Stream Tender     Magazine

February  2016 Issue

“ Kids Fishing Clinics Draw Large Crowds”

    Mitford Trout Ponds are located on the site of an old gravel pit that was transformed into a park setting, complete with the two small ponds.

    In the late 1990’s, Town of Cochrane Parks staff decided to further enhance the park’s recreation opportunities by stocking the ponds with rainbow trout.

    Over time, the ponds became a perfect environment for parents to take their children on their first fishing adventure.

    In the early years of this fishery, a number of year end fishing derby's were

held at the ponds and then the need for a “Kids Fishing Clinic” event was first organized.

    Each year that the clinic was held the crowds of young anglers, accompanied by their parents, grew in size. The last year of the event, there were 76 registrants that came to the ponds to catch a trout.

    You could always tell when a trout was hooked, by the excited yelps of both young anglers and the parents that were often as exuberant as the kids were.

    After the Kids Clinic was over, many of the young anglers would return to

 the ponds over the summer months to further enhance their fishing experience.

    In 2015, brown trout were also introduced into the trout ponds, so now there are two trout species that fisher’s can try for. Also, in 2015, a really nice set of signs were placed at the site of both trout ponds, to guide anglers on what the regulations for the ponds fishery were.

    The “Kids Can Catch” fishing event that is planned for 2016, should be great fun for a new generation of young anglers and everyone else involved in this great event.

Above: This is one of two new signs that were placed at the ponds in 2015. The description of the trout shown on the signs will be a big help for young anglers that don’t know what a trout looks like.

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“Trout on a Stick”

Above: Not every trout gets safely released back into the water, but that is ok, every kid should have the option of tasting fresh caught rainbow trout. Especially when they caught them and the fish are a nice pan size. Just the right size for these fishing buddies.

“ Bighill Creek — A Trout Stream

Recovery Story in the Works”

    There is a small, but growing number of fly fisher’s that have learned how to fool the Bighill Creek trout into taking their fly patterns. This number is growing from year to year.

    Some of the original local fly fishing group that participated in the 2008 and 2009 angling survey were the first to be introduced to the stream’s fishery. A few of these individuals are still fishing the Bighill every year, as far as I am aware.

    Since that first group started to learn how to catch the BH Creek trout on fly rods, a few new anglers have join in on the annual trout hunt.

    The trout of the Bighill Creek can be a challenge to catch. Amongst the tangle of submerged willows, tree roots and above water branches of the Bighill, casting a fly line is difficult.

   However, when you do hook into a trout, it is well worth the effort. Some of the trout can be large in size and they seem to know all of the tricks about tangling your leader around submerged cover.

    On my own trips to fish the Bighill Creek, I feel great satisfaction, knowing that our efforts to improve the fishery on the stream are producing some very positive results. Especially when I hook into a large brook or brown trout.

A 2015 Bighill

Creek Brown

Trout

“Improving the Local Fishery”

    Some fly fisher’s burn a lot of carbon traveling to their favourite trout streams. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more great fishing destinations closer to home?

    In recent years I have discovered a few new local fishing destinations, which just happen to be project streams of mine. The first was Nose Creek and the second was West Nose Creek.

    Nose Creek has been supporting  a population of pike for a number of years, but it wasn’t until around 2012 that I first discovered this. So far, I haven’t caught anything really big, but the smaller pike have been great fun on a fly rod.

    Just this last year, I further expanded my selection of fishing spots to include West Nose Creek. On a late season trip I managed to hook into 5 brown trout and I am hoping to find some brook trout eventually. This stream well definitely be on my list for next year.

    The quality of fishing on both of these streams is somewhat below average, but I have great expectations for the future. All that both stream require at this point in time, is a little attention on improving water quality and habitat.

    While other fly fishers will be burning considerable amounts of fuel, while traveling to their favourite trout streams this year, I will be further exploring a few local waters.

    Our home waters are important habitats that have tremendous potential to provide great recreation. Local anglers have a vested interest in seeing these streams are taken care of. After all, we are the primary stake holders in their future health and well being.

A West Nose Creek

Brown Trout

A Nose Creek

Pike

Regulation Change Proposal Update

    In December of 2015, a proposal for a regulation change to protect spawning trout was submitted to ASRD Fish & Wildlife. Recommendations that three primary spawning tributaries to the Bighill Creek be closed year round to angling.

    The proposal included a letter of support from the Town of Cochrane. The regulation change, if successful, would protect three small spring creeks from any fishing activity in the fall spawning period.

    In the first week of February, I received word from the regional biologist that the proposal was received too late in the year to be considered for 2016. This does not mean that a regulation change is not beyond possibility, but it does put the whole process on hold for now.

    It is my hope that the proposal will not be lost or forgotten, for future consideration. After all, it is a simple but effective way of protecting the reproduction of our local trout fishery.