Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Spring has finally sprung and we are close to the opener (May 17th) for the Red Deer River. Presently there is a committee looking at the Red Deer River is managed and they are in the process of collecting data from fishermen. There will be angler report sheets to fill in at all the popular start/finish spots on the river. Please take a moment to fill in the survey. It will help in the decision making about how the Red Deer River is managed in the future.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Last night was our Central Alberta Trout Unlimited Dinner/Auction! The entire evening was a major success. The banquet room was full with well over 130 individuals who came out to support our chapter. We had over 90 donations for the bucket draws, silent auction, and live auction as well as several cash donations that will be used for projects. The auction was a lot of work to take on but our Dinner/Auction Chairman, Doug Pullen, was instrumental in ensuring the evening was a success. The meal put on by the Black Knight Inn was fantastic. Everybody had a great time bidding on items in the auction.
With cash donations, the auctions and games; almost $30 000 was brought in and after expenses for the evening (paying for the dinner, room, etc) we made close to $20 000.
Special thanks to our committee that included:
Don Pike Special Events Chairman from Trout Unlimited Canada
We also had lots of support from the gang at Trout Unlimited Canada.
Don Pike was our Master of Ceremonies
Rick Horn was our auctioneer. He kept the audience in stitches with his humour and he certainly got lots of participation in the auction.
We has a wide variety of items donated for the auction.
The Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited took the time to honour two amazing individuals. Both Don Andersen and Barry Mitchell have been the backbone of so many projects that our chapter have undertaken over the last 30 plus years. We owe both Don and Barry a big thank you. You will not find two more passionate men who believe that our fresh waters need to be protected, conserved and restored.
Jeff Surtess CEO of Trout Unlimited Canada
Sunday, March 3, 2013
I need to know who has items that will be for sale at the Central Alberta Trout Unlimited Garage Sale on Sunday March 10th from 10 am to 1 PM at Mattie McCullough School.
Address: 26 Lawford Avenue (travel to the east end of 32ns Street turn right and the school is on your right)
If I do not get sufficient items for the garage sale by Wednesday March 6th at 10 PM, I will cancel the garage sale VIA e-mail.
Tables will be provided.
Drop off for the garage sale is from 9 am to 10 am at Mattie McCullough School.
It is up to the seller to get the items on a table ready to go. Items have to be properly bagged and priced.
Sellers will be asked to donate a minimum of 20% of their proceeds to Central Alberta Trout Unlimited. I hope that the sellers will consider donating as much as possible.
Sellers are responsible for picking up unsold items at 1 PM sharp.
Contact me VIA e-mail if you have items to email@example.com
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Don Anderen asked me to post this article that he wrote. These thoughts, observations and opinions in this article are Don's. Don has closely monitored Stauffer Creek over the last 30 plus years.
WATCHING A CREEK DIE! ONE MAN’S OBSERVATION
It isn't pretty but it's happening to the premier spring creek in Alberta. The North Raven River [Stauffer Creek] is internationally renowned. From when it was first stocked in the late 1920's or early 1930's it was totally ignored by most anglers. Like a lot of streams it was severely abused by agribusiness. In the late 1960's the Red Deer Fish and Game funded Fish and Wildlife to do a fish population study. The study plus the availability of monies raised from the newly introduced Buck for Wildlife Fund resulting in tens of thousands of dollars spent on livestock exclusion fences, bank stabilization and land acquisition. The Fish and Wildlife Division efforts were augmented later by thousands of volunteer hours, plus further thousands of dollars from the Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited. As a result the fish populations exploded.
Way back about 2002 or so I had a gut feeling that Stauffer Creek was suffering some type of problem as the number of decent fish I and others were catching dropped dramatically. The drop was to the point that most anglers voted with their feet and didn't go there any more.
My gut feeling was reinforced by the Alberta Conservation Association's
Population study undertaken in 2005. It showed a marked drop in larger brown trout. In an effort to confirm what I "thought" was happening, over the past 6 years I have paid attention to the number of redds that I see, and I've walked the upper reaches of Stauffer upwards of 1/2 dozen times each fall/winter looking for evidence of spawning trout demonstrated by the amount of redds. For example, in the section just downstream of the Buck for Wildlife parking lot, the redd count dropped from 14>16 five years ago to 12 fours years ago to 9 three years ago and dropped again to 5 last year and finally to 2 this year. This is a 85% reduction in just the last five years. Other sections showed much the same decrease.
The number of redds are important for two reasons. 1] They show the amount of healthy mature fish within the population. 2] Lots of redds mean lots of fish for the future.
The question is: have the browns moved to other locations. This is possible but highly unlikely. I have walked from east of the Stauffer Road [Secondary Road #761] approximately 3.5 stream miles upstream many times over the past 40 years and there have been only a few locations in that mileage that the brown trout used for redd building. Certainly there were some with 2 to 5 redds here and there but only in four location widely separated was spawning activity occurring. Virtually all the spawning on Stauffer Creek exists from 400 yards east of the Buck for Wildlife Parking lot to Range road #60 east of the Butte Community Hall. This mileage may add up to <>2 miles with the primary spawning happening in small stretches throughout.
