TUC Concerned About Low Water and Rising Temps
Trout Unlimited Canada is concerned about low water levels facing many of the rivers and streams in southern Alberta. Recently, Alberta Environment and Parks began implementing Stage 1 of the Water Shortage Procedures for the South Saskatchewan River Basin. We support this decision and the associated increased monitoring and communication but we have stressed the need for improved long-term strategic planning relating to water management. Trout Unlimited Canada has reached out to the minister of Alberta Environment and Parks noting our concerns with the current conditions and asking that a high priority be placed on river and fishery health in decision making relating to water management. Reduced stream flows during the summer lead to increased water temperatures which, coupled with reduced capacity for water to hold dissolved oxygen, causes increased stress in fish, particularly in the cold water systems that support southern Alberta’s “blue ribbon” fisheries.
In addition, drought conditions and increased water temperatures can lead to increases in bacteria and pathogens while negatively affecting the animals and plants that play a critical role in maintaining clean, fresh water.
What Can You Do?
Avoid angling entirely if water temperatures reach 22°C (72°F). When water temperatures are high and dissolved oxygen low, even angling can cause additional stress, leaving fish vulnerable and at risk of perishing.
When angling during warm weather, please remember:
- Carry a thermometer and be aware of temperature conditions in the waters you are fishing;
- Minimize the time captured fish are held out of the water;
- Use appropriately sized gear to avoid “playing” a fish too hard – this causes increased stress which, coupled with increased temperatures reduces the chance of survival;
- Avoid angling during the hottest part of the day – water temperatures tend to be higher from 2 pm onward; and
- Consider targeting temperature tolerant species
- If you are new to fishing, consider hiring an experienced guide.