Another Cold Winter Day

The New Year is starting to provide us with lots of really cold weather. It is a good time to dress warm and get outdoors. Maybe just on the sunny days, when there is no wind.

Having nature and a small trout stream, right down the block, it is easy to escape the walls of home for a brief walk. There are always deer or signs of their presence, crisscrossing the trail. I feel lucky to have such a retreat so close to my house. It would be too bad to have to travel some distance to find a little bit of nature. Fortunately, the City of Calgary, also has some waterways that also provide some nature reserve along their course. It is important to have access to some nature in our lives, it is like having your spirits lifted by a bit of this earth, and its natural environments.

Our willow plants are frozen into the creek ice, as the early light casts long shadows. Mink will use these small openings in the ice to go fishing. I have witnessed this happen on the Bighill Creek. The wild trout under the ice, are in slow motion, due to the cold water, so they make an easy target for a hungry winter mink. The mink will also take any other fish that are available, such as sucker fish.

One of the highlights of my winter experience is to monitor the trout hatch on some of our spring creeks where brook trout spawn, hatch and emerge in the winter months. A few photos are usually part of the program, so this may happen soon. Tiny trout can appear as early as January and as late as April and May. The hatch on the main stem of the Bighill Creek happens late in the spring, usually May. This was revealed in the 1999 Bighill Creek Fisheries Study, which is listed in the main menu at the top of this page.

This tiny trout was captured during the 1999 fisheries study on the lower reach of Bighill Creek. The trout was caught on May 23rd, shortly after it had emerged from the spawning beds on the main stem of the creek. The trout measured 22 mm. You can see that the Parr marks are just starting to form on the sides of the trout. Parr marks are dark round or oblong spots that are present on the sides of young trout, mainly in their early years of life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *