1997 Caribou Mountains Fisheries Inventory Report
Stuart M. Nadeau
In September of 1997, the Alberta Conservation Association and Natural Resources Service Fisheries Management staff, had the special opportunity to collect baseline fisheries inventory information in the Caribou Mountains, located 120 kilometers north of Fort Vermillion. This Sub-arctic eco-region, consists of perma-frost, peat bogs, pothole lakes and high fire frequencies. These factors make this area of the province and its fish resources very unique. Prior to this initiative, little was known about the status of the fisheries resource in this area.
Standardized data collection techniques were employed at fifty eight representative stream and lake sites within the Ponton, Whitesands, Yates, Wentzel, Caribou and Lawrence River drainages. Sampling techniques included backpack electroshocking, seine hauls, gill netting and angling. Arctic grayling were found to be the most abundant fish species observed, with northern pike, burbot, longnose sucker, lake chub and slimy sculpin also being present. Aging structures, lengths, weights, maturity information and tissue samples for DNA analysis were collected from all arctic grayling sampled. This information is currently being analyzed as part of the Northwest Boreal Region Arctic Grayling Stock Assessment Program.
Data collected will be added to the Northwest Boreal Region’s Fisheries database where it will be used when deciding future land-use issues in the Caribou Mountains. This data will also be used by fisheries managers as a baseline for determining the status of this unique fisheries resource.
A joint effort between N atural Resources Service and