In the Spotlight

Fishing in Alberta: An Angler’s Paradise

September, 2017

Photography by Brenda Lakeman
Words by Robert Michon

Despite being landlocked, Alberta has a lot to offer when it comes to sport fishing. There are over 600 freshwater lakes in this province and about 250 rivers, each with its own unique joys and challenges for anglers. And these days, there’s a lot more to a fishing trip than spending long days alone with your thoughts. It can also be the perfect reason to travel this beautiful province of ours, making memories with friends and family and learning new skills as you go. And, of course, few things are more satisfying than catching your own dinner. Thanks to the help of the Internet, it has never been easier to learn the ropes, find the best spots and learn how to be a responsible fisher. Here’s where we started. Take a look.

The laws and regulations surrounding sport fishing in Alberta are numerous, but the basics are simple. If you’re between the ages of 16 and 65, the first things you’ll need before getting out on the water are a Wildlife Identification Number and a fishing license. You can purchase these online or at participating retail locations, such as Canadian Tire. Each body of water has its own season, as well as its own limits on which fish you can keep and how many, so before you head out, familiarize yourself with the specific rules that govern your destination.

Although you can go fishing just about anywhere that fish are found, some locations make for better fishing trips than others. Here are a few regional favourites.

Pigeon Lake
30 minutes from St. Albert
Friendly to campers, families, and pets
One of the best destinations for catching Walleye in Alberta (Special Walleye Licence required to keep catches)

Wabaman Lake
45 minutes from St. Albert
A catch-and-release lake, perfect for those who love to fish but aren’t interested in the cooking part of the process Calm waters ideal for introducing kids to the sport
Camping and boat rentals nearby
Home to Pike, Yellow Perch, and Whitefish

Lac la Biche
2 1/2 hours from St. Albert
Beautiful island campground that allows you quick and easy access to the water
Home to Perch, Whitefish, and Burbot

Bow River (Calgary)
3 hours from St. Albert
Provides a challenge for those wishing to improve their skills
Top fly-fishing destination in Alberta
Home to many varieties of Trout

Athabasca River
1 1/2 hours from St. Albert
Camping friendly
Ideal for shore-side fishing
Home to Burbot, Goldeye and Northern Pike

If you’re new to fishing, it may seem like there are a lot of fishing regulations that might detract from the fun of the sport. But not only are these regulations easy to follow, once you get a handle on them, you’ll appreciate that they serve an important purpose. Alberta’s 600 lakes and 250 rivers are a precious resource that needs to be guarded so that residents can enjoy the sport for generations to come. Respect for the waters, respect for the fish populations and respect for the regulations go a long way to preserving both the beauty of nature and the fun of the sport. So grab your fishing rod, grab some good friends and head out to the water. There is a whole province just waiting to be explored. t8n

Online Resources You’ll Want to Consult —Visit to register for a fishing license online. —Learn the specifics of all the fishing laws in Alberta. —A location database, showing species, catch limits, seasons and sizes for each body of water in Alberta. —Provides updates on advisories, bans, and restrictions. —Provides lessons and certifications regarding responsible fishing and wildlife conservation.


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