Fish Stocking

The Alberta Government maintains native fish populations in all water bodies where they occur. Alberta also raises fish in hatcheries and plants them in water bodies to meet numerous conservation goals:

  • Re-establish fish where populations have collapsed
  • Establish new populations in suitable lakes
  • Provide trout fishing in areas where few other angling opportunities exist
  • Provide diversity in angling experiences where appropriate

The primary purpose of walleye stocking is to achieve self-sustaining populations, rather than maintain populations through continuous stocking. On the other hand, rainbow trout are not able to spawn in the sites the government stocks on an annual basis because of the lack of stream access (pothole lakes).

In lakes where food is adequate and there is a good chance the fish will survive the winters, small fish are stocked and allowed to grow to catchable size (put-grow-and-take fisheries). In other lakes and ponds, where fish cannot survive the winter because of inadequate oxygen (winterkill), larger fish are stocked (put-and-take fisheries).

Government hatcheries raise all the small fish for the put-grow-and-take fisheries.

Learn more about Alberta's Fish Stocking Program:

Stocking and Fish Mortality

Mortality can occur on newly stocked trout if water temperatures of the stocked water body are near their upper temperature tolerance, approximately 23oC. In all cases, fish are not stocked into waters where conditions are not suitable at the time of stocking.

Provincial fish culture staff follow proper procedure to test water conditions at stocking time; however, conditions can change unexpectedly. Public is encouraged to report evidence of fish kills to local fisheries staff.

Summer and Winter Kill

Summer and winter kill occur when large numbers of fish in a water body die due to lack of oxygen. Winter kill in particular occurs in many of Alberta's regularly trout stocked water bodies. Learn more at:


Updated: Aug 9, 2017