High temperatures and low water flow to blame

Originally Published by the Calgary Sun, August 11, 2015

Anglers in southern Alberta will have fewer spots to cast a line thanks to a series of closures instituted to protect fish as temperatures rise.

The Alberta government has restricted fishing in order to protect populations on several waterways experiencing low flow and higher than normal water temperatures.

“Angling in these areas presents a high risk to fish populations and may result in mortalities, even when using catch and release practices,” the Alberta Environment and Parks ministry stated in a news release issued Tuesday.

The following areas are closed for fishing until further notice:

  • Sheep River from headwaters to Highwood River
  • Highwood River from headwaters to Bow River
  • St. Mary River, downstream of the St. Mary Reservoir and tributaries
  • Belly River, downstream of Secondary Road 800
  • Bow River from Bearspaw Reservoir to the W.H.D. Weir
  • Bow River from W.H.D Weir to the Carseland Weir
  • Bow River from Carseland Weir to Highway 24 bridge
  • Bow River from Highway 24 bridge downstream to Bassano Dam
  • Elbow River from Glenmore Reservoir to the Bow River confluence

Anglers are also reminded to observe safe handling procedures in these areas:

  • Castle River and tributaries from Highway 3 upstream to Westcastle River
  • Oldman River from Racehorse Creek downstream to Oldman Reservoir; and from Highway 2 near Fort Macleod downstream to Secondary Road 509
  • Crowsnest River from Crowsnest Lake downstream to Oldman Reservoir
  • Belly River, downstream of Secondary Road 800
  • Waterton River, downstream of Waterton Reservoir
  • Waterton River, upstream of the Waterton Reservoir including tributaries
  • St. Mary River upstream, of the St. Mary Reservoir, including Lee Creek

The government has also suspended all fisheries research licenses in these waters.

Temperatures are expected to rise through the week with highs expected to hit 31 and 33 on Wednesday and Thursday in Calgary.

Photo courtesy of Lyle Aspinall/Calgary Sun.