The “4 C’s” of Trout Conservation
*Adapted from Lorne Fitche’s Two Fish, One Fish, No Fish*
Cool water (or cold in the case of trout) is a function of watersheds with a high degree of ecological integrity where water delivered as rain or snow melt can be trapped and stored in shallow ground water aquifers for release later in the year… These mechanisms of keeping water cool are key to adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Clean is maintaining water quality in which fish survive and thrive. It is as simple as keeping nutrients, pesticides, herbicides, contaminants, pharmaceuticals and sediment out of the water, the same water we will eventually drink. Sediment is a pervasive problem, interfering with fish spawning, eliminating aquatic invertebrates (the building block of fish flesh) as well as being the carrier for many of the water quality contaminants.
Complex speaks to in-stream habitat as well as near-stream habitat and the niches provided with woody debris, channel diversity and flow regimes that provide the dynamic systems within which fish evolved.
Finally, Connectivity is ensuring fish populations have the opportunity to interact to maintain genetic diversity. As well, it is the ability to weather the natural catastrophes that can wipe out fish in one area but the population can rebound because of movement and migration from another.
These 4 principles are good factors for anglers and conservationists. What I love about the trout fishing environment is how dynamic it is; turns out, this dynamic environment is exactly why the trout can exist there in the first place, and any sort of switch to the more mundane will also lead to the loss of the trout.