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Message from the Minister

Alberta’s anglers are seeing the results of decades of careful management. Lakes that were once almost devoid of fish have become desirable fishing destinations thanks to sound management practices that we are continuing to refine and improve.

The recovery of walleye populations in parts of the province has meant the return of great fishing and availability of harvest opportunities that simply haven’t existed in more than 20 years. This success is a testament to the importance of working together with Alberta’s angling community and the support of responsible anglers like you.

This guide provides important information on how you can enjoy Alberta’s fisheries and the great outdoors, while doing your part to conserve our fish populations and protect waterways.

In this year’s edition, you’ll find formatting changes that will make it easier to read, as well as changes to increase the diversity of fishing opportunities, simplify sportfishing regulations, recover depleted fisheries, begin addressing the impact of cumulative effects on fisheries, and increase harvest opportunities on recovered fisheries and stocked trout lakes.

A major factor in our continued ability to offer amazing fishing experiences is reducing the threats posed to Alberta’s rivers and lakes by fish diseases and aquatic invasive species. It is important to remember never to move live fish between waterbodies, and to be diligent in cleaning, draining and drying your watercraft to ensure nothing is hitching a ride. Remember to always pull the plug.

My family has fished Alberta’s waterways and lakes for more than three generations. Together, we can keep fish in our future. Grab your rod and reel, because Alberta’s lakes, streams and rivers are beckoning!

Sincerely,

Shannon Phillips
Minister of Environment and Parks


Alberta's Fisheries Management System

Alberta follows the Alberta’s Fish Conservation and Management Strategy. Alberta’s goal of the long-term sustainability of fisheries is central to this commitment. The components of Alberta’s Fisheries Management System are Assessment, Status, Management Objectives, Engagement and Regulations.

For more information on Alberta’s Fish Conservation and Management Strategy, please go to Alberta’s Fisheries Management website and click the link.


Important Changes for 2018

The summary in this section does not contain all regulation changes for 2018 and is provided only for general information to assist anglers in locating important changes. Carefully review regulations appearing in “Site-Specific Regulations” for each Watershed Unit for each Fish Management Zone.

General
The Federal Government is moving forward with changes to the Alberta Fishery Regulation (1998):

  • To allow crayfish to be harvested with a dip net, seine net or minnow trap. You are not allowed to possess live crayfish in Alberta therefore they must be killed before leaving the waters in which they were caught.
  • To have Tiger Trout listed as a sportsfish in Alberta. This will allow Alberta to define quotas and size restrictions for Tiger Trout. Please review Site-Specific Regulations and on-line regulations regularly.

Sportfishing Guide
For easier reading, the Watershed Unit waterbody specific regulations have been updated with a new format. For finding waterbodies and regulations easier, the waterbody specific regulations are now in tables. Please see the “Regulation Tables are Easy to Use!” guide.

Walleye and Northern Pike Management Updates
The management frameworks for walleye and northern pike recreational fisheries have been updated. The transition from the previous management plans is intended to occur over the next three years. For 2018, management objectives and regulations have been updated for some walleye and pike fisheries. Overall, this results in increased harvest opportunities at healthy fisheries and conservation-based regulations at fisheries that need recovery. Updated regulations are highlighted in each Fish Management Zone. Please see Site-Specific Regulations for the waterbody you want to fish.

Crowsnest River
Crowsnest River from the outlet of Crowsnest Lake downstream to the Cowley Bridge; Open all year; Bait Ban; Trout and Whitefish limit 0; Pike limit 0; Burbot limit 0; Walleye limit 0.

Elbow River
Elbow River from the Glenmore Reservoir to the Bow River; Open all year; Bait Ban; Trout and Whitefish limit 0; Pike limit 0; Burbot limit 0; Walleye limit 0.

Bait Bans
Fishing with bait is restricted in the eastern slopes. Please see waterbody specific regulations regarding bait bans, to better protect westslope cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish.

Stocked Trout Sport Fisheries
Opportunities to harvest non-trout fish species from put-and-take stocked trout ponds have been restored. For specific information, read about Alberta’s Fish Stocking Program on page 16.

Aquatic Invasive Species and Fish Health Risks
Aquatic invasive species and fish diseases continue to pose a serious risk to Alberta’s fisheries. Impacts can extend well beyond reducing recreational fishing opportunities.

Whirling Disease is caused by a microscopic parasite and only impacts salmonid fish. In 2017, whirling disease was confirmed in the Bow, Oldman, and Red Deer watersheds. Alberta is committed to preventing the spread of Whirling Disease. Containment and prevention are the best responses.

Whirling Disease can spread naturally but also through the movement of spores on gear, infected fish and fish parts, and the movement of water and mud between waterbodies.

Everyone including anglers can help stop the spread of Whirling Disease. CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY YOUR GEAR after each use. DO NOT use felt-soled waders, to reduce the risk of spreading whirling disease in Alberta.

To help protect Alberta’s fisheries, these mandatory requirements have been established:

It is MANDATORY for anyone transporting a watercraft to stop at watercraft inspection stations and cooperate with officials. This includes motorized, non-motorized and commercially hauled watercraft.

Pull the Plug! All watercraft being transported in Alberta must have the drain plug pulled while in transport.

Except as provided for in legislation, it is PROHIBITED to possess any of the 52 prohibited aquatic invasive species listed in the Schedule of the Fisheries (Alberta) Act (www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/F16.PDF).

Don’t Let it Loose, never release aquarium or domestic pond water, plants, dead or live animals into waterbodies.

For more information, call the 24/7 aquatic invasive species hotline 1-855-336-BOAT (2628) or visit http://aep.alberta.ca/fishwildlife/wildlife-diseases/whirling-disease/default.aspx


Do You Have a Suggestion or Comment?

Alberta Environment and Parks conducts public reviews of various recommendations made by anglers, sportfishing organizations and staff. You are encouraged to send any comments to the address below. Your letter or e-mail will be sent to the appropriate fisheries personnel and advisory committee for review.

Please forward regulation suggestions to:

Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch
Alberta Environment and Parks
Great West Life Building
9920 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2M4
Email: aep.info-centre@gov.ab.ca


Species at Risk

Because of their vulnerability, Alberta Environment and Parks has implemented a zero possession limit on Arctic Grayling, Athabasca Rainbow Trout, Bull Trout, Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Lake Sturgeon. PLEASE release these species immediately.

NOTE: Some fish are easily confused with at-risk species. If you can’t identify a fish, please release it!

 
For more information, please see Alberta’s Species at Risk and Fisheries Management status websites:

http://aep.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/species-at-risk/species-at-risk-publications-web-resources/fish/default.aspx

http://aep.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/fisheries-management/fish-sustainability-index/default.aspx