Upper Little Red Deer River Fisheries Investigation, 1998


Jay Wieliczko & Calvin McLeod


Located in West Central Alberta, the Little Red Deer River originates in teh Eastern Slopes of the Foothills of Alberta, west of Cremona. A tributary to the Red Deer River, the main stem of the Little Red Deer River is 202.5-river kilometers long, has a drainage area of 2,356 km2 and has a change in elevation of 735m from headwaters to confluence (Rees, K 1988). Tributaries such as Grease, Harold, Silver, Graham, Big Prairie, and Dogpound creeks feed it. Land uses activity within an adjacent to the river valley is primarily grazing, forage production and logging. The river valley is deeply entranched with the stream channel generally wide with little instream cover. Because of this, the amount of suitable fish habitat is limited especially at low flows. The substrate primarily consists of cobble, shattered bedrock and silt with only a limited amount of gravel. 

The purpose of this study was to gather information on fish population status in the upper reaches of the Little Red Deer River. 

The objectives were to:

1) Establish two index sites to gather fisheries information to be used as baseline information that would evaluate new sport fishing regulations implemented in 1998. 

2) Broadly determine the amount and location of brown trout spawning in the Little Red Deer River. 

Limited fisheries information had previously been collected from the mainstem of the upper Little Red Deer River. Previous distribution and abundance data was collected by Rhude (1980) in 1979 and by Rees (1988) in 1986 and 1987. Both of these studies were "Phase 2 fisheries investigations which examined five, 300-m long sites on the upper Little Red Deer River using a backpack electrofisher. Both studies focused mainly on the tributaries to the Little Red Deer River and less on the mainstem Little Red Deer River. 

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