Upping the Oxy

Why do fish bite?

Although each of our biologists would probably answer differently, we can all agree on this: water temperature and oxygen are responsible for active fish.

During our 20-year history of aerating lakes in Alberta, ACA has found that surface aeration is very successful in helping to prevent summer and winter fish kills. It helps keep fish growing and biting all season long.

You might already know that central Alberta especially is prone to winterkill. We aerate waterbodies that are typically shallow, eutrophic (nutrient rich and teeming with plant life), and experience prolonged ice cover—not ideal for fish survival. To encourage active fish with time to grow bigger (2 – 4 years of growth is ideal), we aim to maintain dissolved oxygen levels above 3 mg/L.

We can’t aerate every waterbody, though. Factors like manpower, logistics, public safety, legalities, and budgets need to be considered. Each year, ACA receives several requests for new lake aeration across the province. We carefully screen requests to ensure that we address top Alberta government provincial-level priorities then develop a short-list of lakes for further screening as potential candidates for future aeration.

We continue to expand at a steady and realistic pace, having added a new waterbody each year for the last three.

Aeration is a result of a big picture desire: bigger, better, and more diverse fishing that is as accessible as possible. That’s the Alberta aim.

Partners

  • Alberta Environment and Parks
  • Edmonton Trout Fishing Club
  • Mercer Peace River Pulp Ltd.
  • Mountain View County
  • Municipal District of Greenview
  • Thorhild County