The real question is why the reduction in brown trout. Certainly the stream habitats had to be getting better and better as more livestock exclusion fencing was installed covering all the stream up to the headsprings, the beaver populations were under as much control as reasonable, the regulation changes reduced or eliminated most of the springtime killing sprees and there seemed to be few encounters with poachers. What is curious is the amount of brook trout have actually increased from the 1995>2005 population runs. Some of the brook trout increase could be attributed to the extensive works that the Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited did near the headsprings.
I attended a meeting in 2007 attempting to get Government to respond to population drop in the creek. During this meeting, I expressed my concerns with the decreasing brown trout numbers but was assured that the decrease was either normal fluctuations or an abnormality within the 1995 population run.
Although SRD was seemly unconcerned, they did request the ACA to do another population run in 2010. At this point in 2012, this has not been done. The SRD also arranged the Dept. of Environment to analyze the water quality which was done. The Dept. of Environment sampled at Highway #54 crossing and declared the water temperatures and chemistry was within acceptable limits . However, nutrient concentrations were higher in 2007 relative to previous years, and could represent a risk to increased productivity and alteration of the aquatic ecosystem. As development in the area continues, there is the increased risk of direct effects to the aquatic ecosystem.
During the meeting several items were discussed:
1] Water Quality is always an issue when any stream can be impacted by agriculture/domestic usage or oil and gas. Physical and chemical examination of the stream should be done.
2] Insect populations: Can fluctuate dramatically due to water temperature and quality resulting in poor fish health.
3] Water temperatures: Fish life is dependant on stream temperatures. 4] Predation: Any number of birds or animals can feed on trout.
5] Disease: There are a host of diseases that will effect fish health and survival.
6] Fish numbers. In order to determine a rough count of mature fish a redd count was done each fall.
Below is a discussion of each of the above items. Water Quality
Physical Examination has been done a number of times over the past 40 years. One thing was very obvious, below the Carr Creek confluence, the amount of weeds in the stream increased by many factors whereas above Carr Creek, the weed growth on the bottom was quite sparse. This suggests that nutrient enrichment was occurring. The Carr Creek confluence is somewhat defined, but during spring run-off or heavy summer rains Carr Creek will over-flow its banks and enter Stauffer Creek well above or below the normal confluence. There is also increasing presence of a green algae material. This green algae showed up <>20 + years ago and now is found from the headsprings on downstream. The algae is in small patches of less than dinner plate size.
As the water test done by the Dept. of Environment didn't look at all of the chemicals that could/might be causing fish kills it became apparent that a series of water tests were required to see if a chemical was the issue. The Edmonton Trout Unlimited Chapter funded the testing. I attempted to solicit help from the Dept. of Environment, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, SRD, various universities and a host of professionals on what tests should be done. Frankly, they collectively were a complete waste of time and effort. It is obvious that one of the tests required was for hydrocarbons specifically Benzene, as benzene is typically part of gas/oil well effluent and in even relatively low concentrations can kill fish.. As Carr Creek supplies nutrient load, some testing was done for agricultural chemicals. A local Agrologist from the County of Clearwater pointed out the chemicals that may be in the water.
The testing was done four times. A background sample was done in early April before any run-off had occurred, another was taken during the run-off and two more tests were done after heavy rains. All of the test samples were taken four hundred yards downstream of the Carr Creek/Stauffer Creek Confluence to capture the chance the chemicals were coming from Carr Creek. While I would have liked to do more testing, the costs were quite high. Unfortunately, the test didn't reveal any chemical issues. What is critical to remember - just because I didn't find any chemical issues that does not mean that they do not occur.
Examination of the number and distribution of the types of insects can reveal a lot about the water quality in the stream. To that end, three members of the
Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited sampled the insect life in three areas of the stream June 4, 2007. This sample date was chosen in an attempt to maximize the numbers and sizes of the insect nymphs. The furthest upstream sample point was on the Stainbrooke Property. Sample point #1 at 52 10 52.28N 114 41 07.68W was located just immediately upstream of the spring in a riffle area. The sample point #2 was in a similar riffle area downstream of the Carr Creek/Stauffer Creek Confluence at 52 10 28.16N 114 39 46.07W with the sample point #3 again in a riffle area was located directly downstream of the bridge at the Buck for Wildlife Parking Lot at 52 09 56.18N 114 38 38.46W.
Sample point #1 yielded 701 mayflies, 21 caddis, 72 stoneflies and 86 midges = 880 insects Sample point #2 yielded 382 mayflies, 12 caddis, 0 stoneflies and 71 midges = 465 insects
Sample point #3 yielded 183 mayflies, 39 caddis, 0 stoneflies and 120 midges = 342 insects
Two things become readily apparent: 1] Stoneflies decrease of "0" in the sample and midges increase dramatically. 2] The number of insects decreases the further downstream the samples were taken.
