Stream Tender Magazine

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March 2018 Issue

Cochrane Community

Grant Program

VOLUNTEERS

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Planted Willows Growing Out and Over The Stream

Above: These planted willows on Bighill Creek are now starting to grow out and over the surface of the stream channel. They are already providing habitat for resident trout and at the same time the roots are stabilizing the stream banks. Future shade will help keep the water temperatures cool in the creek as well.

Articles by : Guy Woods and Contributors

The Jumpingpound Creek Strain of Rainbow Trout  -  What Does The Future Hold

    For all of the years that I have fished the Bow River between the Ghost Dam and Bearspaw Dam, there have been rainbow trout in the river. In recent years, the population of rainbow trout in this home stretch of the river has declined to the point of collapse. I am confident there are a multitude of reasons for this, but I would be interested in knowing what is on the top of the list.

    Some of the primary impacts to this fishery, in my own mind, are whirling disease, Ditty Moss outbreak on the river and loss of water in the Jumpingpound Creek, mainly to irrigation withdrawal.

    Years of over harvest of this unique wild trout species has also played a role, but now this is just a cause for bickering, not action. It seems to me that the Jumpingpound Creek and its trout fishery has been the helpless victim of a number of man-made dilemmas, with little or no action to remediate the situation.

    There have been a few successful spawning events in recent years, for the rainbow trout on the JP Creek, but unfortunately not enough numbers of trout have resulted, to replenish the once thriving population in the Bow River. I am worried about the future of the fishery.

    There have been plenty of studies on the watershed of the Jumpingpound Creek, but in recent years, little on the JP strain of the rainbow trout and what the status of the fishery is and what measures should be taken to help this important trout fishery. It is not yet too late to do this, but there first needs to be a little interest from our local fisheries managers.

    It would be a shame to loose the JP strain of rainbow trout, after it has survived by natural reproduction on this system for so many years. All this trout needs is a safe disease free habitat and enough water to provide a future.

Feathered Tent Wing Caddis Flies

Above: The feathered tent wing caddis dry fly has been around for many years, and it is preferred by some very experienced fly fishers as a perfect adult caddis imitation. The long slender wing profile is a great imitation of a newly emerged adult caddis, as it floats down the surface, drying its wings for flight. Two of the more popular patterns are the Henryville Special and the King’s River Caddis.

Lots More Deer  -  Here

Right Photo: This large mule deer buck was hanging around Bighill Creek this past fall. The rut had brought a few different bucks in close to town, during the mating season. It is nice to see more deer, here along the creek, in Cochrane.

    This is one of the many perks that you benefit from, with a healthy riparian habitat along the Bighill Creek. The stands of deciduous willows and trees are a perfect habitat for both mule deer and whitetail deer. There is plenty of browse for them to feed on.

Great News for Winchell Lake Rainbow Trout

Above: A nice Winchell Lake rainbow trout, caught thru the ice in early December 2013. For a number year’s now, local trout anglers have been hoping that some day an aeration system would be installed on the lake, to insure that annually stocked trout would have a chance to survive the winter months, in this small but productive lake. Now their hopes have been fulfilled with the installation of a new aeration system in 2015.

Winter Ducks on Bighill Creek

    There are a number of spots on the Bighill Creek where spring water up welling helps keep the stream ice free, thru much of the winter months. The local duck population likes this phenomenon and takes full advantage of it during most of the winter. Ducks don’t need much water to provide a place to kill time during the daylight hours, so any open water during the winter is a place where you will find them.

    For the common regular visitors to the Bighill Creek during the winter, this added bonus of wildlife viewing is very welcome. The ducks don’t seem to mind their photos being taken, as long as you don’t get too close. There is also remnant quantities of large sheath pond weed in the stream channel that the ducks can feed on.

 

Right Photo: This mallard drake was on an open piece of water near my home on Bighill Creek.

Lots of Native Willows and Trees for the 2018 BVRRE Program

    Every year it is a guessing game on how much support will come in from the partners in the program. These things take time to organize and in some cases you won’t know what the season has in store for you until late March, in some cases. This year, I knew early on in 2018 that it would be another banner year for the riparian planting program.

    Things started to happen early on in December of 2017, when Inter Pipeline insured that we would have approximately 4,800 native plants for the 2018 planting project year. Inter Pipeline has been a major partner in Bow Valley Habitat Development’s projects for a number of years, so this 2018 contribution was more great news to report.

    Early commitments are valuable in organizing an annual program; you can use these contributions as leverage for gaining more partners into the program. This makes the task of organizing a program year a lot easier for BVHD.

Inter Pipeline started the 2018 season’s partnership program off with a contribution of 4,800 native willows and trees. More plants followed when other partners committed to help out in the 2018 Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program. Another Great Year for creeks.

2018 Trout Hatch

Right Photo: This brook trout was photographed on January 16th on Millennium Creek. The brook trout was the first hatched trout from the 2017 fall spawn that I spotted this winter. A really good site to see for the new season.

    I suspect that we will see a good hatch this year, which means more trout for our area streams. The water flowed clear on many of the local streams this fall, which is good for incubation of the trout eggs.

2017 Native Willow and Tree Crop

    This past season, we planted over 9,000 native willow and tree plants along the stream banks of three local trout streams. I am happy to report that the plants are doing well and I expect a good survival rate thru the winter months.

    Many of those plants are now locked in the ice of the stream channel and they won’t be visible until ice break-up this spring.

    I inspected the plants right thru the entire summer and fall months and they were still growing slightly into the late fall. Both root and stem development continues to grow right until the frost enters the ground.

    The winter ice will help keep the plants protected during the cold winter months and they will be off to a good start by May of 2018.

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Millennium Creek Brook Trout Fry

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