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  3. Interesting article by TUC's Lesley Peterson in Cows and Fish Winter 2023 Newsletter: What happens to trout in the winter? by Lesley Peterson of Trout Unlimited Canada As fall turns to winter, many of us hunker down and get cozy. We spend a little less time outside in the cold, and more time in the comfort of our climate controlled houses and offices. Animals deal with winter in all kinds of different ways. Some birds fly south to warmer climates; some critters hibernate; and some just carry-on with their lives thanks to cold-weather adaptations. But what do trout do in the winter? Fish have evolved traits to help them survive the harsh conditions of winter. For starters, trout are poikilothermic, meaning they are cold-blooded and their body temperature changes with their environment. This means that they do not have to spend energy to maintain a certain body temperature, which is good because food availability is limited in the wintertime. Have you ever been catch-and-release fishing for westslope cutthoat trout at an alpine lake and found them highly “catchable”? Some people may think these fish are “dumb” for being easy to catch. In reality, these fish have evolved to take full advantage of what is typically a very short open water season in the mountains by eating as much as possible before a long winter with limited food availability. Seems pretty smart after all! Besides challenges with food availability, fishes’ ability to move from one habitat to another may also be limited because of the effects of ice or low flow conditions. In streams, where many of Alberta’s native trout live, habitat can be highly variable and, in the winter, ice can have a big influence. For example, there is a phenomenon known as “supercooling” when water cools below 0°C but remains liquid. Ice crystals can form into a suspected slush known as frazil ice that sticks to hard surfaces. When frazil ice sticks to the bottom of a shallow stream it becomes anchor ice and can form a temporary dam, resulting in flooding, which may force fish to move from one holding area to another. Generally, many fish will retreat to deep pools or areas with groundwater upwellings in the winter. Theses spaces provide some stability in terms of flow, temperature, and oxygen, helping fish to minimize their movements and energy expenditure. Smaller fish such as juvenile trout will often seek out cover between the spaces of coarse rock substrate and boulders. But it’s not just fish that have to make it through the long, dark winter. For fall spawning species like bull trout, their eggs remain protected within redds (trout nests in the gravels) all winter, emerging in the spring when temperatures warm. So what can you do to help our native trout get through the winter? Respect seasonal fishing closures that not only protect fish during a vulnerable time Keep wheels out of water to avoid trampling incubating eggs Participate in volunteer stream and riparian restoration projects improve the health, complexity, and connectivity of streams, ensuring fish have access to a wide variety of habitat types including overwintering pools Keep beavers on the landscape to maintain year-round water in what might otherwise be dry stream corridors; beaver ponds can also make excellent overwintering habitat When ice fishing, avoid letting fish be exposed to the air as much as possible and never place the fish directly on the ice or snow Visit Trout Unlimited Canada’s blog to learn more about lakes and rivers in winter and how fish survive. To learn more about how you can help stand up for native trout, visit www.albertanativetrout.com.
  4. Hello all. A few years back we enjoyed a few days on the North Saskatchewan above Abraham Lake west of Nordegg. The Friday was awesome, fish were caught. Saturday the snow came, we ventured out and enjoyed another great day, even with the 4 inches of white stuff. We stayed at the Nordegg Hi Hostel. It is a great facility, kitchen with all utensils are provided, just need to bring your own food. As for sleeping, they had shared rooms. No need to bring sleeping bags, they provided everything. We had 2 rooms, we had a lady join us and the guys tried not to snore more than her, so all was good!!! I am talking names , so if you would like to join us , contact me or Dick with outside programs.
  5. Congratulations to our " Club Executive Members " FlyRod .
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    No formal program. Everyone is welcome to join and show off their flies. Instructions for joining our ZOOM can be found at http://www.nlft.org/Zoom
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    Nicole Kimmel, Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist from Alberta Environment and Parks will talk about invasive species and focus on Donsdale & Cardiff ponds. This will be held in person at Queen Mary Park, and also on ZOOM. Instructions for joining our ZOOM can be found at http://www.nlft.org/Zoom
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    Lesley Peterson, the Alberta Provincial Biologist, from Trout Unlimited Canada will talk about Native Trout in the North Saskatchewan River drainage. The meeting will be held in person at Queen Mary Park Hall, and on ZOOM. Instructions for joining our ZOOM meeting can be found at http://www.nlft.org/Zoom
  9. Thanks to everyone who came to our AGM. Thanks to Barry White for serving as Membership Director for the past few years, and thanks to Michael Sambir for stepping forward to take his place.
  10. The workshop runs from 9 am to 4 pm. To register participants can contact Bob Vanderwater by e-mail: bob.vanderwater @ rdpsd.ab.ca or text Bob at (403-598-3802) All the tying materials are provided. The workshop will be held at the Reliance Learning Centre.
  11. Just posted by Fisheries is the link to the 2023-24 fisheries engagement sessions. https://www.alberta.ca/2023-24-sportfishing-regulations-engagement.aspx As in the past, you will need to register.
