It's now the second week of September and it seems like we're past the heat wave that started the month. The cooler temperatures are definitely welcome.
If you’re an Alberta angler you probably already know that Alberta experienced it's first official "time of day restriction period" between August 17 and 31. This was able to happen because of a change to the fishing regulations that came out this year.
We've had many conversations and heard lots of opinions about the time-of-day restrictions. Some folks didn’t really like how it impacted their fishing but also appreciated that action was being taken to help the fish population.
Some folks didn’t understand why a time-of-day restriction was put in place to begin with. Some questioned why it wasn't put in place sooner in some parts of the province. Others want to see it as a regulation in other parts of the province.
And many wondered why the restriction was lifted August 31 in light of the start-of-the-month forecast.
We won’t address all of this in this blog… but here’s our quick take on the new “time-of-day closure” as part of the regulation package.
Mostly we’re HAPPY that a time-of-day restriction is now an option in the province's regulatory quiver.
After the emergency FULL closure in 2015, Fish Tales co-owner, Nancy Storwick participated on a committee working toward a “Trouts and Droughts” policy for Alberta. She and Dave Jensen worked closely with AEP biologists to come up with what they believed was a comprehensive province-wide approach for helping trout during times of high temperature and low stream-flow. Unfortunately, that plan never came to fruition.
Fast forward a few years to the “Heat Dome” of 2021 which brought the need for some kind of regulation back to the forefront.
Last year we – like lots of Alberta anglers – were FRUSTRATED by the inaction of AEP during the high heat and low flow event. So we – like lots of Alberta anglers – let AEP biologists, policy makers, and politicians know.
And guess what…? They listened.
A “time-of-day restriction proposal was presented, sent out for feedback via an on-line survey, adjusted, written up, reviewed, AND implemented!
Is it perfect? No…. it's a starting point. There’s a lot more work to do. We need to encourage AEP to add more temperature and stream-flow monitoring sites to watersheds other than the Bow. This could allow them to finetune the closures to watersheds that run warmer or lower.
We want this to include other parts of the province that are home to native species. We want this time-of-day restriction capability to be expanded and fine tuned and improved. But we are HAPPY to have something. It's a starting point.
And the other cool thing about this new regulation…. anglers are talking about it. Anglers are more aware of the need to advocate for the resource and of some simple steps we can all take to increase the odds of our catch-and-release quarry actually surviving the release.
- Each of us should be carrying (and using) a thermometer when we go fishing. We can all continue to practice a time of day self restriction when water temperatures get too warm (between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius depending on the species you’re targeting.)
- We can fight fish quickly – on slightly heavier gear – so we can land them quicker and let them go sooner.
- We can dedicate as much time to reviving the fish as we do to landing it.
- We can educate others about the above points.
- And we can continue to ask more of AEP biologists, policy makers, and politicians.
Happy fishing folks.