Management Messages Jump to:
Message from the Minister

Welcome to another great sportfishing season on the gorgeous lakes and rivers of Alberta. This guide will provide you with important information on how you can do your part to protect waterways and conserve our fish populations while enjoying the great outdoors.

In order to increase our engagement with Albertans, a new webpage has been created to conduct surveys and share fisheries information. Please visit our webpage regularly to keep tabs on the latest topics at www.talkaep.alberta.ca. For the most up-to-date information for anglers, hunters and trappers, please visit the My Wild Alberta webpage at www.mywildalberta.com.

There are always a few changes with each new sportfishing season. Regulations are routinely reviewed and adjusted to reflect changes in the status of fish populations and align with management objectives. For information about changes to fishing regulations and other notices, please see the Important Changes and Notices section of this guide.

I am particularly pleased to draw your attention to some increased fish harvest opportunities for 2017. This is the result of recoveries in some fish populations, facilitated by good fisheries management and your support in following fishing regulations and demonstrating stewardship of our fish resources.
In the fall of 2015, we stocked tiger trout into a small number of ponds in Alberta to evaluate their success in creating more diverse fishing opportunities for stocked trout. Tiger trout have proven popular with Alberta anglers and the department will be looking to increase opportunities to catch tiger trout in 2017.

Albertans care about our waters, so we are always concerned about invasive species and disease. I would like to remind anglers that it is illegal to move live fish between water bodies; also, be diligent in ensuring your boats are cleaned, drained and dried to ensure they are free of aquatic organisms before you leave the boat launch. We all need to do our part and pull the plug to protect Alberta waters. To report any invasive species, please call our hotline at 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT).

Thank you for your help in the long-term sustainability of our Alberta fisheries. Enjoy the fishing season!

Sincerely,

Shannon Phillips
Minister of Environment and Parks


Alberta Angling Ethic

In accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Policy, the Alberta government promotes the following angling ethics.

The ethical angler has respect for wild creatures, knowledge of his or her natural surroundings, a sense of fair play and consideration for the rights and expectations of others. Fishing, as promoted by the Alberta government, should foster an ethical relationship of the highest order between anglers, their quarry, fellow anglers, and the natural environment. Ethical conduct is expected of anglers in Alberta.

1. Maintain the sport of recreational fishing. Emphasize the fishing experience. Use sporting methods, gear (lures, line type and amount of technology) appropriate to the type of fishing and the size of fish desired.

2. Provide proper care and handling of caught or released fish. Fish are to be released with the greatest possible care and minimal amount of handling. Fish that are kept should be killed quickly once they are out of the water and in such a manner that their edible or trophy value is preserved.

3. Conduct sportfishing activities that result in the least disturbance to the surrounding environment. Refrain from littering on land and in water. Take refuse to a proper disposal site.

4. Respect the needs and expectations of your fellow anglers. Treat other sport anglers with common courtesy: (a) leave room for others to fish, (b) disturb the fish as little as possible, (c) leave the fishing site in the same condition as it was found, (d) don’t remain in one fishing spot too long, (e) be cooperative and understanding, (f) obey the limits and keep only as many fish as you require to enjoy the sport.

5. Consider other land users. Carry out fishing activities in a manner that minimizes conflict with other land users and anglers.

6. Respect the rights of landowners. Request permission for access across private property. The landowner has the right to grant or refuse access.

7. Follow angling regulations. Know and abide by all fishing regulations and encourage others to do the same.

8. Anglers have a duty to address illegal activities in a safe manner. Angler’s actions could range from alerting others to closed waters or wrong size or species being kept to reporting all observed violations of angling regulations to the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch of Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security. It is important to collect pertinent information (such as vehicle licence numbers, violator descriptions, etc.) that will assist enforcement actions.


Important Changes for 2017

The summary in this section does not contain all regulation changes for 2017 and is provided only for general information to assist anglers in locating important changes. Carefully review regulations appearing in “Site-Specific Regulations” for each Watershed Unit for each Fish Management Zone.

