Alberta is well known for its fishing opportunities, enjoyed by residents and sportsmen from around the world. Compared to other parts of Canada, Alberta has a relatively small number of fish-bearing water bodies. Eight hundred lakes have naturally occurring fish populations and 300 or so are stocked with fish by the Alberta government. Because of the high ratio of anglers per lake, the province has the third highest angling pressure in Canada. An estimated 300 000 recreational anglers are active in the province, and there are an additional 800 commercial fishing operations. Recreational fishing contributed more than $350 million to Alberta's economy in 2000, for example, and commercial fishing is regarded as a $5 million-per-year industry.
Nowadays the conservation of our fish resource is critical and more complex sport fishing regulations have become necessary. Anglers are required to identify the species of sport fish they catch, as well as the size, to determine if the fish must be immediately released. A good rule-of-thumb is: "If you don't know, let it go!"
Biologists classify Alberta's game fish into two distinct groups: Cold-water Sport Fishes and Cool-water Sport Fishes. This distinction may seem subtle, but it is surprisingly important. Water temperature is a crucial factor in a fish's environment, and each species seeks differing temperatures depending on its feeding, resting and spawning requirements.
Cold-water Sport Fishes: The cold-water fishes of Alberta prefer a water temperature between 5 and 18 degrees Celsius. Although some of these species will tolerate temperatures of 22 degrees C or higher, their reproduction may be reduced or absent at these higher temperatures. Many species will die at temperatures above 24 degrees C.
Cool-Water Sport Fishes: The cool-water sport fishes of Alberta are fishes that grow and develop best in a water temperature between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius. A few species can tolerate temperatures of 34 degrees C. Others avoid temperatures above 20 degrees C.
To find the cache, identify the fish in the photos and determine the weight of the biggest of that species caught by an angler in Alberta. (Remember, fisherman usually round to the nearest pound). The total weight of the cold water species should be subtracted from the posted decimal portion of the north coordinates; the total weight of the cool water species should be subtracted from the decimal portion of the west coordinates.