Anglers may soon have to abide by a new set of rules when casting their lines into the waters of Kananaskis Country.
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD) has put forward a new recommended set of regulations which will affect Kananaskis River, Silvester Creek, Gorge Creek, Picklejar Lakes and Boulton Creek.
“The proposed changes are primarily designed to provide more protection for pure-strain, non-stocked populations of native westslope cutthroat trout,” said Jim Stelfox, senior fisheries biologist for the southern Rockies area in an email.
The proposed regulation will not affect stocked cutthroat trout populations found in the high-mountain lakes in Kananaskis.
Westslope cutthroat trout have been identified by the provincial Endangered Species Conservation Committee and the national committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as threatened in Alberta, as they currently only occupy about five per cent of their historic range.
The changes, though they are intended to protect cutthroat trout, would also affect rainbow trout, something the regulation calculates as necessary as many anglers mistake cutthroat trout for the very similar rainbow variety.
The proposed regulation would include the following:
Kananaskis River (from headwaters downstream to Highway 1 and tributaries): Currently, between June 16 and Aug. 31, anglers are permitted to catch and keep two cutthroat and rainbow trout over 30 centimetres in length. The new regulation would not allow for any fish kept between these dates.
Silvester Creek: a ban on all trout between June 16 and Oct. 31. Current regulations allow for a limit of two over 35 cm.
Gorge Creek: Same as Silvester Creek.
Picklejar Lakes: Would implement a bait ban between July 1 and Oct. 31, but maintain a two-trout limit.
Boulton Creek: Would move from a two-trout limit between July 16 and Oct. 31 to a ban on all trout between those dates.
AESRD believes these changes will have little effect on anglers since few legal-sized cutthroat trout are present in the above waters.
Anyone wishing for more information on the proposed new regulation can contact Jim Stelfox at 403-851-2205 or Jenny Earle at 403-851-2211.