Angler Effort at Select Mountain Lakes in Alberta, 2022

Final Report


Kevin Fitzsimmons, B.Sc.


Native populations of westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus lewisi; WSCT) currently occupy only 5% of their historical range in Alberta and the species is listed as Threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. A native WSCT population of conservation concern in Alberta is in Picklejar Lakes in the Upper Bow River drainage. High angling effort is suspected as a threat to the persistence of this unique population. To assess this potential threat, we estimated angling effort at Picklejar Lakes over the summer of 2022 using data collected by trail cameras. We also estimated angler effort at eight additional mountain lakes in the Upper Bow River and Upper Oldman River drainage basins to compare angler effort at Picklejar Lakes to that at lakes with similar characteristics. Our results confirm the suspected high angler use; Picklejar Lakes 2 and 4 had average angler efforts of 86.3 hours/ha and 320.6 hours/ha, respectively, during the 2022 angling season. The angling effort at Picklejar Lake 4 was almost twice as high as at the lake with the second highest angling effort. Overall, our estimates of standardized angler effort in 2022 suggest a wide range of angling pressure on lakes in Alberta’s Eastern Slopes, with some lakes very infrequently used (0.1 hours/ha) by anglers, while others have substantial use (320.6 hours/ha). Our estimates are the first quantitative angler effort estimates at the Picklejar Lakes and serve as baseline for future comparisons. As well, the angler effort data we generated can be used by managers to investigate if current angling regulations are adequate to protect the unique population of WSCT in Picklejar Lakes.

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