Warm water

Warm water

Harps | Friday, 14 August 2015

Drought and unseasonably warm water have resulted in a closure of Alberta rivers for the first time ever.

During the peak fishing season, hoppers galour, low water, hungry trout - some of Alberta's prime fisheries have been closed to protect trout from increased mortality from angling (handling). These closures include the entire blue ribbon section of the Bow River through Calgary.

If you are in Alberta, the list of closed waters is found here: Continued high water temperatures lead to fishing closures. These closures come late, with cooler temperatures and rain forcasted for only a few days away, but at least there is an action to protect the fishery. This is the first time that closures have been put in place in Alberta, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Unfortunately, the pressure will shift north and south, a little farther drive from the Calgary region, but to rivers under as much (if not more) stress from high temperatures. 

There are also recent closures on southeast BC rivers that are popular cutthroat fisheries, which is a good thing because the pressure from Calgary was going to shift to BC.

This leaves very few fisheries open during a season when the guiding industry makes most of their money. Southeast BC guides and guides in southern Alberta will be flocking to the few open (and very sensitive) rivers in southern Alberta, rivers that have had warm water warnings since July, but no action to limit fishing. Hopefully the unregistered fishing guide industry here will take an ethical stance and only target stocked lake fisheries and other species in reservoirs.

On a good note, in the early morning hours, before the stream temperatures start climbing, the fishing was phenominal on spring fed stretches of our local rivers. This week provided excellent opportunities to head hunt big browns and rainbows feasting on caddis and mayfly spinners.
The past couple years of flooding, the refresh of habitats and the high water did an excellent job of creating new pools, cutbanks, and woody debris piles for fish to find cover in.
head hunted bow

This past month also provided excellent green drake fishing in some of the higher elevation cutthroat rivers.
Cutty release

On our last outing we even saw a bat swimming across the river in mid-day. I'm not sure how it ended up in the river, but it certainly was not comfortable as it dragged its sodden body up the cliff face. It's not often that you see a bat emerging from the water in the same place that you watch golden stones.
Soggy bat

My fishing in southern Alberta is done for a while, partially to protect the fishery, and partly because I am headed to Portland for the American Fisheries Society Conference.

Until the cooler fall,