Hello Bushwhackers, welcome to a new project I am working on titled State of Alberta’s Bull Trout, where I will examine and discuss the current state of our Bull trout ecosystems, the current threats that they face, as well as what we as anglers can do from a conservation perspective.
State of Alberta’s Bull Trout (3 part series)
Why the fuss?
This entire idea really stemmed from a blog post I made last year, titled The Cringeworthy History of Alberta’s fisheries- And how we are barely hanging on, in which I reviewed an academic article discussing the astounding degradation of Alberta’s fisheries over the past decades. If you didn’t read it, go check it out. What was discussed, in essence, is how fickle and dynamic the trout environment is, and how easily that balance can be thrown off, and how much it has been thrown off, all over the province.
This pinballed into me spending last summer really analyzing the river on a deeper level, trying to figure out what was going on, and moreso WHY it was going that way. I began to think about what I could do to help protect these ecosystems, beyond the standard set of practices most of us follow like Catch and Release, proper handling, pinching barbs, ect. I decided that I would use the Bushwhackers Society Blog as my megaphone, and try to spread the word of conservation and environmental stewardship to as many people as possible. So I began to research, sifting through Government issued SRD reports, historical data, and whatever else I could find on the interweb, and matched that with the observations I have made personally while pursuing trout, and compiled that into a short report, which I hope will accomplish 3 things . 1) Shed light on the severity of Trout degradation in Alberta (USING FACTS), and the need for immediate action/ participation, 2) Share interesting and relevant information that people might not know about the Trout that occupy Alberta’s freshwater streams, and 3) Provide anglers with a framework on how to minimize their negative impact on fish and contribute to conservation efforts.
So with that being said, I highly encourage you to share this, as the more people who read this the better! I believe that we need a mentality change in Alberta, and that starts with education and holding people accountable. And if Fish and Wildlife doesn’t care whether you know the Regs, or can properly identify a fish, then I think its time the community takes matters into its own hands and start demanding that people do. Because if you fish in Alberta, you have a vested interest in keeping these populations healthy!
Finally, thank you to everyone from the Bushwhackers community who shared their photos for this post!
Last thing before we dive into Bull Trout. Most of the data and observations in this report are from Academic sources, Government conducted surveys, and Scientific papers, which all use very dense, scientific language that might not make any sense to the average fisherman. I have tried to simplify the language to make it more approachable, and have summarized data so it makes sense for you, however, info contained is my personal language and not necessarily the language used in the source.