General

  • New licensing options for persons who reside in Canada outside of Alberta (see table on page 18).
  • Changes were made to the definition of bait to address importing, possessing, selling or disposing of certain types of bait that are of concern from an ecological, invasive species or endangered species perspective.
  • A new prohibition has been added that restricts the disposal of organic (live or dead) fishing bait. Unused bait MUST NOT be disposed of in Alberta waters or within 50 m of a waterbody (except in a garbage can or waste disposal bin).
  • The wastage of the edible flesh of Burbot is PROHIBITED.

New Harvest Opportunities

  • Pike: Magee Lake, Manatokan Lake, Bangs Lake.
  • Walleye: Pine Coulee Reservoir, Burnstick Lake, Gleniffer Reservoir, Gull Lake, Lac Bellevue, Bourque Lake, Hilda Lake, and Lac La Biche.
  • Yellow Perch: Strubel Lake.

North Saskatchewan River

  • From Bighorn Dam downstream to the Alberta-Saskatchewan border; Sauger limit 0.

Bow River

  • From Banff National Park downstream to Bassano Dam (including Bassano Reservoir); Open all year; Bait Ban; Trout and Whitefish
    limit 0; Pike limit 0; Burbot limit 0; Walleye limit 0.

Gregoire Lake

  • Northern Pike limit 0.

Aquatic Invasive Species and Fish Health Risks

  • The introduction of aquatic invasive species continues to pose a serious risk to Alberta’s fisheries and the impacts can extend well beyond reducing subsistence and recreational fishing opportunity and tourism. It has been estimated that if invasive mussels became established in our waters, there would be substantial costs of over $75 million annually, including costs of maintaining water-operated infrastructure such as irrigation and municipal water systems. In addition, Alberta fisheries are vulnerable to the introduction of fish diseases and harmful parasites, such as whirling disease, that might enter our waterways from a variety of sources. Remember to always CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY watercraft and equipment (trailer, waders, angling gear, etc.) after each use. Avoid the use of felt-soled waders to reduce the risk of spreading whirling disease in Alberta.

To protect Alberta fisheries and our economy, the following mandatory requirements have been established:

  • Traveling with your boat? It is MANDATORY for anyone transporting a watercraft to stop when they encounter a watercraft inspection station and cooperate with officials. This includes motorized, non-motorized and commercially hauled watercraft.
  • Don’t forget to ‘Pull the Plug!’ Residual standing water in watercraft is known to be a source of aquatic invasive species and fish disease introductions. All watercraft being transported (e.g. on a road) in Alberta must now have the drain plug pulled while in transport.
  • No amphibians for bait! It is now PROHIBITED to import, sell or possess any species of amphibian for use as bait.
  • Except as provided for in legislation, it is PROHIBITED to possess any of the 52 prohibited aquatic invasive species listed in the Schedule of the Fisheries (Alberta ) Act (see the list / or Act at:
    www.qp.alberta,ca/documents/Acts/F16.PDF).
    Cleaning out your aquarium at home? Cleaning out your aquarium at home? The wastewater from an aquarium or other contained water, such as a garden pond or water from the transportation of fish must never be dumped into a municipal storm drain or otherwise allowed to enter a waterbody that may contain fish. Such water must be disposed of in another manner, in order to prevent the possible transfer of organisms, diseases or harmful parasites. It is acceptable to dispose of it where it will be subjected to sewage treatment measures, or by pouring it on a lawn, flower bed or garden where it will not drain elsewhere. For advice on other acceptable practices, call the 24/7 aquatic invasive species hotline: 1-855-336-BOAT (2628).


Future Regulation Proposals

The Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch, Policy Division of Alberta Environment and Parks conducts public reviews of various recommendations made by anglers, sportfishing organizations and staff. You are encouraged to send your comments on any issues of concern to the address below. Your letter or e-mail will be sent to the appropriate fisheries managers and advisory committees for further review.

Please forward regulation suggestions to:

Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch
Alberta Environment and Parks
Great West Life Building
9920 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2M4
Email: esrd.info-centre@gov.ab.ca


Online Licensing - Things you should know.
Go to albertarelm.com to purchase your licence online.

ONLINE PURCHASES

What do I need in order to purchase an online licence?
You will need a valid credit card, an email address, access to a computer with an Internet connection and a printer to print your licences. If you do not have an email address, free addresses are available through Internet service providers or free email services such as hotmail and Gmail.

