The Stettler area has a couple of interesting and beautiful water bodies where people like to fish including the Red Deer River, Battle River, Forestburg Reservoir, Dried Meat Lake and the Buffalo Lake.
However, according to Stettler District Fish and Wildlife Officer, Scott Kallweit, people need to be mindful of the rules and regulations.
“One of my responsibilities as a Fish and Wildlife officer is to do angler compliance checks on Buffalo Lake to ensure that anglers have fishing licences, for those individuals over 16 years of age and under 65,” said Kallweit. “Anglers also need to follow the other general sport-fishing regulations like size limits, fishing equipment restrictions and fish-handling regulations.”
Besides, there are other liquor and boating acts and regulations that anglers need to follow.
”Buffalo Lake is by far the most popular lake because it is so close and it’s a big lake that can accommodate a whole bunch of different activities like fishing and ski boat water sports,” Kallweit commented. “The main fish in Buffalo Lake are Northern Pike and Burbot (Ling cod) and there have been anglers that have reported catching Walleye.”
The lake is open to fishing from May 15, 2017 to March 31, 2018 for fishing. Many anglers fish the lake from boat, but there are a couple spots that they can fish and successfully catch, from shore including: Rochon Sands Provincial Park, The Narrows, and Old MacDonald’s campground.
According to Kallweit, Buffalo Lake is a unique lake in regards to the regulations around it. There is a section of the lake located on the west end that is known as “The Narrows.” The local fisheries biologists have determined that to maintain the sustainability of the Northern Pike fish population in the lake the section known as The Narrows should be regulated as “catch and release.”
“The Narrows is extremely important to Northern Pike in the lake because it is where they go to spawn every spring,” Kallweit added. “This means that anglers fishing in any section of the lake located in T40-R22-W4 must release all Northern Pike caught even if they measure over 63 cm.”
Anglers are permitted to keep three Northern Pike that measure more than 63 cm in length.
“Every year I receive complaints of people catching and retaining fish inside the closure and in many cases it is because people have not taken the time to read the regulations and in some rare cases, people know and simply don’t care,” Kallweit explained. “An important part of the catch and release fishing is proper fish-handling techniques. One thing anglers can do to ensure the survival of fish that have to be released includes – fishing with barbed hooks, using a net to land fish, and keep the fish in the water as long as possible, removing it only to take a quick photo and remove the hook.”