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Muir Lake Spawning Channel - Info


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For those unfamiliar with the concept of spawning channels - here's a little run-down.

 

The concept is simple. Produce a running water area (preferably with cool, clean water, and a clean - gravel bottom) that empties into a basin containing a salmonid population. Flow rates needn't be in the millions of gallons - just enough to provide a 3-5 foot width, 10-12 inches deep that can be oxygenated by water movement alone.

 

The channel will provide a means for egg/milt laden salmonids to follow their instinct to swim upstream and lay their eggs - thereby naturally completing the reproductive cycle.

 

The reduced stress, and ability to perform natural functions should in theory at the very least - produce healthier and more active populations of stocked trout. (Done well - one might even see fry - but that's an awfully long shot...)

 

the lack of an inlet of running water with a gravel bed for the trout to spawn in during the spring creates a condition called “spawn-bound.” This condition decreases the capacity of the trout to grow to a larger size and possibly lead to early mortality. To spawn, rainbow trout require stream flow, cover, substrate (gravel bed), oxygen, the correct water temperature, water clarity, and food. The artificial spawning channel was developed to try to provide these requirements and try to reduce the negative effects on the “spawn-bound” trout.

 

 

 

The information here has been gleaned (AKA Stolen) from the following sites with nothing but the best of intentions.... :) Interesting reading - in that the montana site was able to generate actual spawn - not just reduce the spawn-binding issue...

 

 

http://www.nprg.ca/programs/inga.html

http://wildfish.montana.edu/Cases/browse_d...sp?ProjectID=24

http://www.uppersevier.net/resource/johnsval/pinelfsh.html

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Sounds like a great idea!

Several issues will have to be addressed though.

Length/ size - large enough to accomodate the # of expected spawners

Location - where relative to parking and dock

who's property will it be built on

Protection - no fishing zone around discharge into lake

how to keep poachers and birds out (very vulnerable fish)

how to prevent petty vandalism

Screening of intake - I'm presuming recirculated lake water

have to keep intake from clogging

Monitoring and maintenance - flow failure could kill large numbers of fish.

may need several refuge pools and weirs

All these are solveable, but need lots of attention.

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Up north where I used to lurk and fish, there is a lake about Muir size, that was stocked and aereated by using a wind generated impeller. The lake produced Rainbows and Brookies well up to and over 5lbs. But there were of course many egg bound females.

One afternoon, my partner and I discovered a local oil production company dumping produced saltwater via an ancient drain line from their plant, into the lake. The outcome of this was that instead of a fine, the company built a spawning channel for the fish.

A high wooden fence was placed along both sides and across the top end and chicken wire was put over the top, over wooden poles to support it. Two marking buoys were placed out where the "No Fishing" zone was and there was a volunteer manning it as often as possible. The volunteer was there to answer questions, help out with school tours as an information giver. The person(s) manning the site got to pass on good information not only to the general public, but also to the school kids, the up and coming fishers and the conscience of their parents.....this could be an opportunity?

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The idea of the spawning channel is still being looked at. With the help of Brian Chan, we know how to build one and the answer to the question of should we build one is yes (as stated great education tool and will relieve stress on the trout). The only question remaining is can we afford to build one. That's where we are now. I'm not aware of any other spawning channels in Alberta but there may be some around just not on provincially stocked fisheries. At least no Gov't biologists have fessed up to knowing about one. The fish truck will still be by every spring regardless of the spawning channel (that's not it's purpose as self reproduction would not work here, we need to know how many fish are being stocked each year to keep Muir successful).

 

The construction of a spawning channel will require excavation with a backhoe to dig out the channel. The channel must be two hundred feet long and made in an "S" shape. There must be a minimum 2-degree slope from water to top of channel and water would be pumped from the center of lake to the top of the channel with the use of a pump (pump house would need to be built). The channel would have to be covered to stop predators and vandalism and the mouth of the channel would have to be a no fish zone with lots of sheltering debris (to give the trout a place to hide and to make it tough to throw a line in the water there).

 

The channel would be turned on for about a month to a month and a half. We would turn it on as soon as we have an ice-free lake and leave it on until we feel it's necessary to turn it off. We feel there are just to many people that may take advantage of this situation so running the channel for more than a month could do more harm than good (but that's just us being cautious). Estimated cost for this channel without any donations is around $25,000. Of course that's just an estimate as we are currently looking into what costs of material and labor are to complete this channel. And we will be going after sponsors to help with these costs.

 

 

I hope helps a bit.

 

Cheers :cheers:

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I hope helps a bit.

 

Cheers :cheers:

Say, with the timing of such a project.. can some 2005 Centinial Funds be acquired somehow? Celebrate our fishing heritage through this project? Elaborate with displays of angling in Alberta over the past 100 years along the path?