Credit cards accepted are Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

What does it cost to buy an online licence?
Your online licence will cost the same as a licence purchased at your local licence issuer. The cost varies according to the type of licence you buy. There are no added service fees.

What are the technical requirements for my computer for online purchases?
Your internet browser should use Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 6.0 or newer or Firefox Version 3.5 or higher. To print your licence, you will require Adobe Acrobat Reader Version 8 or higher. Adobe Acrobat is available as a free download once you are connected to the Internet.

Is there someone I can call if I have problems when I try to purchase a licence?
You can call the RELM Help Desk (1-888-944-5494 toll free) for assistance. The hours of operation are:

7 days a week - 6:00 AM to Midnight (Mountain Time)

How do I know my information is secure?
Your Internet browser will indicate that you are operating on a secure server. The URL of the website will begin with an "https" rather than "http" and there will be a closed padlock on the status bar.

Albertarelm is protected using a secure Internet service known as Digitcert. The information you enter is transmitted using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) of communications.

Your credit card information is encrypted for added security. Your credit card number will not be stored in our database.

PURCHASE YOUR LICENCE ONLINE AT ALBERTARELM.COM

If you previously have not purchased a licence online you will need to re-register your WiN and password, OR

if you do not have a WiN you can obtain one online (you will need a valid credit card).

Go online to albertarelm.com, select “Purchase a Licence”; you will be prompted to re-register or complete the required information after which you can proceed and purchase licences.

If you need assistance, please contact the Help Desk at 1-888-944-5494.

WEBSITE AVAILABLE FOR WIN CARDHOLDERS

The website albertarelm.com for WIN cardholders is funded by anglers and hunters from a portion of the WIN renewal fee. As a WIN cardholder you can go online and view your licence history records and purchase your fishing and hunting licences. Anglers can also add or change their email addresses at albertarelm.com. The email address will only be used by Alberta Environment and Parks for resource management purposes such as sending licenced outdoorsmen and women new and current information.


Before you go do you know?

1. The name of the water body you wish to fish?
2. The Watershed Unit of the water body you wish to fish?
3. The 3 locations to find rules for the water body you wish to fish?
     a) Provincewide regulations
     b) The regulations for the Watershed Unit for the water body you wish to fish
     c) Specific regulations for the water body you wish to fish
4. If bait can be used in the water you wish to fish?
5. What bait is (click here for details)?
6. The game fish that you wish to fish for? For the specific waters:
     a) The size length?
     b) How many fish you can keep?
     c) The difference between catch limit and maximum possession (click here for details)?
7. How to identify the fish species you are fishing for (click here for details)
     a) Bull Trout?
     b) Brook Trout?
     c) Westslope Cutthroat Trout
8. That all Bull Trout, Arctic Grayling and Lake Sturgeon are protected and must be returned alive to the waters they are caught from?
9. How to safely return fish to the water (click here for details)?
10. You are required to carry your valid Alberta Sportfishing Licence while sportfishing?

If you answered NO to any of the above questions please review the Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations or contact your local Fish and Wildlife Office. Click here for a list of offices.


Species at Risk

Alberta’s Endangered Species Conservation Committee (ESCC) and its Scientific Subcommittee (SSC) assess a variety of native species. Four of Alberta’s native fish are Species at Risk. Because of their vulnerability, Alberta Environment and Parks has implemented a zero possession limit on these species throughout the province. None of these species caught in any waters may be kept. If you catch one of these fish, release it immediately.

● Arctic grayling – Species of Special Concern
● Athabasca rainbow trout - Threatened
● Bull trout – Threatened
● Westslope cutthroat trout - Threatened

For more information on Species at Risk, please see:
http://aep.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/species-at-risk/species-at-risk-publications-web-resources/fish/default.aspx

For Fisheries Management status, please see:
http://aep.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/fisheries-management/fish-sustainability-index/default

NO BLACK PUT IT BACK!

You will be helping the recovery of this important native fish. Remember, the bull trout is our official provincial fish emblem. Study the pictures on this page and learn how to recognize bull trout.

BULL TROUT

Bull Trout have no black spots on their dorsal fin.


BROOK TROUT