Great Trout Hatch on Ranch House Spring Creek 2017

This Year’s Trout Fry Emergence on RHS Creek Has Started

After a lot of volunteer time spent prior to the 2016 fall spawn on Ranch House Spring Creek, the reward of witnessing a successful emergence of new brook trout for the system is very gratifying. It all began in the last week of March of 2017 when the first few trout were spotted along the stream. By the first week of April, many more young brook trout were appearing in lateral margins, both in and downstream of spawning beds.

Last fall a record number of egg nests or redds were mapped during the fall spawning season. A total of 32 redds was the largest number documented since the 2010 RHS Creek Project was completed. In 2010, a small waterfall was removed and a section of steep gradient was stepped down, using opposing rock deflectors. The successful completion of this project made the middle portion of the stream accessible for spawning trout. The gravel spawning habitat was already there and ready to be utilized.

The first spawning survey conducted in 2013 showed a total of 16 brook trout redds, now we are at double the number. This means more trout for the Bighill Creek system. The benefits of having three spring fed tributaries on the Bighill Creek that provide successful hatches of new trout annually, is of major importance to the streams trout recovery program. The only spawning tributary that is vulnerable is RHS Creek, due to a storm drain inflow that can whip out a year’s spawned eggs, if we get a late fall run-off event from the development that feeds the storm drain.

IMG_5730 cropped small fileAbove: These two brook trout fry were observed in RHS Creek on April 3rd, of 2017.

Bow Valley Habitat Development will continue its annual maintenance program on Ranch House Spring Creek, to insure that the spawning brook trout have free passage up to the spawning grounds.

About Guy Woods

I am Director of Bow Valley Habitat Development, based in the Town of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. I love to fly fish and it is this past time that prompted me to get involved in the field of riparian and fish habitat enhancement. I have been working in this pursuit for over 30 years!
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