The poor performance by the fish at the Starland County Fishing Derby on Aug. 26 can be forgiven. Turns out, the fish were too stressed.

John Tchir, Resource Manager with Alberta Environment and Parks, Red Deer-North Saskatchewan Region, explained that the Michichi Resevoir is quite shallow -- only 5 metres deep at its maximum point -- which means the warm weather in the area has been keeping the water a bit too hot for the fish.

"Rainbow trout, in particular, are cold-water species. So, they require cold-water refugia. When temperatures come up say above, 16, 17 degrees, they start to feel a little bit stressed. When they hit, 20, 22, 25 degrees in the water, they're extremely stressed," said Tchir.

"Biting hooks and actively feeding becomes less of a priority than really just surviving at that point. And it looks like we've got at least another ten days or so of similar temperatures," continued Tchir.

He asked anglers to not fish some of the cold-water trout streams during the warm weather.

"Stress is already up so when you catch those fish, and even if you release them, they become more vulnerable to [becoming prey] by other critters."

Aside from the Michichi Resevoir, Tchir says to avoid parts of the Red Deer River and streams south of the North Saskatchewan river drainage.

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