The following illustrates important characteristics for identifying common trout species. Alberta’s Fish Identification web site is found at mywildalberta.com.
Trout (true trout and char) - rayless fleshy lope on back
behind dorsal fin (adipose fin) and small scales on body
TROUT - BLACK SPOTS ON SIDES
- pale haloes around black spots
- no haloes around black
spots and a red-orange
slash under the jaw
- no haloes around black
spots and no red-orange
slash under the jaw
CHAR - NO BLACK SPOTS ON SIDES
- no spots or markings
on dorsal fin
- pale spots on dorsal fin
and tail deeply forked
- black markings on dorsal fin
and tail not deeply forked
Bull Trout Identification
NO BLACK PUT IT BACK!
Bull trout populations in Alberta declined mainly because of overharvest by anglers. No bull trout caught in any waters may be kept. If you catch a bull trout, release it immediately. You will be helping the recovery of this important native fish. Remember, the bull trout is our official provincial fish emblem. Study the pictures below and learn how to recognize bull trout.
Bull trout have no black spots on their dorsal fin.
BULL TROUT - NO BLACK SPOTS ON DORSAL FIN
BROOK TROUT - BLACK SPOTS ON DORSAL FIN
Fish Consumption Advisory
Sportfishing is an important part of Canadian culture and can be a fun and healthy outdoor experience for people of all ages. Fish is an excellent source of lean protein, and provides essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, iron, selenium and vitamins A, C and D. Despite the health benefits that are associated with eating fish, in some locations in Alberta, various species of fish may be exposed to mercury and other contaminants that when consumed in high levels can impact human health.
Methylmercury is the most toxic form of mercury. It is formed through natural biological processes in the water and sediment from other forms of mercury that are found in the environment. Fish absorb mercury directly through their gills or through the consumption of prey that contain mercury. Larger, older fish will generally contain higher levels of mercury, as will predatory fish like pike, walleye and burbot, which tend to show the highest concentrations. Dioxins and Furans come from man-made sources. They accumulate in fat tissues and are persistent in fish, particularly in large predatory fish.
The Government of Alberta has been issuing and reviewing fish consumption advisories for fish caught from local water bodies in Alberta since the 1990’s. The Chief Medical Officer of Health in Alberta Health and Wellness is responsible for issuing food consumption advisories. Other government departments are involved in various activities related to issuing the advisories such as sample collection, provision of data and information to Alberta Health and Wellness and participating in the public health advisory process.
Fish consumption advisories inform the public about any potential health hazards they may encounter when eating specific types of fish. The advisory helps local fish consumers make informed decisions about what is a safe amount of fish to eat.
Fish consumption advisories apply to local subsistence consumers, recreational anglers and residents who eat fish caught from local water bodies. Different fish consumption limits are provided to different age consumer groups, particularly women of child-bearing age and young children who are more susceptible to potential health risks posed by consuming high levels of environmental contaminants. Also, fish consumption advisories are species specific, fish size specific and location specific.
For a list of waters where Fish Consumption Advisories have been issued please visit mywildalberta.com, go to Fishing tab; Safety & Procedures. Please carefully check tables about different recommended amounts, consumer groups, age groups, fish species, fish size, and water bodies.
Please note that not all waters in Alberta have been tested and studies indicate that older, larger predatory fish such as pike, walleye and burbot may have elevated levels of contaminants. Caution should be used when consuming these fish.
Alberta Conservation Association’s REPORT A POACHER program provides Albertans with the opportunity to report suspected violations using a toll-free number:
1-800-642-3800 or #3800 on the TELUS Mobility network (courtesy TELUS Mobility). The line is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Fishing or hunting out of season, night hunting, exceeding bag limits, illegal sale of fish and wildlife and deposit of harmful substances in lakes and rivers are violations that seriously affect fish and wildlife in Alberta. If you see or know of a violation, you should record all information, including
vehicle licence number
description of person(s) involved
details of violation, and any other details, no matter how insignificant they may seem. You should then contact the nearest Fish and Wildlife Division office or call 1-800-642-3800 as soon as possible.
If the information provided concerns a resource violation and results in the laying of a charge, the reporter may be eligible for a reward. If you have any questions about this program, please contact the nearest Fish and Wildlife Division office.
Notice to Anglers
To assist with the management of Alberta's fish resources and to ensure compliance with regulations, anglers will be checked at water bodies, recreational areas and road checkpoints throughout Alberta.
Free Fishing Weekends
National Fishing Week July 6-14, 2013
Canada’s National Fishing Week is scheduled for July 6-14.
Alberta has teamed with other provincial, territorial and federal governments and private partners to promote the enjoyment and tradition of sportfishing. For more information please contact your local office of the Fish and Wildlife Division.
FREE Fishing Weekends July 13-14, 2013 & February 15-17, 2014
To encourage folks to give fishing a try, any person may fish without an Alberta Sportfishing Licence on these dates but they must follow all other rules and regulations as outlined in this guide. These weekends coincide with Canada’s National Fishing Week and Alberta Family Day.
Recovery of Tagged Fish
If you catch a tagged fish, please advise the nearest Fish and Wildlife office of the following:
tag number and colour
species of fish caught
date fish was caught
where fish was caught
if the fish was released
total length and weight of the fish, if available
your name, address and phone number.
Use Caution on Ice
The following guidelines do not override your obligation to use caution and common sense when travelling on ice:
Careful measurement of ice thickness is important – always test ice conditions. Never walk on ice that is less than 10 cm (4 in.) thick and do not drive on ice that is less than 30 cm (12 in.) thick. Beware of ice near the inlet and outlet of streams. Always be extra cautious of ice on rivers and streams. Ice can vary in thickness and in strength from area to area because of temperature, water current, springs, snow cover and time of year. Do not drive fast, or follow closely behind or park near another vehicle on the ice. Ask someone who knows the area about ice conditions and places to avoid. Use caution and stay back from aeration sites. Anglers are encouraged not to fish near aerators for their safety and to prevent lines tangling the units and damaging them. Please remove all ice fishing huts prior to spring breakup.
Tips on Releasing Fish
If a fish is handled carefully and gently, it will have an excellent chance of survival. The most important factor related to fish mortality is damage caused by the hook penetrating the gill and stomach regions. Fish hooked in the lip or mouth have a better chance of survival. Avoiding methods that result in deeply hooked fish is the best way to reduce hooking mortality. “Still fishing” with bait, where the line is not actively attended, usually results in more deeply hooked fish. Attending the line to set the hook immediately at the time of the strike may reduce the occurrence of deeply hooked fish. Fish have a reduced chance of survival if they are caught in deep water (>7 m or 23 feet).
Retrieve your catch quickly.
Release fish immediately (with care).
Avoid squeezing the fish.
Keep your fingers out of the gills.
Keep the fish in water as much as possible.
Remove the hook carefully.
Leave deeply swallowed hooks in the fish.
(Side-cutters can be used to cut the hook instead of the line).
Help revive the fish by holding it in the water.
Do not fizz – it reduces survival.
Fish for walleye and perch in relatively shallow water.
For more information, obtain a copy of the pamphlet “Handle and Release Fish with Care” from your nearest Fish and Wildlife Division office.
Be BearSmart While Angling
Bear encounters can happen any time, but anglers should be extra alert.
Streams, rivers and lakeshores make convenient travel corridors for wildlife, and the sound of moving water can mask the noise that normally warns animals of your approach.
To learn more about Alberta bears and how to be BearSmart, visit www.bearsmart.alberta.ca