Alberta’s fishes are especially vulnerable to overharvest from high levels of angling pressure when compared to other North American jurisdictions. Alberta has an estimated 800 fish-bearing lakes, and nearly 100 times more angling pressure per waterbody compared to other provinces.
The relatively low number of fish-bearing waterbodies and high angling effort - along with other factors such as the shorter growing season, and higher catchability of sport fish - makes fish populations more vulnerable to overharvest in Alberta.
Stocking is one management tool that can provide additional angling and harvest opportunities for anglers, and can maintain or enhance fish populations.
Recreational Trout Stocking
The Alberta Provincial Stocking program supplies over 240 lakes with approximately 2.1 million hatchery-reared trout to:
- Provide additional recreational angling opportunities, and
- Reduce angling pressure on natural fish populations.
The program adds substantial value to the sportfishing industry, contributing an estimated $100 million annually to provincial revenue by creating opportunities within the province that entice anglers to explore and contribute to the economic expansion of Alberta’s fisheries.
Learn more about Recreation Trout Stocking:
Restoration Trout Stocking
Restoration Trout Stocking can supplement populations and support the expansion of native fish into suitable (often restored!) habitats. Protecting the genetic diversity of native species is made possible through the careful collection, development and reintroduction of native fish gametes.
Learn more about Restoration Trout Stocking program:
Walleye Stocking Program
In 2021, the walleye stocking program will re-commence, collecting eggs from a wild population, with a focused goal of providing additional harvest opportunities in 4 to 5 years time.
Learn about the stocking program, including which lakes will be stocked and subsequent harvest opportunities if the program is successful:
Provincial Fish Hatcheries
Allison Brood Trout Station
The Allison Brood Trout Station is the source of eyed brook, brown, cutthroat, rainbow, and tiger trout eggs for the province’s production hatcheries: the Cold Lake Fish Hatchery and the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery in Calgary. This facility houses 2,000 – 3,000 broodfish and has the capacity to house 20,000 brood recruits.
Raven Brood Trout Station
The Raven Brood Trout Station started as an experimental rearing site in 1926 and became an official operation in 1937. This facility grows 50,000 production trout for recreational stocking and produces approximately 500,000 eyed eggs annually for the province’s production hatcheries in Cold Lake and Calgary.
Cold Lake Fish Hatchery
The Cold Lake Fish Hatchery opened in 1987 and draws water from Cold Lake at a depth of 30m. The hatchery rears and stocks approximately 900,000 Tiger, Rainbow, Brook and Brown Trout per year. The Cold Lake Fish Hatchery is the only provincial hatchery that is designed to raise walleye.
Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery
Located in Calgary, the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery is one of the largest indoor hatcheries in North America. The hatchery rears and stocks approximately 1 million brook, brown, cutthroat, rainbow and tiger trout annually.
Learn more about visiting the hatchery through Bow Habitat Station:
Alberta's Brood Trout Stations
The Alberta Government owns and operates 4 fish hatcheries. Two of the hatcheries function as brood trout stations housing adult fish reared to produce the eggs required for spawning various trout species to stock select waterbodies across the province.
There are three different strains of rainbow trout, one strain each of brown, brook and cutthroat trout. The brook and brown trout cross to create the tiger trout as well.
The brood stations need to ensure they have adequate adults on hand to produce required eggs. Proper crossing of the various strains of trout is vital to prevent inbreeding of our trout and to achieve high survival of fertilized eggs.
Allison Creek Brood Trout Station Mobile Quarantine Unit
Allison Creek Brood Trout Station operates a mobile quarantine trailer unit that can incubate wild eggs collected from trout populations in streams or rivers in Alberta. The quarantine facility is a self-contained, 100% re-use water system. This unit is ideal for incubating small numbers of wild fish eggs to assist in restoration of native fish.
Alberta fisheries biologists determine the wild fish collection site and the number of eggs to incubate to eye-up inside the quarantine facility. Eyed eggs return to designated streams and placed into Instream Incubators that utilize stream water and allow the fry to emerge from the eggs and swim up into the stream. This greatly increases survival of the fry and allows reintroduction into barren or low population streams.
Updated: May 25, 2021