Floods and Fish – Short-Term Loss, Long-Term Gain
Fish Rescue Hotline Running to Report Fish Left Stranded by Flood Waters

Calgary, June 22, 2005 - Now that flood waters have begun to recede across Alberta, Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) is turning its attention to the implications for the fish populations of the flooded rivers.

“Although the images we have seen lately show the power of water to reshape our daily lives, there are long-term benefits for their river and the fish species that live within it” said Brian Meagher, TUC’s Alberta Biologist. “Natural flood events such as this have the effect of flushing out materials from the river systems, such as litter and weeds.”

Meagher noted that for fish species, the flooding is both good and bad. “For species that spawn in the spring, such as rainbow and cutthroat trout, habitat has obviously been severely disrupted by this event. Additionally, the insect populations that these trout rely upon for food will be impacted. This will have a significant impact to the numbers of these fish we see in the short term, as both the eggs and fry have likely not survived. However, fall spawners such as brown trout should have great recruitment. Once the waters clear up, the number of spawning locations available will actually increase. With improved reproduction and less competition, we could expect to see increased survival and growth of those fish that make it through.”

Garth Soby, President of TUC’s Bow River Chapter in Calgary, also sees both the good and bad in this year’s flooding. “Although access points to the Bow, including our Chapter’s lease on Legacy Island, has been severely damaged, we shall soon see how a river system has the ability to regenerate and thrive when it is left to its natural devices. What we recommend to our members, as well as all anglers across Alberta, is to practice safe catch-and-release fishing on all watersheds that have been affected by the flooding, until researchers can determine the extent of the effect on our fish populations.”

Brian Meagher also noted that the TUC office has been receiving calls from Albertans discovering fish in locations where they are not normally found. “We’re hearing that fish are being found in ponds and puddles at a distance from their home rivers. If you find this type of situation, please call TUC’s Fish Rescue Hotline at 1-866-374-5455 and our staff will advise on the best course of action.”

About Trout Unlimited Canada
Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) is a not-for-profit conservation and educational organization. Founded in 1972, TUC’s focus is on volunteer-driven, member-based resource conservation. TUC Chapter members volunteer their time and effort to preserve coldwater habitat within local watersheds. TUC's national office is in Calgary, Alberta.

Brian Meagher, TUC Alberta Biologist

Michael Monita, Director of Marketing and Communications

The News Release above appears on the TUC web site. This is the URL for the site.  Follow the link under "News Release - Floods and Fish – Short-Term Loss, Long-Term Gain". 

It is a real shame that the news media got the story so wrong and reported something quite different!