Stream Tender     Magazine

February  2016 Issue

Millennium Creek 2016 Newly Hatched Trout

This Bighill Creek Brook Trout may have started its life as a newly hatched trout on Millennium Creek

Cochrane Community

Grant Program

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“ 2016 Brook Trout Hatch on Millennium Creek is Spectacular”

This Trout Fry Casts a Long Shadow in the Early Morning Light on Millennium Creek

Above: This photo was taken on February 8th on Millennium Creek, directly below the spawning channel. There were many other small brook trout fry taking shelter in the woody debris that volunteers had placed in the water, to provide cover for newly hatched trout every year. Due to the warmer weather this winter, the hatch started earlier than normal on the creek, some time in late December, with the brook trout emerging from the spawning beds in late January of 2016.

“ The Collapse of the Ghost Village Bay Lake Whitefish Sport Fishery”

    In the winter of 2009, some local area ice fishing anglers discovered the abundance of Lake Whitefish in a large bay on the Ghost Lake Reservoir.

    The bay is the site of the small hamlet of Ghost Village, so the title Ghost Village Bay was soon used to describe the location.

    For a brief period of time over the following few years, this fishery became a very popular angling destination. On some winter weekends, you could count as many as twenty ice fisher’s on the bay.

    After only a few years of heavy fishing pressure, the numbers of Lake Whitefish being caught in the bay declined to the point that the entire bay fishery collapsed and so did the number of ice fisher’s.

    The reason for the collapse of the Lake Whitefish population by local ice fisher’s was blamed on over harvest. The regulation allowing a daily harvest of 10 Lake Whitefish was just too generous and unsustainable.

Above: This Ghost Village Bay Lake Whitefish was the average typical size of fish being caught by winter angler’s on the bay. The whitefish averaged between 2 and 3 lbs., with some tipping the scales at 4 lbs. This particular fish was safely released back into the water by the author after it’s brief photo session. The fishery on the bay was very popular from 2009 until 2014, when the numbers of Lake Whitefish in the bay collapsed. It was really disappointing to witness the disappearance of large whitefish swimming up to take your jig in shallow water of the bay, while watching thru the clear water beneath the winter ice.

“The Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program 2016 Update”

    Over the winter months, I have made a few inspection tours of the planting sites from the 2014 and 2015 Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program plantings. I am pleased to report that the plants are doing just fine.

    Those that are exposed above the ice and snow have limber branches and show new bud growth for this year’s growing season.

    Presently, I am organizing a partnership program for the 2016 season on Nose Creek, West Nose Creek and Bighill Creek. Included on Bighill Creek are two small tributary spring creeks that will also receive some plantings.

    Thus far, the program is developing into another banner year of work by volunteer planters, with a number of partnership commitments. However, it is still a little early to announce the full scope of the program for this year.

    Regardless, I am confident that many thousands of plants will be put into the ground along these streams this spring, summer and fall.


    So far, I have commitments for over 5,535 native willow and tree plants. To surpass last year’s program, we will need another 10,000 or so plants, but no goals are set at this point in time.

    What ever ends up being the final tally on plants, it will still be another great year of work for us. Looking back on the accomplishments from that last few years, the total plantings over a considerable distance of stream bank on all three streams, we have a lot to be proud of.

    I really look forward to watching the plants grow over the follow years and reporting back to you on the results. This will of course include some good before and after photos of the stream banks where the plantings have been completed.

    As I have mentioned in previous issues of this magazine and reports on  the program, time will show the results of our efforts. It will take approximately 5 or 6 years before the plants are mature enough to stand out in the environments where they have been planted.

Above: This photo shows how a cutting develops into a maturing native willow plant. You can see the top of the cutting after 3 years since it was planted along the stream bank of Bighill Creek. This photo was taken in February of 2016.

Left Photo:


This is what a “Stage One” native willow plant looks like, when it is first planted into the ground. This method of planting is called the

“Head Start Planting Technique” and it was first developed and used by Bow Valley Habitat Development in 1998. Since that time the methodology has been improved.

“Kids Can Catch” Event -This Spring on Mitford Trout Ponds

    Community Trout Ponds are ideal venues for getting potential young anglers off to a good start, in the sport of fishing.

    For parents that are not familiar with the sport, yet they would like to provide an opportunity to see if their kids would enjoy fishing, these kids clinics or events are the perfect way to introduce them.

    The “Kids Can Catch” event is planned for this spring, by the Town of Cochrane and the Alberta Conservation Association. The day of the event will be well advertised in the local newspapers, so keep your eye open for further details.

    Some rods and tackle will be available for those that don’t have any and there will be some experienced anglers on hand to give instruction.

Above: Parent Terry Young and his son look on as Jake Gotta holds up their mighty catch, a nice sized rainbow trout. The trout was captured during a previous kids fishing clinic held at the Mitford Trout Ponds, in the Town of Cochrane.

Articles by :

Guy Woods

“Bighill Creek Trout”

    Most Fly Fisher’s are generally pretty secretive about their favourite fishing streams. However, it wouldn’t be right not to mention a few details about the success of the recovery of the trout fishery on Bighill Creek.

    After all, with all of the work that has been completed on the stream in recent years, it is good to reveal some of the more positive results.

    I think that the picture to the right tells it all. This nice brook trout was captured this past season on the Bighill Creek. This trout may have started its life on Millennium Creek or possibly Ranch House Spring Creek.

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