Not sure, that would be a question to ask Tim D. He would know better than I about Gov't grants and such.

 

Cheers :cheers:

Edited by Doc
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As Lance says I'm going to be a bit if a devils advocate. Don't get me wrong I think the canal could be a great thing "but". Maybe there is better places to put the 25thousand +. It was stated there is no chanal to date in Alberta and the trout lakes seem to be doing just fine. lakes in mind are Swan (huge fish) Beaver(getting bigger) and to a lesser extent Dollar(getting fished out) & Dolberg. (some nice fish). Another thing is we're having problems with parking as it is, with this added pressure to me would be causing more parking problems. There could now be a bigger Liaibility exposure also as now you will be having school tours coming out. The next thing is if the pump ever broke down we could lose a lot of fish because the canal would instantly dry up.

 

These are only a few things to consider. Maybe we should have a general meeting of all members of all the clubs to brain storm the project.

 

Just a thought

Dennis S.

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I also agree that the spawning channel would be great, and I also agree with Dennis. Perhaps instead of a spawning channel at Muir, we could create another 'trophy' trout lake with the $25k.

 

My two cents.

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Another lake is already being looked at. The cost for another lake is minimal, buy aerators and run power. Now with the spawning channel, $25,000 would be the cost with no help at all. I've already talked to some that may be willing to provide labor, a backhoe and a water pump (that would bring the costs way down). As well we would be looking for other sponsors regarding gravel, etc. We do have some good lakes that are producing well, not 20 mins from Edmonton though. Just imagine how good Muir or any of the other lakes you mentioned would be if we could stop most mortality due to egg absorption stress. As far as school tours... YES, isn't that exactly what we want? To educate our young regarding conservation of our resources? I would hope there would be school children every day it was open. Education is so important especially in a province with only 1000 fisheries to share amongst 300,000 anglers. The parking lot will be expanded this year courtesy of Parkland County and should be building a casting platform for us as well (cross your fingers). The spawning channel will be prepared for power outage with several seven to eight foot holes for the trout to survive until power is back up and running. We've discussed the positives and negatives about a channel and the only thing standing in our way are dollar signs. That's where we are now, is it feasible or not? I think it is.

 

Cheers :cheers:

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I'm with Doc.

One thing to remember about fund raising

is that what you raise for one purpose,

may not be possible to raise for another.

You might find donors for a spawning channel

that won't pony up for another lake, and vice versa.

So I don't see the spawning channel and another lake as mutually exclusive

or worry that one project might drain funds from the other.

 

It sound to me like Doc and friends have thought through the channel

and all the potential problems and contingencies pretty well

I say Go For It.

Edited by dave robinson
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Doc I agree about having tours and the education :clap::clap: god only know we need the eduction :eek::eek: to keep our fishing stocks healthy :fish_jump::thumbup: . I'm just stating that we could be exposing ourselves to a wider range of liability. As it is there is some discussion on the airators and their saftey if someone got to close even with the fences. Whose insurance is going to cover us because it will be all the clubs responsiblity.

 

Again just being Devils :devil: advocate. Just some concerns I have.

 

Doc again I feel that maybe there should be a big general meeting with all clubs envolved so we have a better understanding of whats happening and what FASA(possible spelling) is all about and who gives the actual go ahead with these projects. I will be honest I have been approached by several club members with some of the same concerns.

 

Tight Lines Always

Dennis S.

NLFT&F

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Dennis;

I'm not sure a big meeting is necessary.

It wouldn't hurt though, to have our representataives to FESA

give us a more or less formal update on what's going on and solicit feedback.

That was suggested last meeting.

Any issues our club members have we can send to FESA with our rep.

 

Another caution.

Lets not start treating money donated or raised for FESA as if it were "our" money.

It belongs to FESA, or more importantly to the purposes for which it was raised.

Yes we have a voice because we helped raise the funds

and the way it's structured, I think all NLFT members are also members of FESA.

But remember we have three other partners in this effort.

Cooperation and consensus should be the order of the day.

 

As to liability issues:

I'm not a lawyer, but some common sense prevails.

Any idiot who walks past warning signs on what is clearly thin ice

will have trouble convincing a judge NLFT&F or FESA is at fault.

If a law suit does come about becasue of an incident a Muir

regardless of the cause or who might be at fault

you know the lawyers are going to use the shotgun approach

and sue everybody in sight.

As long as we demonstrate due dilligence and don't do anything negligent,

the lawyers will usually look for the deepest pockets.

Our pockets are pretty shallow and empty.

