|Message from the Minister
I know you are looking forward to a great season of sportfishing. If you’re heading out to your favourite fishing spot or want to try some new ones, please check this guide before you go and do your part to protect our fisheries for the future.
It’s a challenge to manage our fisheries sustainably in Alberta. We have the fewest number of fishable waters of any jurisdiction in Canada – and the third highest number of licenced anglers. Despite these challenges, Alberta anglers catch 12 million fish each year, the third highest catch in the country, and contribute nearly $500 million to the provincial economy.
Our department is always working to improve the way we manage our fisheries. We are seeking approval for the final draft of the updated Fisheries Conservation and Management Strategy and we have developed a strategic tool – the Fisheries Sustainability Index – to help us do a better job of assessing fish status. Sharing our information with you is also important. The results of status assessments and the information that supports it, such as Fall Walleye Index Netting reports, will be made more accessible to Albertans so you can better understand how we reach decisions.
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development is committed to ensuring that fishing opportunities remain strong, today and in the future. We continue to restore and recover walleye and pike populations, such as in Lac La Biche and Wabamun Lakes, and we will continue to work with anglers as we continuously improve our fisheries management. Anglers who appreciate opportunities to catch larger trout now have 23 lakes where they can access quality stocked fisheries.
We have always valued the strong conservation ethic of Alberta’s anglers. This year, we are asking for your help by continuing to use barbless hooks while we evaluate options to address the barbless hook regulation. We also ask anglers to take care in identifying the trout you catch. For our part, we will be looking at ways to help anglers correctly identify trout species.
Best wishes for a safe, enjoyable and successful angling season in 2013.
Honourable Diana McQueen
Alberta Angling Ethic
In accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Policy, the Alberta government promotes the following angling ethics.
The ethical angler has respect for wild creatures, knowledge of his or her natural surroundings, a sense of fair play and consideration for the rights and expectations of others. Fishing, as promoted by the Alberta government, should foster an ethical relationship of the highest order between anglers, their quarry, fellow anglers, and the natural environment. Ethical conduct is expected of anglers in Alberta.
1. Maintain the sport of recreational fishing. Emphasize the fishing experience. Use sporting methods, gear (lures, line type and amount of technology) appropriate to the type of fishing and the size of fish desired.
2. Provide proper care and handling of caught or released fish. Fish are to be released with the greatest possible care and minimal amount of handling. Fish that are kept should be killed quickly once they are out of the water and in such a manner that their edible or trophy value is preserved.
3. Conduct sportfishing activities that result in the least disturbance to the surrounding environment. Refrain from littering on land and in water. Take refuse to a proper disposal site.
4. Respect the needs and expectations of your fellow anglers. Treat other sport anglers with common courtesy: (a) leave room for others to fish, (b) disturb the fish as little as possible, (c) leave the fishing site in the same condition as it was found, (d) don’t remain in one fishing spot too long, (e) be cooperative and understanding, (f) obey the limits and keep only as many fish as you require to enjoy the sport.
5. Consider other land users. Carry out fishing activities in a manner that minimizes conflict with other land users and anglers.
6. Respect the rights of landowners. Request permission for access across private property. The landowner has the right to grant or refuse access.
7. Follow angling regulations. Know and abide by all fishing regulations and encourage others to do the same.
8. Anglers have a duty to address illegal activities in a safe manner. Angler’s actions could range from alerting others to closed waters or wrong size or species being kept to reporting all observed violations of angling regulations to the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch of Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security. It is important to collect pertinent information (such as vehicle licence numbers, violator descriptions, etc.) that will assist enforcement actions.
Important Changes for 2013
The summary in this section does not contain all regulation changes for 2012 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.
- In 2012, during an amendment of the Alberta Fishery Regulations, 1998, the Federal government inadvertently removed the provision prohibiting the use of barbed hooks. This rendered the barbless-only requirement when angling in Alberta unenforceable. The intent is to restore the legislation at the earliest opportunity. Until this occurs, anglers are asked to continue to voluntarily comply with the spirit and intent of the barbless-only regulation and refrain from the use of barbed hooks.
- Please note that, unless otherwise specified, the 2013 general angling season for many streams in the East Slopes (ES) Fisheries Management Areas opens on June 16, 2013, which is a Sunday.
- The Red Deer River and tributaries upstream of and including the Glennifer Reservoir, will remain catch and release for all species until monitoring information is sufficient to determine current status of sport fish populations following the release of oil from a pipeline into the Red Deer River downstream of the town of Sundre in the spring of 2012. Refer to the regulations for Management Zone ES2 for more details. Note that the harvest of fish from Dickson Trout Pond will be permitted again in 2013.
