Record Lake Trout Rescued

by | Nov 3, 2022 | News | 0 comments

Record Lake Trout Rescued
By Richard Burke, TUC Oldman Chapter

A record Lake Trout was among the fish rescued from the St. Mary River canal. TUC’s Oldman Chapter members and volunteers were among 26 persons on the second day of two field days this week saving thousands of fish, amongst them a 39 1/2 inch (1,001 mm) Lake Trout from a St. Mary River Irrigation canal near Hill Spring, Alberta.

Record Lake Trout

Record Lake Trout is safely returned

The irrigation district stopped water from entering its canals on October 7th, which triggered the fish rescue effort by Trout Unlimited Canada and Alberta Environment and Parks. It is the 24th year TUC and Southern Alberta/Oldman River Chapter volunteers have been involved.

Fish move into the canals during the irrigation season but have no way of returning to the Waterton Reservoir. Without the rescue, fish would perish.

Record Lake Trout

Fish Rescue saves stranded fish that would otherwise perish.

The rescue occurred at four Southern Alberta locations – Carseland and Western Irrigation

District canals on the Bow River about 150 km north of Lethbridge; Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District on the Oldman River near Granum; and the SMRID Waterton-Belly Diversion from the Waterton Reservoir, about 12 km northwest of Hill Spring.

The operations were expected to take 10 days. Piikani Nation members started rescuing fish from canals running from the Oldman River in 1990. The 39 1/2-inch Lake Trout was a record for fish rescued, eclipsing the previous North Pike that measured 33 1/2 inches (851 mm), said Lesley Peterson, TUC Alberta Provincial Biologist.

Among other notable fish were a Burbot 27 inches (683 mm), North Pike, 25 1/5 inches (648mm), Brown Trout, 24 inches (607 mm), and a 17-inch (432 mm) Lake Whitefish. Lake Whitefish appeared to be the most numerous, but a final count will not be completed until sometime in November.

Record Lake Trout

A variety of fish such as this Burbot are returned each year.

Amongst those involved in the rescue were two Trout Unlimited Canada staff from their Ontario office and volunteers from as far away as Fort McMurray and Edmonton.

Trout Unlimited Canada is a nonprofit, charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.