Sturgeon closed to fishing
Spawning season brings annual closure
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 06:00 am
Local anglers should keep their lines out of the Sturgeon River this week unless they want to risk steep fines for poaching, say city officials.
City strategic services director Leah Kongsrude put out a reminder this week that fishing in the Sturgeon River and most of its lakes and tributaries is banned between April 1 and May 14.
The reminder comes after many local river watchers sent reports to city officials of people fishing in the Sturgeon River in St. Albert in recent weeks.
The anglers have been out ever since the ice thawed, said river watcher Elke Blodgett. Since there’s a ban in place, these people were fishing illegally.
This problem happens year after year, Blodgett said. Many of these anglers appear to be either ignorant of provincial regulations or deliberately disobeying them, she said.
“There are poachers everywhere along the Sturgeon River,” she said.
The Sturgeon River and the lakes and tributaries along it (including Lac Ste. Anne and Matchayaw (Devils) Lake, Lake Isle and Big Lake) are closed to all sport-fishing between April 1 and May 14, reports the Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations.
The exception is the extreme east end of the Sturgeon between Secondary Road 825 and the North Saskatchewan River, which is open year round.
Licensed anglers can fish in these regions for the rest of the year, but have specific limits on what they can keep. You can’t keep any walleye or lake sturgeon, for example, and you can only take 15 perch from the Sturgeon River itself.
Anyone who fishes in a region that is closed to fishing can be ticketed up to $200, reports Alberta Fish and Wildlife biologist Owen Watkins. That can become a $50,000 fine if the offence goes before a provincial court.
This closure is meant to protect fish such as the northern pike during spawning season, Kongsrude said.
“If we want to have continued fish populations, we need to really respect this spawning time.”
Anglers can fish anytime of the year at Lacombe Lake, Kongsrude noted.
Anyone who spots someone fishing in the Sturgeon between now and May 14 should call the Report A Poacher hotline at 1-800-642-3800.
Details on fishing regulations can be found at mywildalberta.com.