- Beginning 2014 all 1-900 licensing services for fishing and hunting will be discontinued. Draw applications, checking draw results or reserving undersubscribed special licences will be available online through albertarelm.com or at licence issuers.
- The tag allocations in lakes with Special Walleye Harvest Licences have been reviewed and modified. Adjustments to tag numbers in size
categories have been made to reflect the fish population status and achieve the desired annual harvest target.
- The Special Walleye Harvest Licence Program has been expanded to include Fawcett Lake.
- Walleye populations which require decreased harvest pressure to achieve conservation and sustainability goals are being better protected by a bag limit reduction (Calling Lake and Utikuma Lake) or catch-and- release regulation (Beaver Lake, Round Lake and South Wabasca Lake).
- The wording of the regulation that applies to Walleye in the North
Saskatchewan River has been revised to align the lower portion of tributary streams (except for those streams otherwise specified) with the mainstem river. In particular, note that the zero limit now applies to the lower portion of Whitemud Creek in the City of Edmonton.
Trout / Whitefish
- Alberta’s native Westslope Cutthroat Trout have been listed under
Alberta’s Wildlife Act as ‘Threatened’, and this listing has also been recommended under the Canada Species at Risk Act. A provincial recovery plan has been initiated for this species. Changes in sportfishing
management are required in order to support the continuation of
recreational fishing opportunities, while still promoting the recovery of
populations. Consequently, catch and release regulations (zero limit) are being broadly implemented for Westslope Cutthroat Trout. A complication is the presence of non-native Rainbow Trout in many of
the streams supporting Westslope Cutthroat Trout populations, which results in hybridization and the inability of many anglers to accurately differentiate between the species of fish caught. This means that allowing harvest of Rainbow Trout in such waters, while desirable from
a conservation perspective, puts native Cutthroat Trout at an unacceptably high risk due to misidentification and unintentional
harvest. Consequently, a zero bag limit for all trout in specified streams in the Oldman and Kananaskis river watersheds is being implemented for 2013. However, reduction of Rainbow Trout and the hybridization and competition with Westslope Cutthroat Trout in these watersheds is a desired conservation outcome. Discussions are taking place to find ways to reduce the risk due to species misidentification by anglers and provide for low-risk, targeted Rainbow Trout harvest opportunities.
- Please note also that a bait ban is being implemented for Picklejar lakes,
to reduce hooking mortality of caught and released Westslope Cutthroat Trout.
- The bait ban implemented for the Oldman River Reservoir in 2012 remains in place.
- The wording of the zero limit regulation for trout in Lower Kananaskis Lake has been corrected to apply also to Boulton Creek, a tributary stream.
- In order to decrease harvest pressure on Lake Trout in Cold Lake and support further recovery of the fishery, the minimum size limit changes from 65 cm to 75 cm; however, the bag limit remains at 1 fish.
- The harvest of Rainbow Trout from Beaver Lake (ES2), designated as a
Quality Stocked Fishery (QSF), was too high under the previous 2 fish bag limit and the QSF goal to achieve at least 10% of fish being larger than 50 cm was not being met. Following public consultation, a zero limit is being implemented to meet the goal.
- Fishing opportunities for stocked Rainbow Trout are increasing in NB3.
The Town of High Level Fish Pond will be stocked for the first time in 2013, and the stocking program will resume at Cummings Lake (near Fairview) for the first time since 2009.
- Recent surveys indicate that Lake Whitefish are absent or nearly absent in South Wabasca and Brintnell lakes (NB3). Consequently, a zero limit is being implemented to reflect this status.
- A zero limit is being implemented for Pike in
Round Lake (NB2) in order to recover that collapsed population.
- The abundance of Pike in Lake Newell has declined and harvest pressure needs to be reduced to recover the population to the desired level. To achieve this, the regulation changes from 3 to 1 Pike over 63 cm.
Future Regulation Proposals
The Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch, Policy Division of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development conducts public reviews of various recommendations made by anglers, sportfishing organizations and staff. You are encouraged to send your comments on any issues of concern to the address below. Your letter or e-mail will be sent to the appropriate fisheries managers and advisory committees for further review.
Alberta has identified several native sport fish species as Threatened (Lake Sturgeon, Westslope Cutthroat) or of management concern (Bull Trout, Arctic Grayling, Athabasca Rainbow Trout). Recovery or management plans are being prepared for these species. Management conservation and recovery actions identified in the plans may have an impact on future sportfishing regulations. More information on Alberta’s recovery program can be found at http://srd.alberta.ca/FishWildlife/SpeciesAtRisk/Default.aspx. As a result Fisheries Management Branch is required to produce recovery plans for the species, and work is underway. More information on these and other recovery initiatives may be found at http://srd.alberta.ca/FishWildlife/SpeciesAtRisk/LegalDesignationOfSpeciesAtRisk/
RecoveryProgram/Default.aspx. Management, conservation and recovery actions identified in the plans may have an impact on future sportfishing regulations, and anglers are encouraged to review the material provided.
