Alix village council will consider stocking their namesake water body with fish after a detailed presentation at the Jan. 18 regular meeting of council.
Councillors heard a presentation from the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) about the feasibility of stocking Alix Lake with fish; ACA representatives included Ken Kanrod, Diana Rung, Scott Seward, Layne Seward and Jalen Hulit.
A recording of the council meeting was provided to the ECA Review.
The presenters stated that Alix Lake would require some work and effort to improve the water level and predation situation, but if those factors could be addressed then, yes, it was the ACA’s opinion that a viable fish population could be supported there.
The ACA speakers noted that they felt yellow perch would be an appropriate species of fish to encourage in Alix Lake. It was stated that yellow perch are adept at evading predators. In fact the ACA speakers stated they’ve been in favour of promoting yellow perch across the province but their efforts to encourage the Alberta government to embrace this approach haven’t borne any fruit.
The ACA speakers noted that Alberta waterbodies tend to be shallow and Alix Lake doesn’t appear to be any different. It was stated the lake has an inflow and an outflow and is typically three metres deep.
The lake was stocked by the provincial government in the past but that ceased in 1998, although the ACA wasn’t sure why. However, the speakers suspected winter kill could have been a cause.
After stocking ceased, the lake was tested for fish some years later and while no trout were found it was discovered some yellow perch made their way into Alix Lake.
The ACA speakers stated that if Alix Lake’s depth was increased to 3.5 or four metres that would provide a suitable environment for yellow perch to live. During discussion it was noted dredging the bottom of the lake to increase it’s depth was an option although Alberta Environment and other government agencies have authority over that.
They noted the other major factor to address would be predation. The speakers noted that if Alix Lake had a yellow perch population, cormorants would arrive to prey on them.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White pointed out Alix Lake has a substantial hiking trail around its edge which should have an effect on limiting cormorants.
The ACA speakers noted that it’s possible if Alix Lake’s depth is increased and predation kept to a minimum it’s possible yellow perch won’t have to be stocked but rather the population could grow all by itself.
The ACA speakers also noted the organization is not in charge of stocking lakes with fish, that’s the Alberta government’s job; the ACA is just offering advice and assistance to communities like Alix.
The ACA guests also spoke briefly about pheasant releases, noting that the area around Alix is one of the more popular areas for the activity. They stated the Alix region is ideal for pheasant release because of its size and diversity.
The guests pointed out it’s possible to promote pheasant releases in Alix area but would require some partnerships as, “…pheasants are expensive.”
The Stettler Pheasant Festival was mentioned, with the ACA speakers pointing out they helped out Stettler folks when the festival began a few years ago but that event is run entirely out of Stettler now.
In a phone interview Jan. 23 Alix Mayor Rob Fehr stated the ACA presentation was food for thought but wasn’t something that can be accomplished quickly.
“It’s not going to be a quick fix,” said Fehr.
The mayor stated it’s obvious the lake requires some work before it could support a fish population big enough to attract anglers. He liked the idea of an angler’s lake that would attract people to Alix to discover even more of the region’s “hidden gems.”
Fehr also stated that he liked the idea of promoting pheasant releases but that idea would also have to be looked into to ensure its has no negative impact on local landowners.
The mayor stated village staff will look into the viability of improving Alix Lake for fishing along with promoting pheasant releases with the proviso that changes would have positive results for Alix and its region. A report will be made at a future council meeting.
“It does seem very positive and we are going to explore these options,” added Fehr.
By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Jan 26, 2023
This item reprinted with permission from East Central Alberta Review Coronation, Alberta