and around Lake Newell. But until 1914, there was no lake there.

Lake Newell is actually a reservoir created after Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) built the Bassano Dam as part of the ‘Eastern Irrigation’ system designed to entice settlers to the naturally semi-arid area.

The dam was so successful that it was raised in 1934, and today Lake Newell is one of Alberta’s largest reservoirs. The the lake’s surface area fluctuates, but is usually about 6.5 kilometres wide and 14 kilometres long. At its deepest point, it’s about 20 metres deep.

Kinbrook Island PP Beach

Figure 1 – Until 1914, this beautiful Alberta lake didn’t exist.








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Fish Alberta – Wabamun Lake

‘Wabamun’ is the Cree word for mirror – It’s an apt name for the large, shallow, calm lake situated 60 kilometers west of Edmonton.

For generations, people living in Alberta have enjoyed Wabamun Lake’s natural beaches, beautiful wilderness and recreational opportunities.

For generations, Albertans have enjoyed swimming, sailing and fishing at Wabamun Lake

The area has three sailing clubs, multiple boat launches, and a provincial park. Surrounded by small communities such as Seba Beach, Rich’s Point, and Ascot Beach, Wabamun Lake attracts people for opportunities to go boating, sailing, swimming, wakeboarding and water skiing. Continue reading

Meet Our Alberta Parks Ambassadors – Chelsea S

Alberta Parks Ambassadors are united by a common passion for all things Alberta Parks and a desire to share their experiences. This spring, 130 people applied to take part in the Ambassador Program and from those applicants 13 were chosen to bring their adventures to life for everyone to enjoy and to inspire people to have their own Alberta Parks experience.

Through this 13 part blog series, we will introduce your Alberta Parks Ambassadors and share what they’ve been up to this summer.

Chelsea S

chelsea-profile-photoChelsea is a firefighter, guide, photographer and writer who calls Kananaskis Country, Alberta home. Her love of canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding (SUPing), hiking, fishing, camping and coffee made over a campfire fire are a huge part of what keeps her living life to the fullest and experiencing all it has to offer.

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When Jacks Attack

One young girl in Drayton Valley got a shock when she was swimming in the area and had an encounter of the fishy kind. One of the pike in the lake bit her hand – while his motive was unclear, biologists from Environment and Parks sprang into action!

Taking the bait

Photos of the bite and a tooth collected during the incident were submitted as evidence in this case. The team determined this was probably a case of a northern pike (Esox Lucious) biting the swimmer’s hand – but needed to look deeper. Continue reading

Catching a Memory

Story by Craig Brown – Information Officer at the Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Information Centre

Family Day long weekend has always been one of my favorites. It’s prime time to get out and see what Alberta’s winter landscape has to offer. My family has a tradition of coming together and doing something we wouldn’t normally do. Last year the usual ideas were thrown around. Skiing? Tobogganing? Skating? Then, someone suggested fishing.

Fishing in February seemed like an adventure but created even more questions. What did we need to know? What regulations would need to be followed? Would we need a licence?

The first thing I discovered was that since Family Day long weekend coincides with Alberta’s Family Fishing Weekend – no licence is required!


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2014 Fish Stocking: list of stocked locations

UPDATED: A current list of all locations stocked to date is available on the My Wild Alberta website, here.

It’s that time of year again – fish-stocking season! As we stock various lakes and ponds throughout the province, we’ll post the locations here and on the  My Wild Alberta Facebook page. Later this week, we’ll be sharing the inside scoop on how this stocking gets done – so stay tuned. And of course, please make sure you follow all sportfishing regulations when you’re out there this summer.


BROOKS – Bow City East, Brooks Aquaduct Pond
CAMROSE – Diplomat Mine Pond
CARDSTON – Spring Coulee Park Pond, Outpost Lake, Payne Lake
COLD LAKE Ardmore Community Pond
FOREMOST – Foremost Reservoir
LETHBRIDGE – McVinnie Reservoir, Enchant Park Pond, Keenex Coulee Reservoir
MEDICINE HAT – Echo Dale Park, Cavan Lake, Michel Reservoir
PROVOST – Captain Eyre Lake
STRATHMORE – Severn Creek Reservoir 


shutterstock_43824808 rainbow trout

July 13th and 14th is Family Fishing Weekend – no licence required

Albertans don’t like fishing – they love it. Our province has more registered anglers every year per fishable water body than almost any other province in Canada. While this enthusiasm is great, it also requires that we take steps to prevent overfishing. Poster for Family Fishing Weekend, July 13-14

To help ensure sportfishing in Alberta is done sustainably, ESRD requires that all adult anglers be licensed. Although children don’t need a licence to fish, they do need someone to teach them how – and if they don’t know anyone who’s already been ‘hooked’ by the sport, they might not have a chance to learn.

We want everyone to have the chance to develop a passion for fishing – and that’s where Family Fishing Weekends come in. For two weekends each year – one in July and one in February – a licence is not required for sportfishing on waterbodies with open fishing seasons (not in national parks).

This summer’s Family Fishing Weekend is July 13th and 14th – this Saturday and Sunday. It’s a great opportunity to teach those who are new to the sport – including children, colleagues, friends, and other family members – how to fish responsibly.

Click here for full details including qualifying information, where you can fish, and more tips on responsible angling practices.

 Before you head out this weekend, please remember:

  • Minimize harm to fish when catch-and-release fishing by using barbless hooks and handling fish carefully before releasing them back into the water.
  • National parks are not included in Free Fishing Weekend locations – click here to see where to fish this weekend.

** Special safety information for Southern Alberta:

  • For public safety reasons, it is strongly recommended that Albertans do not use rivers in the Bow, Oldman and South Saskatchewan River basins. Flows remain high and banks are highly unstable at this time, and there is still significant debris and sedimentation in the water. Turbid (muddy and cloudy) water reduces visibility for identifying hazards, making river use dangerous. Please report significant river hazards to the Energy and Environmental 24-Hour Response Line at 1-800-222-6514.