Monitoring Bull Trout and Cutthroat Trout Populations in Canyon and Prairie Creek Drainages, Elbow River, Alberta, 2005


Kevin Fitzsimmons


The primary objective of this study was to assist with the management of trout populations in the Elbow River by providing estimates of abundance and distribution of bull trout and cutthroat trout in the Prairie Creek and Canyon Creek drainages. In the summer of 2005, I backpack electrofished 55 randomly chosen stream sites in the Prairie Creek and Canyon Creek drainages. At four sites (two sites in each drainage), I used population estimation techniques to estimate electrofishing capture efficiencies. These capture efficiencies and a nonparametric model were used to estimate fish abundance in 500?m intervals in Canyon Creek, Moose Mountain Creek, Unnamed Creek (Canyon Creek drainage), Prairie Creek and Trail Creek.

In both Canyon Creek and Prairie Creek drainages, cutthroat trout was more abundant than bull trout. Canyon Creek had a greater number of bull trout (172/km) than Prairie Creek (66/km), and a greater number of cutthroat trout (233/km) than Prairie Creek (132/km). In streams where fish were captured, bull trout tended to occur in the upper reaches, cutthroat trout in the mid to lower reaches, and brook trout in the lowermost reaches of Prairie Creek. I documented brook trout further upstream in the Prairie Creek drainage than previously reported.

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