The rainbow trout population in Chatwin Lake has recently been restocked to provide local enthusiasts with more opportunities to get out of the house.
The process began in June with the introduction of 8000 female trouts, each measuring around 20 centimetres long, and four months later the fish have doubled in size.
“That’s an incredible summer growth rate,” says Dominic Primo, an employee of the Sam Livingston fish hatchery out of Calgary.
Two fishers were out this week seeing how the trout faired during the summer months.
Craig Copeland, acting within his role at the Cold Lake fish hatchery, ordered the stocking in order to test its ability to retain and support a population of trout unassisted.
It’s the first Chatwin’s seen in 15 years.
The trouts booming growth can be attributed to two main factors — the lack of any serious competition trouts face within Chatwin’s ecosystem, and the abundance of food within the lake included in their regular diet, including water beetles, insect larva, and freshwater shrimp, which is a favourite of rainbow trout.
“We’re finding that when we pull them out to check on them their stomachs are all full,” says Primo. “And that’s something we’re seeing is staying consistent all over the lake.”
The trout’s numbers are also looking to remain stable. Although she was unable to give a concrete number on how many fish were in the water right now, Primo says she’s had no trouble finding collecting data in the time she’s been on the lake.
“We’ve been pulling out a ton of them. We’re comfortable in encouraging anglers to come out and cast some lines, ice fishers too once old man winter shows up.”
The lake’s oxygen levels will continue to be monitored throughout the upcoming winter in order to ensure a “winter kill” is avoided, something that’s been an issue for Chatwin in the past.
A winter kill can occur when there is insufficient oxygen in a frozen body of water due to underwater plant life dying away in during the cold.