Brown Trout Spawning Activity in the Lower Elbow River

Over the past 5 years Calgary River Valleys have been monitoring the spawning activity of brown trout in the lower Elbow River between the Glenmore Dam and the confluence with the Bow River. Brown trout spawn in the fall in the Elbow River and mainstem Bow River. The low flows in the Elbow River during fall allows for a safe assessment of brown trout redds, the gravel nests where spawning takes place. The following chart shows the brown trout spawning activity in the lower Elbow River collected since 1980. Spawning activity was at its highest from 2000 to 2011. Unfortunately a reduction in the number of brown trout redds observed in the lower Elbow River has occurred sinceElbow Redd Chart 2012.

There is speculation that the flood events of 2013 moved a large amount of the gravel substrate out of the lower Elbow River. This may have moved the trout to find alternative spawning habitat. It is important to remember that the survey was generated by volunteers and the data has not been peer reviewed .Further surveys of spawning activity for not only brown trout but also rainbow trout are essential to monitor the state of the Bow River.

Thank you the Calgary River Valleys for supply of the survey data and their volunteers for support of this important project.

Trout Unlimited Canada – Bow River Chapter