Assessing Fish Populations in the Kakwa Watershed

Field workers at Kakwa camp standing in a row smiling, on green grass with a small lake in the background

L–R: Brennan Romaniuk, Val Powell, Erin Cawthorn, Amelia Corrigan, Neil Mochnacz, Matt Teillet, Tyana Rudolfsen, and Ben Kissinger

Water and Fish Program Lead Dr. Benjamin Kissinger was out sampling streams in the Kakwa River watershed in collaboration with Dr. Neil Mochnacz and crew members from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Over four intense days, the team managed to sample 43 sites between Grande Prairie and Grande Cache.

This is the start of a multi-year project that will examine how different land-use activities have affected fish populations over the last 20 years. It will also determine the best way to sample fish populations to assess long-term trends.

Approximate sampling region.
Amelia in front of some of the obstacles faced while sampling rivers in the Kakwa watershed while wearing a backpack electrofisher.
Ben in a small stream surrounded by willows. Yes there is water here, yes bull trout live in streams this small, and yes we did catch a bull trout at this site!
Ben measuring fish at the end of a site transect.
Bull trout.
Erin pointing at a small bull trout hiding in the rocks.
Val measuring a bull trout.