Can You Help Rescue Our Fish? - IT BEGINS NOW!

Trout Unlimited Canada’s Alberta Fish Rescue

                       Trout Unlimited Canada has begun our annual
                  Fish Rescue from irrigation canals in southern Alberta!

Volunteers transport fish to be measured on shore

Throughout the summer, fish enter Alberta’s irrigation canals as water is diverted from rivers and reservoirs for irrigation and municipal use.  Most of the canals do not have any fish exclusion devices to prevent this from happening.  Once fish enter the canals, they are unable to return to their original systems.

In late fall, the canals are drained and can no longer support aquatic life.  With the help of hundreds of volunteers, Trout Unlimited Canada (with support from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development), captures thousands of fish and relocates them to functional waterbodies where they can carry out their life cycles.

Since the commencement of Trout Unlimited Canada’s fish salvages in 1996, over 800,000 fish have been rescued. The 2013 Fish Rescue resulted in the capture of 12,036 sportfish and 23,535 non-sportfish — a total of 35,571 fish were recovered from five irrigation canals in southern Alberta. 

Eight sport species and eleven non-sport species were captured at Women's Coulee Diversion (WCD), Western Headworks Canal (WHC), Carseland Bow River Headworks Canal (CBRHC), Waterton-Belly Diversion (WBD) and Lethbridge Northern Headworks Canal (LNHC). This year we will also include the Mountain View Leavitt Aetna Headworks Canal (MVLAHC).

 In addition to the actual fish salvage, valuable data is collected on the species, size composition, and abundance of entrained fish. The Fish Rescue is also an excellent educational opportunity for adults and children.  Volunteers are given the opportunity to learn about fish identification, handling, life history, and conservation.

Adult volunteers equipped with chest waders may also have the chance to assist the electrofishing crew by dip-netting or transporting fish out of the canal.

If you are interested in participating, we are still looking for volunteers to help us with the Lethbridge Northern Headworks Canal Rescue in the Granum/Fort Macleod area taking place October 15, 16, and 17. 

Please contact Elliot Lindsay  or Lesley Peterson

For a full description of the Trout Unlimited Fish Rescue and detailed results, please visit our website at

Lesley Peterson (P.Biol.)  Provincial Biologist   Trout Unlimited Canada
#160, 6712 Fisher St. SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2H 2A7
O/ 1-800-909-6040   D/ 403-209-5185   C/ 403-875-3264   F/ 403-221-8368  

To Conserve, Protect and Restore Canada’s Freshwater Ecosystems
and Their Coldwater Resources for Current and Future Generations.