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I'm just stating that we could be  exposing ourselves to a wider range of  liability.  As it is there is some discussion on the airators and their saftey if someone got to close even with the fences.  Whose insurance is going to cover us because it will be all the clubs responsiblity. 

 

Again just being Devils  :devil: advocate. Just some concerns I have.

 

Doc again I feel that maybe there should be a big general meeting with all clubs envolved so we have a better understanding of whats happening and what FASA(possible spelling) is all about and who gives the actual go ahead with these projects.  I will be honest I have been approached by several club members with some of the same concerns. 

 

Tight Lines Always

Dennis S.

NLFT&F

As far as the aerators, we are already covered with insurance under the AFG membership, so that's not a problem. A general meeting is a great idea. But not until we can determine what the costs will be so that we may give the proper information, which as I said before is where we are at now. Out of curiosity, what was discussed at the meeting tonight?

 

Cheers :cheers:

Edited by Doc
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Doc as for the meeting nothing came up but it is coming in the near future. I was advised last night that it will be. I talked to mike dell last night and have a clearer grasp on the situation. I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with it or not(this is only my opion). I think we as the Northern Lights need to discuss and come up with a game plan. I think also FASA needs to approach the club and maybe draw out a long term plan so we have an idea whats happening.

 

Tight Lines Always

Dennis S. :fishing::fish_jump:

Save a Worm use a Fly

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First I would like to thank Mike for taking on the spawning channel portion of the project. We (FESA) had budgeted $5421 for a spawning channel in 2004 and this amount is fully-funded. Mike's proposal is built on discussions with Brian Chan and successfull spawning channels that Brian has built in BC. It was not very long ago that people thought it was impossible (or crazy) to create an aerated trout lake with an Education Centre and a Walk of Fame, but the whole thing came in on time and under budget.

 

The 25k number is a worst-case-scenario and already people are coming forward with offers of assistance, so the whole thing will probably come well under the WCS. Hell we might even get it for 5k. But I digress, what we have to think of is the value of the channel - not just the cost.

 

Just as an update, the County of Parkland is going to perform some site improvements at Muir Lake this summer. They will redesign and expand the parking lot, and improve the barricades and other vehicle-control devices. The county has also agreed to put up a floating casting platform in partnership with the Canadian Sportsmen's Shows. There will be a relaxation of the no parking in the ditches and on the road regulations during construction but they plan to fully enforce them after the lot is complete (late May - mid June).

 

Regards,

Tim

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I've talked to the TUC Edmonton Dinner committee, and they thought that the spawning channel was an excellent idea. So we have support there.

 

Next I'm going to talk to the new CEO of TUC and tell him this is what we want to do.

 

Once we clear the money hurdle, the other hurdles are:

 

Parkland County

permits from Water Resources Branch

approval from the local biologist

approval from Fisheries Management Branch

regulation change

design work

construction window (possibly only winter because of mud)

 

But I want to have the funding in place first.

 

Michael

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Just a few comments in general re spawning channels : There was one operational one I know of at Two Lakes about 100kms south of Grande Prairie. It was used by Cutthroat at the time but I don't know if it is still in operation. You should contact the Grande Prairie or Peace River F&Wpeople ie Dave Walty for this. Your stocking program should use fish that have not been sterilized as most stock are now. The channel has to be in operation through spawning, incubation & some rearing to be successful. It has to be planned to include cleaning of the spawning material annually. I would talk to a knowledgeable biologist fairly early before commiting too much. Norm.

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Norm,

 

Thanks. I've talked to Jim O'Neil about the idea and he thinks it is feasible.

 

I met Bob Neufeld at the last Bighorn dinner and he talked about the channel at Two Lakes. I think he said it is still operational. But in that case they build the spawning channel in an existing streambed between the two lakes.

 

I don't know whether we have sterilized fish or not. That's clearly an important consideration that we have to follow up on.

 

Take care.

 

Michael

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Just to update everyone on the spawning channel. I got an e-mail from Craig Copeland (manager of the Cold Lake Hatchery) and he related to me that they may be looking at sterile trout (Triploids). Tim D got in touch with SRD and they told Tim that our gov't is currently watching the BC gov't regarding sterile trout and may have plans in the future to stock Alberta's lakes with Triploids. This is not a guarantee by any means but because of this we have decided to shelve the spawning channel until we have confirmation whether Triploids will be a part of Alberta's future or not. Sterile trout will not produce eggs and will have no urge to move into a spawning channel.

 

Cheers :cheers:

Doc

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  • 2 years later...

Just going through some older posts and found this neat topic.

 

Is there any future plans to revisit a spawning channel or stocking of triploids.

 

I found lots of neat projects where lakes built spawning channels, and would be a very neat addition to Muir if it could happen.

 

See ya

Adam

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