Stoneflies require well oxygenated water with clean bottoms and midges tend to increase in population as water quality decreases and nutrient load increases.
Water Temperature of the Stream
No effort was made to take water temperatures. As the brook trout are increasing in population as per the 2005 count and brook trout require colder water to thrive, I felt that water temperature wasn't likely to be an issue with the brown trout as they are least effected by high water temperatures of all the trout species.
In personal observations, I didn't see any of the fish eating mammals such as mink or otters. Others apparently did not see them either. While that does not mean that they do not exist, they seem to exist in low numbers. Pike are
present however and in the 40+ years of fishing Stauffer Creek, I have seen 2, making pike an unlikely issue. One caveat - otters are now an issue on most streams and lakes in Central Alberta but otters were rarely seen on Stauffer previously. I have been told of a single sighting from 1970>2004.
There are a host of fish diseases that could effect this stream. I have neither the expertise to identify or the money to hired professionals to see if any disease is occurring. One thing is apparent - the brook trout are doing OK.
The Redd Count areas are listed below. Each area is walked at least once per year and several of the areas two to five times. I've done the redd count for the past 6 years but have watched the number of redds in each location over the past 40+ years. I only started counting redds when it became apparent, at least to me, that there was a major problem.
Section #1 52 09 57.71N 114 38 23.6w > 52 09 55N 114 38 39W downstream of B for W parking lot typically 14>16 redds - dropped to 9 in 2010>5 in 2011>2 this year.
Section #2 52 10 13N 114 39 21W > 52 10 24N 114 39 42W from Lazy M > bridge directly upstream to bridge. Typically it has >30 - last year it was 26 - this year 20
Section #3 52 10 24N 114 39 42.7 W > 52 10 33N 114 40 4.9W from the bridge above to the 1/4 line. This section has produced greater than 50 redds. Last year it was <>20 and this year 13
Section #4 located @ 52 10 54N 114 41 05.78W east of Stainbrooke east property line <> 600 yards. - last year there was one redd - typically 6>8. Found 2 redds this year.
Section #5 52 11 23.9N 114 42 11.6W On the east property line of Leavitt Springs downstream of culvert. Usually 3 redds - none this year or last.
In conclusion, I have done all that I can to identify the problem. Clearly the issue must be dealt with or we will lose the stream.
1] For those wishing to see the ACA report on trout abundance, see :
http://www.ab- conservation.com/go/default/custom/uploads/reportseries2/Abun-Sprt-Fish- N-Raven-Rvr,AB-2005.pdf I suggest that you pay attention to the following figures on page #21 - Figure # 2 Weighted mean estimate of brook trout abundance & #3
Weighted mean estimate of brown trout abundance. 2] Communication with SRD:
• I emailed the insect study report to SRD in 2007 • As the Trout Unlimited representative on a joint management
team for the Leavitt and Stainbooke Properties, in 2010 I expressed my concerns in an email about the lack of trout to both the ACA and AF&G representatives and as well CCed the non-‐‑voting member from SRD.
• as a result of the SRD did a “snap shot” population of the springs. Identified as an issue was the lack of bottom structure @ the springs.
• In 2012, I organized and the Central Alberta Chapter of Trout Unlimited funded the installation of <>25 instream willow bundles to aid in the survival of the trout.
• In December 2011, I communicated my observations to the Regional Manager of Fish and Wildlife in Rocky.
• In December 2012, I communicated the first draft of this report to the Director of Fisheries for Alberta.
3] Digital copies of the insect study, the report of water quality done by the Dept of Environment, copies of the water analysis and the report on the instream work done in 2012 are available by contacting myself.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Red Deer River Fisheries Management Plan
There is now a need for a new fisheries management plan as the existing plan is almost 20 years old. Changes in river habitat, fish population numbers and other emerging pressures on this fishery prompted an update and review of the plan.
The new fisheries management plan will be developed by reviewing and updating the 1994 plan. The planning area has also been extended downstream from the Joffre Bridge to the Tolman Bridge.
The planning area has been enlarged to better reflect the management needs of the Red Deer River and distribution of fish stocks inhabiting this section of river.
The development of the updated plan and the actions to be taken by fisheries management will be informed and guided by the principles, goals and objectives identified in the Fish Conservation Strategy for Alberta (2006-2010). Public involvement and consultation will be a critical component of this review process.
Fisheries Management in the Red Deer Area has taken the initial steps to work with an advisory committee of stakeholder groups. The advisory committee has started working together to identify current issues to be addressed by the updated fisheries management plan. The next step in the process is to ensure all issues have been identified.
The Red Deer Fisheries Management Plan (Dickson Dam to Tolman Bridge) Public Meetings scheduled for Monday January 14, 2013 in Trochu, Alberta and Wednesday January 16, 2013 in Red Deer, Alberta will help gather feedback from the public on management goal and issues that should be addressed by the updated Fisheries Management Plan.
For additional meeting information including time, date and location please read the following documents by clicking on the bold text.
January 14, 2013 Trochu, Alberta
January 16, 2013 Red Deer, Alberta
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