Options to increase harvest of naturalized non-native trout populations in specific East Slopes streams (e.g. Brook Trout in ES3, Rainbow and Brown Trout in ES1) are being considered for 2014 in order to support the conservation of Athabasca Rainbow Trout and Westslope Cutthroat Trout, while also providing increased opportunities for trout harvest.
|Please forward regulation suggestions to:
Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch
Alberta Environment and
Sustainable Resource Development
Great West Life Building
9920 108 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2M4
Online Licensing - Things you should know.
Go to albertarelm.com to purchase your licence online.
What do I need in order to purchase an online licence?
You will need a valid credit card, an email address, access to a computer with an Internet connection and a printer to print your licences. If you do not have an email address, free addresses are available through Internet service providers or free email services such as hotmail and Gmail.
Credit cards accepted are Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
What does it cost to buy an online licence?
Your online licence will cost the same as a licence purchased at your local licence issuer. The cost varies according to the type of licence you buy. There are no added service fees.
What are the technical requirements for my computer for online purchases?
Your internet browser should use Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 6.0 or newer or Firefox Version 3.5 or higher. To print your licence, you will require Adobe Acrobat Reader Version 8 or higher. Adobe Acrobat is available as a free download once you are connected to the Internet.
Is there someone I can call if I have problems when I try to purchase a licence?
You can call the RELM Help Desk (1-888-944-5494 toll free) for assistance. The hours of operation are:
Monday-Wednesday 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Thursday, Friday 9:00 AM-9:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Sunday 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
You can also send email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I know my information is secure?
Your Internet browser will indicate that you are operating on a secure server. The URL of the website will begin with an "https" rather than "http" and there will be a closed padlock on the status bar.
Albertarelm is protected using a secure Internet service known as Verisign. The information you enter is transmitted using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) of communications.
Your credit card information is encrypted for added security. Your credit card number will not be stored in our database.
PURCHASE YOUR LICENCE ONLINE AT ALBERTARELM.COM
Previously purchased a licence online?
Enter your WIN and the password you selected when you registered the first time.
Forgot your password? Click on the button to re-register.
First time purchase on albertarelm.com
Register your WIN the first time you access your personal information.
- Enter your WIN (10 digits)
- Enter the identification number you provided when you applied for your WIN. This would be your driver’s licence number, health care number or passport number. This is a security measure to ensure only you can access your personal information. Your WIN and your identification number are used to verify your identity. This will prevent anyone else from logging in and accessing your personal information.
- Enter a password (of your choice) and your email address. If you have any problems, contact the RELM Help Desk at 1-888-944-5494 (toll free).
Need a WIN card and licence?
If you do not have a WIN, you can obtain it online. Immediately after purchasing your WIN, you will be able to purchase your licence.
WEBSITE AVAILABLE FOR WIN CARDHOLDERS
The website albertarelm.com for WIN cardholders is funded by anglers and hunters from a portion of the WIN renewal fee. As a WIN cardholder you can go online and view your licence history records for the last five years and purchase all your fishing and hunting licences. Anglers can also add or change their e-mail addresses at albertarelm.com. The e-mail address will only be used by Enviroment and Sustainable Resource Development for resource management purposes such as sending licenced outdoorsmen and women new and current information.
Before you go do you know?
1. The name of the water body you wish to fish?
2. The Watershed Unit of the water body you wish to fish?
3. The 3 locations to find rules for the water body you wish to fish?
a) Provincewide regulations
b) The regulations for the Watershed Unit for the water body you wish to fish
c) Specific regulations for the water body you wish to fish
4. If bait can be used in the water you wish to fish?
5. What bait is (click here for details)?
6. The game fish that you wish to fish for? For the specific waters:
a) The size length?
b) How many fish you can keep?
c) The difference between catch limit and maximum possession (click here for details)?
7. How to identify the fish species you are fishing for (click here for details)
a) Bull Trout?
b) Brook Trout?
8. That all Bull Trout and Lake Sturgeon are protected and must be returned alive to the waters they are caught from?
9. How to safely return fish to the water (click here for details)?
10. You are required to carry your valid Alberta Sportfishing Licence while sportfishing?
If you answered NO to any of the above questions please review the Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations or contact your local Fish and Wildlife Division Office. Click here for a list of offices.