  12. Thanks to Bruce Tilbrook for a donation to our June fundraising dinner and auction. This shadow box of classic Atlantic salmon flies will be in the silent auction. Our event will be held Saturday June 3 at Kenilworth Hall. We are looking for donations now. Contact any member of the Executive to donate.
  13. RIP Dave. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. So sad to read this news. I worked at NAIT with Dave for many years. He introduced me to the club many years ago before we retired.
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    Stu Thompson, author of Tyed and True: 101 Fly Patterns Proven to Catch Fish, will present a tying session. In person at Queen Mary Park Hall 10844 117 Street in Edmonton Possibly on ZOOM, but we need to clear permission first.
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    Dr. Stephen Spencer, Senior Fisheries Biologist with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, will talk about Sturgeon in the North Saskatchewan River. This will be held live at Queen Mary Park Community Hall (10844-117 Street), and on ZOOM. All are welcome to attend. Instructions for joining our ZOOM can be found at http://www.nlft.org/Zoom
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    We hold ZOOM sessions to talk about tying and other topics on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. All are welcome to attend. Instructions for getting on our ZOOM are at http://www.nlft.org/ZOOM
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    ZOOM tying session. All are welcome to attend. Instructions for getting on our ZOOM are at http://www.nlft.org/ZOOM
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    Our every second week ZOOM session to break up the winter blahs. All are welcome to attend. Instructions for getting on our ZOOM are at http://www.nlft.org/ZOOM
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    Join us on ZOOM to show off your latest creations. All are welcome to attend. Instructions for getting on our ZOOM are at http://www.nlft.org/ZOOM
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    Michael Short from Let's Go Outdoors will join us in person to talk about his life as an outdoors reporter. He will tell us how he got started and some interesting things that he has done. Live at Queen Mary Park Hall, and also on ZOOM. Instructions for joining our ZOOM can be found at http://www.nlft.org/Zoom
  21. Wednesday, February 1, at 7:30 PM In person at Queen Mary Park Hall and on ZOOM. Michael Short from Let’s Go Outdoors will talk to us about his career as an outdoor journalist, share some stories, and tell us about his interesting experiences. Wednesday, February 8, at 7:30 PM Tie and Talk session on ZOOM Wednesday, February 15, at 7:30 PM In person at Queen Mary Park Hall and on Zoom. Dr. Stephen Spencer, Senior Fisheries Biologist with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, will talk about Sturgeon in the North Saskatchewan River. Wednesday February 22 at 7:30 Tie and Talk Session on ZOOM To join our Zoom session please see instructions at http://www.nlft.org/Zoom Everyone is welcome to attend.
  22. I am sorry to hear this. Evan was a generous person, sharing his knowledge and fly patterns with everyone. With his permission I tied his patterns The Annihilator and The Heart Attach at Northern Lights meetings.
  23. 'KeepFishWet' has reviewed some of the relevant science https://www.keepfishwet.org/keepemwet-news-1/2021/1/19/winter-fishing LESSONS FROM SCIENCE ON ICE FISHING There have been a handful of studies examining the impacts of ice fishing on fish. Despite the differences between ice fishing and, for instance, fly fishing in open water, there are some parallels we can draw, especially in regard to how fish react to angling at very cold-water temperatures. Two trends that stand out and one aspect that needs to be examined further are: 1) During winter, fish have a muted physiological stress response and mortality rates are generally lower. The stress response measured by examining blood concentrations of glucose, lactate, and cortisol (read here for more information) often decreases at lower water temperatures. By holding walleye in a pen, this study was able to show that all fish were still alive 24 hours after angling. This is good news for anglers — fish are less physiologically impacted by angling during the winter. 2) Although stress responses are often diminished at lower water temps, they can also be prolonged and/or delayed. A study on northern pike, found that it took 45 mins to 4 hours to see changes in blood chemistry following the angling event. As a comparison, in warmer water temperatures we often see these types of changes within minutes. During the winter, this means that fish may not incur the physiological impacts of angling until hours after they are released, and these impacts may last hours longer. We often say that just because you saw your fish swim away does not mean that it’s ok, and this is even more relevant at colder water temperatures. 3) While not specifically addressed, several of the studies also point out some of the potential impacts of air exposure during winter fishing. One study noted that fish showed signs of freezing damage to eyes and gills. Very cold air temperatures and windchills could cause damage even during brief air exposures. Recommendation: If the guides on your rod are freezing up, consider how delicate gill tissue might respond to air exposure. Just one more reason to Keep Fish Wet. Until we have some more conclusive science on the impacts of winter fishing at cold temperatures, it behooves us to employ the precautionary principle and extra careful when fishing during cold temperatures. Returning fish to the same lie where you hooked them, limiting fight time, using barbless hooks, and minimizing air exposure are all important actions that anglers can take to help create better outcomes for fish after release.
  24. I am sure some of you may know Evan...sadly he passed away Dec 11th; https://rdflytying.blogspot.com/2022/12/evan-ritchie-has-passed-away.html
  25. Sold several of my capes for crazy prices when this was still a huge fad a few years ago...
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