It’s National Fishing Week!

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Until July 12, it’s National Fishing Week in Canada.The program, which encourages Canadians to enjoy over one million lakes, rivers, and streams that dot our country, is sponsored by the Canadian National Sportfishing Association. This is a great way for you to connect with your favourite watershed – or maybe find a new one!

We’ve put together this post so you can learn more about events, contests, and fishing regulations in Alberta.

Stocked Ponds

In Alberta, there are about 166 stocked water bodies for you to enjoy. These usually have brook trout, brown trout or cutthroat trout. You can find a list of stocked water bodies here.

Family Fishing Weekend

July 11-12 is Family Fishing Weekend. No licence is required to fish on these days, but be sure to follow all Provincial Fishing Regulations. These licence-free events only happen twice a year, so make the most of it!

#catchalbertacontest

Until the end of August, My Wild Alberta is holding an Instagram contest! Take a photo of your favourite fishing hole and tag it #catchalbertacontest. The top 20 entries with the most likes on Instagram will be entered to win one of two prizes, each valued at $100.

Learn More about Fishing and Angling 

Fishing is a great way to connect with your favourite Alberta watershed. But there’s a lot you need to know to be safe on the water and make the most of your fishing experience. The Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association put together this guide for getting started.

To learn more about fish handling techniques, invasive species, and more, click here.

Stay Safe with Swim Guide

As always, we post the most up-to-date water quality information on your favourite watershed. Be sure to check the Swim Guide before you go for advisories on watersheds around the province.

 

What are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy!

Paying tribute to water on Canada Day

Here in Canada, we have a lot to be thankful for – and a lot of it has to do with water.

We have access to some of the most abundant freshwater sources on the planet. Our network of lakes, streams, and rivers provides us with the water we drink every day, a place to relax, swim, fish, and paddle, and a scenic backdrop for much of our landscape. As Canadians, we are also some of the highest water users per capita in the world. This Canada Day, let’s recognize the importance of our more precious resource.

Here are five facts about Canada’s freshwater.

  1. Canada has more lake area than any country in the world, and much of this lies within the Great Lakes network. The combined shoreline of the Great Lakes is nearly 50 per cent of the earth’s circumference, and this network of lakes is the largest system of freshwater on earth. The Great Lakes provide drinking water to 8.5 million Canadians. Lake Ontario is so large that it supplies drinking water to nearly 30 per cent of Canada’s population. 
  1. There is more water underground Canada than on our country’s surface. More than 8 per cent of Canada is covered in lakes, and our rivers discharge 7 per cent of the world’s renewable water supply – but this is still less than what lies beneath our country. Groundwater provides drinking water to about a quarter of Canada’s population, and is essential for farming and manufacturing.
  1. The majority of lakes on the Canadian Shield were created by glacial erosion, including the Great Lakes. Glacial lakes form when glaciers recede, carving a hole in the surface. Glacial melt causes the hole to become filled. Glacier ice can measure over 100,000 years old at the base.
  1. Wetlands cover more than 1.2 million square kilometres in Canada, and our wetlands make up about 25 per cent of the global area. Canada is the largest wetland area in the world, and are essential for the health of our ecosystem and the water we drink. Wetlands retain water, prevent flooding, filter and purify water, and replenish and store groundwater. In the past, wetlands were considered wasteland, and much of the wetland area in southern Canada was drained or filled for farming and building operations. 
  1. Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park is the second largest glacier-fed lake in the world. Maligne Lake is one of the most photographed locations in the world, drawing fame and attention for its colour, surrounding peaks, visible glaciers, and Spirit Island, a tiny island that sits in the lake.

Sources

Water. (2015). Environment Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/.

Fact Sheet: The world and water. (2007). RBC. Retrieved from: http://www.rbc.com/community-sustainability/_assets-custom/pdf/Fact-Sheet-The-World-and-Water-EN.pdf.

Blue-Green algae: What do you need to know?

Blue-green algae is a cyanobacteria present in all Alberta lakes. It grows best in still or slow-moving water when the weather is warm, which is why we see more blooms in the summer. When phosphorus and nitrogen are present, the bacteria will reproduce more quickly.

Blue-green algae is already beginning to make an appearance this summer in our Alberta lakes. This year, Alberta Health Services announced they would be changing the way they warn the public about the blooms.

So what do you need to know to stay safe on the water?

  1. The new regulations will inform you if cyanobacteria is present, but you’ll only be cautioned to avoid the water if a bloom is visible.

In the past, lake users were warned not to swim or wade in lakes if the bacteria was present at all. Now, advisories will be posted if the bacteria is present, but lake users will only be cautioned to stay away from physical signs of a bloom. It’s important to remember that blooms can move rapidly from location to location, so look before you swim!

  1. The warning will stay in place until the risk is no longer present.

Make sure to regularly check the Swim Guide and AHS for updates on cyanobacteria advisories, and do visual checks of your water body before swimming, wading or drinking.

  1. Blue-green algae is extremely toxic, and will make you ill – even after boiling or filtering the water.

Avoid all contact with blue-green algae, and wash with soap and water if you come into contact with it. Contact with blue-green algae can lead to skin irritation and/or reactions in the eye, ear, nose and throat. It can also lead to more severe side effects, including headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

  1. If you know cyanobacteria is present in your lake, make sure to look for physical signs of a bloom.

Blooms generally smell pungent and strongly grassy. They coat the surface of the water and look like a blue or green scum, though they can range in colour from white to red to brown.

  1. If you see a bloom, let your local health unit know and send us an email.

If you see a bloom and there is no advisory posted, mak sure to call your local health unit so they can share the advisory on their website, through social media, and with local media outlets. Sending us an email makes sure we can create a pollution report, helping spread the word and protect the health of our watershed community.

Sources

Algae. (2015). Rural Consolidated Industries LTD. Retrieved from http://www.algae.info/Algaecomplete/tabid/1131/Default.aspx#bgreen.