Outdoor Pursuits

with Rob Miskosky

From the Editor - May 2024

Alberta anglers could have the opportunity to catch-and-keep more walleye and pike.

It was with great surprise that the Government of Alberta announced the 2024 Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations would require more time for discussion and consultation before they could be approved, printed, and distributed around the province.

“The department is in the process of developing the 2024 fishing regulations which requires careful consideration, feedback and understanding. We are currently assessing all information and more time is necessary to ensure that we get it right. As a result, the 2024-25 sportfishing regulations will be published later than usual.

In the meantime, the 2023 regulations will apply.

All anglers must continue following those (2023) regulations until the new regulations are published for the 2024-25 angling season.”

Some anglers on outdoorsforum.ca felt the delay was because of drought conditions facing the province, which is a concern for many of our rivers and streams and the fish within them, but the actual reason they have been delayed is due to decisions being made on walleye and pike retention limits on several lakes across the province. Minister Todd Loewen feels it is time to allow the catch-and-keep of pike and walleye in many lakes that “have been underutilized in the last 30 years” and most anglers would agree with him. It is believed within the angling community that the reason many of our lakes are full of stunted walleye and pike is because of too many walleye and pike and too few forage fish. Using Wabamun Lake as an example, it is easy to fill your boat with under 43 centimetre walleye; yet, unlike several years ago, it is difficult to catch a few lake whitefish for the smoker.

On page 16 of this issue, Brad Fenson has a Q&A with Minister Loewen where the minister shares his thoughts on fishing and hunting in Alberta—it’s definitely worth the read. Minister Loewen appears to be exactly what Alberta’s hunters and anglers need when it comes to our outdoor pursuits.

I have been involved with the production of Alberta’s sportfishing regulations for several years now and this is the first time they have been delayed to this extent. As I write this (April 15), there still hasn’t been word on whether or not we can proceed with printing. It appears the delay is ongoing due to discussions with First Nations and, according to Minister Loewen, “...pending that outcome, changes will be made as we enter into the new fishing season.”

If those discussions go well, Alberta anglers will be able to look forward to keeping the odd walleye or pike for the dinner table from lakes where they previously couldn’t.

Wildfire Season
“As we approach the wildfire season, it is important to understand that 67% of wildfires in Alberta are started by people. If you start a wildfire, you can be charged, fined, and held liable for all costs associated with fighting the wildfire.” – Premier Danielle Smith.

Known as the “spring dip”—a time when trees and grasses suck as much moisture out of the ground as they can before green-up—folks need to pay special attention to their outdoor activities and where fire bans have been initiated. And if you smoke, properly dispose of your cigarette butts. You can find out more information at albertafirebans.ca. 

For the previous Outdoor Pursuits article, click here.