Time of Day Angling Restrictions

Protecting fish in Southern Alberta during periods of low flows and high temperatures.

During the 2022-23 Sportfishing Regulation Engagement, feedback was collected on restrictions to angling during low flows and high temperature events. After considering feedback provided from Albertans, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) has developed a flexible approach to protect fish during periods of lows flows and high temperatures by creating a time of day angling restriction.

A time of day angling restriction is when angling is not permitted from 2:00 PM to midnight (14:00 to 24:00) at specified locations.

Throughout the late spring and summer 2022, AEP will be monitoring the Bow River, and if flow and temperature thresholds are exceeded, a time of day angling restriction will be implemented for a minimum of two weeks.

This restriction will be put in place for:

  • all trout rivers and streams (flowing waters) in fisheries management zone ES1, including the Bow River downstream of Banff National Park to Bassano Dam (including this reservoir)
  • St. Mary's River mainstem (including tributaries) below the St. Mary's Reservoir in fisheries management zone PP1

See the map below for areas that will fall under this time of day angling restrictions.

Alberta map depicting Time of Day Angling Restriction Zones including all of the Eastern Slopes ES1 Fish Management Zone, the Lower Saint Mary River Watershed, and the area of the Bow River from Banff National Park to Bassano Dam,
(Click to enlarge)

Implementation of Time of Day Angling Restrictions

Starting in June, AEP will be monitoring water temperatures and flows at several locations in Southern Alberta. Temperature and flow data from flowing waters throughout ES1 will be reviewed; however, the main monitoring station that will be used is the Bow River monitoring station at Carseland. This station provides real-time water temperature and flow information, which allows AEP to compare real-time information to the thresholds set to protect fish during these high-risk periods.

The thresholds that have been set to protect fish (based on the protection of trout) are:

  • when water temperatures exceed 20°C for three or more consecutive days and,
  • when flows in the Bow River are below the 25th water flow percentile at that time of year as measured at the Carseland monitoring station.

When implemented, the time of day angling restriction will be in place for a minimum of 14 days. During this time, AEP will continue to monitor water temperatures and flows to see when water temperatures and flows no longer exceed the thresholds. Based upon this monitoring and the seven day weather forecasts, AEP will determine, every two weeks, whether the time of day angling restrictions will continue or be lifted.

If time of day restrictions are in place for a month, and time of day restrictions remain necessary due to exceedances of thresholds, they will remain in place until August 31. All restrictions will be removed as of September 1.

Communication of Time of Day Angling Restrictions

It is up to every angler to know the sportfishing regulations of the waterbodies they plan to fish. If a time of day restriction is implemented, anglers will be notified through an Alberta RELM email. Additional communication will be provided through AEP social media channels:

Know before you go – check the Fishing Advisories, Corrections and Closures before fishing, as these will be updated to notify anglers of time of day restrictions. These same mechanisms will be used to communicate when closures have been lifted.

The importance of protecting our fish and fisheries

This approach aligns with approaches in other jurisdictions and recognizes the importance of conserving the riverine fish and fisheries during times of low flows and high temperatures in southern Alberta.

It is important to note that the overall goal of a time of day angling restriction is to reduce angling effort and associated fish mortality due to hooking and handling during periods of warm temperatures and low flows when fish are already stressed. If angling effort is not reduced or is shifted to other sensitive areas, such as streams and rivers in Eastern Slopes, Zone 1 (ES1), it is unlikely that we can achieve the desired level of protection for these fisheries.

Once implemented in 2022, AEP will evaluate and improve the approach for subsequent years.

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Updated: May 4, 2022