Abundance of sportfish in the LRDR Phase I
Jason Cooper and Trevor Council
The purposes of Phase I of the Lower Red Deer River study were to: i) assess accessibility, ii) determine study logistics, and iii) identify potential study reaches within the 473 km study area that could be surveyed to quantify the distribution and abundance of sport fish in the Lower Red Deer River. Initial reconnaissance was conducted to identify boat launch sites from 23 to 25 June, 2003, from the City of Drumheller to the Estuary Ferry crossing in Saskatchewan. Logistically, the 473 km length of river was divided into 13 smaller sections based on access sites and overall length of river. In 1990 and 1991, 80 1-km sample sites of 95 were sampled (one site every 5 km) along the entire study section. Review of water flows from 1990 to 2003 indicated that the most suitable time to quantify fish communities using electrofishing by jet boat occurs mainly between late May and the end of June. Our review also indicated that, in the past few years flows have drastically diminished by late July, and do not increase again until the following year’s snow melt. Lastly, we identify a sampling methodology and key considerations for the implementation of Phase II and overall project success. This report contains preliminary information and interpretations that may be subject to future revisions.