“ A Major Trout Stream Enhancement Project! “

Above: A photo of two rock v-weir pools constructed on Canmore Creek in 1997. Photo taken in 1999.

Canmore Creek Project — Phase One and Phase Two, 1997—1998

    Over a two years period, Canmore Creek underwent a major fish habitat enhancement make over! The small stream is located in the Town of Canmore, Alberta and it is a small tributary to the Bow River. At its headwaters, there is a seep collection gallery and culvert below the Rundle Canal that provides a consistent annual flow in the creek. The Rundle Canal is part of a hydro generating operation in the Town that diverts a large volume of water from the Spray Lakes down to a power facility in Canmore.

    With not much of a watershed for Canmore Creek, there is limited annual run-off that would normally scour the streambed and create pool habitats for the resident brook trout. As part of an attempt to re-establish native cutthroat trout on the stream, BVHD completed a fish habitat enhancement program on the entire reach of the system. The project was funded by TransAlta Utilities Corporation, over a three year time frame. It was hoped that the newly created fish habitat on the small stream would facilitate the survival of a planned re-introduction of the cutthroat trout.

    The enhancement program would involve the construction of pool habitats, deflectors, bank reclamation and the creation of spawning habitats on the lower reach of the creek. In total, 170 enhancement structures were built, 54 of which were rock and log v-weirs. For spawning trout, 14 cubic metres of spawning gravel of spread over key spawning habitats on the lower reach of the creek. Finally, numerous rock and boulder placements were created in the creek for both trout and the invertebrate populations that would use them.

    It was very rewarding to discover that large numbers of brown trout, from the Bow River, utilized the spawning habitats in the fall of 1998, just a month after the project was completed. A spawning survey was conducted on the lower reach of the stream in that fall, of 1998. Based on previous spawning survey records for the lower end of the creek, by brown trout from the Bow River, we had increased the fall spawning activity by 96% on Canmore Creek. Mature brook trout spawning was also substantial that spawning season!

    BVHD monitored the stream over the years since the habitat was created on Canmore Creek. I am please to report that all of the structures are still intact and apart from some tampering by local residents whom seem intent on leaving their mark, the project has been a major success. As is the case with all fish habitat enhancement work, mother nature has the final brush strokes and riparian growth has shown this!


Photos to the Left:

    These rock and log v-weirs were built in 1997 and these photos were taken in the summer of 2008. You can see that the moss and shoreline cover has made it difficult to tell whether they were man-made or they are natural. This is what we had all hoped for!

Above Photo:

    These two brook trout were utilizing a spawning habitat created on the lower reach of Canmore Creek, in the fall of 1998. The large trout were suspected of being resident fish from that area of the stream.

Above Photo:

    On the steep reaches of the creek, a series of rock deflectors were used.

Opposing Rock Deflectors

    A perfect design for stepping down a steep section of stream, is the opposing rock deflector placement! Just like a fish ladder on a hydro dam, by breaking the fast cascade of water flowing down a chute of high gradient stream, trout are able to migrate upstream.

    The small pool habitats created below each of these rock deflectors allows trout to pause and rest, before they continue their journey. In some cases, trout will adopt these small pool habitats for holding and feeding opportunities.

    The structures are very easy to build for a worthwhile benefit. On Canmore Creek, there were enough available boulders in and along the banks of the stream, to provide the needed material. The large boulders that were used for the key rocks, were bedded into both the stream bank and the streambed to insure stability.

    Small chunks of moss from the surrounding area, were placed in the gaps between the rocks and the bank, during construction. In 2008, when the photo to the left was taken, the opposing deflectors were still intact and the moss had hidden most of the previously exposed rock, from when the project was completed.

    The pools below the deflectors have deepened over the years!

There are two chapters dedicated to the Canmore Creek Project story in a new book titled


 “Fly Fishing and Other Stuff”


 written by the

author Guy Woods


Click Here for more information!

Canmore Creek Project

“ Of the 170 Fish Habitat Enhancement Structures that were built on Canmore Creek in 1997 and 1998, all of them were still intact in the summer of 2008!”

For more on pool habitats:

Click Here!

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