Hot Tub, Time Machine?
ALBERTA FISHING REGULATION CHANGES
Time of Day angling restrictions will be implemented on Saturday, August 20, beginning at 2 PM. The restrictions will remain in place until August 31st at 11:59 PM. AEP’s sportfishing regulations do not apply to waters within National Parks.
When implemented, Time of Day angling restrictions will be in place from 2:00 PM to midnight (14:00 to 24:00) for: all rivers and streams (flowing waters) in fisheries management zone ES1, including the Bow River downstream of Banff National Park to Bassano Dam (this includes Ghost Reservoir, Bearspaw Reservoir and Bassano Reservoir) St. Mary's River mainstem (including tributaries) below the St. Mary's Reservoir in fisheries management zone PP1.
FISHING IS OPEN FROM 24:00 - 14:00
FISHING IS CLOSED FROM 14:00 - 24:00
The water is as warm as your uncle's old jacuzzi from the 80's and we're having flashbacks to last summer. It's great for the party floaters but not so much for the fish. We wanted to wait until we had a clear picture of the situation to put out the word regarding the new fishing restrictions brought forth by Alberta Environment. By now many anglers will have heard about the Time Of Day Restrictions (TOD), or "Hoot Owl" closures that will come into effect at 2 PM Saturday, August 20th 2022. Many anglers will have not heard, and that is where we come into help get the word out.
For the record, we support and encourage regulatory measures and fishing closures when needed to help protect the fishery. We're here for the long run. This decision was not made on a whim, and specific criteria had to be achieved for this call to be made:
- 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 for 4 or more days at that time of year as measured at the Carseland monitoring station.
This approach was developed based on feedback collected during the 2022 Fisheries Engagement survey.Hoot Owl restrictions have been a part of life for generations of Montana anglers. The genesis of the name began in logging camps throughout the West in the early 1900's. Early logging machinery was prone to throwing sparks and during forest fire season operations would be suspended during the hottest part of the day. Loggers would be up working before dawn to make up for the afternoon hours lost to the sun, and would cross paths with owls heading home after a long night shift. What was once common practice in the past is now likely to be a fixture of our fisheries management in the future.
"Just keep er' at a hundred, Terry!"
The Bow River is by no means down to a trickle and is sitting at around 100 cms, well within the normal range. Ghost reservoir is still full and regulators have been keeping things stable. It's the sustained high temperatures that have triggered the TOD restrictions as the river cannot dump enough heat overnight. We're in far better shape than last summer however and the water temperatures seen now were recorded in the first week of July last year. The heat dome period of last summer would definitely have been an appropriate time for TOD restrictions.
Regarding restrictions, reactions from anglers have ranged from calm resignation to audible gasps. This may have cleared the evening caddis fisher's schedule but there are still plenty of angling opportunities to be had whether on the Bow or elsewhere and any good angler knows adaptability is a hallmark of success. Try fishing a stream as you hike up into a lake for the afternoon, as TOD restrictions do not apply to lakes. Consider not fishing at all, but don't let that mean you're off the water. Try appreciating your favorite bull trout spot as a swimmin' hole. It's a short period of time and a small price to pay. Caddis will still be hatching on the first of September and the fishing is only good till noon anyways.
Ghost Reservoir is still at 91% capacity.
In the heat, it's more important than ever to use proper fish handling & releasing technique:
- Release fish head up into oxygenated current while crading them gently.
- Don't release them into calm back eddies with warm water, algae growth and little oxygen.
- Really minimize handling time. When possible (especially with large fish) try not to remove them from the water at all.
- Fish are susceptible to skin infections when water temperatures rise so use a rubber net and leave the tailing gloves off, and otherwise try to keep their natural protective coating intact.
- Regardless of regulations, the best policy is to stop fishing when the water temperature approaches 19°C.
Think about being cool again one day. Temperature, that is.
Most of ES1 is currently under a fire ban as well. A live map of fire restrictions & bans can be found here. Don't be the guy or gal who burns down the forest!
A healthy, angry Bull. When they give you the down-eye glare, they're mad.
Trico fishing is the star of the show during mornings on the Bow, the blizzard of bugs means Christmas comes early for anglers who land a large brown trout caught sipping #20 spinners.
The biggest and most educated Trico eaters will try to make a small disturbance on the surface as opposed to a splashy take. Big splash does not equal big fish.
When fishing #18-20 Tricos, start with 4X tippet but begrudgingly go to 5X if necessary.
Trout eat Trico spinners. Try a polywing pattern which is essentially two spinners tied on one hook.
Hopper season is here. Try changing from a cocked-leg to a splayed leg pattern if size and color changes aren't getting results.
The ant bite is always strong on the mountain streams, and can often be the moneymaker.
- Fish tend to move off the banks and go deep during the hottest part of the day.
Strolis Single Ice Pick, White #4
CH Bow River Bugger, White #4-6
Rolled Muddler, Silver #8-10
BH Wooly Bugger, #6-8
BH Simi Seal Leech, Olive #8-12
Fastwater Prince, #16
RIO's He Man, #16
Water Boatman, #12-14
Hare's Ear, #12-16
Pheasant Tail, #16
Indicator Spinner Trico, Black/White #20
Galloup's Ant Acid, Black/Red #16
Panty Dropper Hopper, Tan #8-12
Polywing Spinner, Size #18-20
Carlson's Purple Haze, #14-18