Calgary·Video

Heat kills freshly-stocked trout population at Sibbald Lake

Hundreds of dead fish are lying on the shore of a lake in Kananaskis Country, after low water levels combined with above average temperatures dealt a fatal blow to the lake's trout population over the weekend.

'It doesn't seem safe or hygienic one bit for kids to be in the water,' says camp director

Hundreds of dead fish line the shores of Sibbald Lake in Kananaskis, where warm temperatures and low water levels have killed much of the trout population. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Hundreds of dead fish are rotting on the shore of a lake in Kananaskis Country, after low water levels combined with above average temperatures dealt a fatal blow to the lake's trout population over the weekend.

Sibbald Lake, which was freshly stocked with an additional 1,000 rainbow trout on Friday, was lined with fish corpses and swarming flies by Monday. 

The province will send someone to clear out the corpses Wednesday. (Kate Adach/CBC)

'Die-off'

"It's possible that everything we put in, unfortunately has died," said Ryan Lyster, a fish hatchery technician with the province.

Hatchery technician Ryan Lyster defends the unsuccessful restocking initiative, saying conditions were well within acceptable levels at the time. 3:56

"The main thing is disappointment … we raised these fish for a year," he added.

Lyster says the temperature was about 16.5 degrees, oxygen levels were normal, and other conditions were favourable when they stocked the lake on Friday.

But over the weekend, higher-than-average temperatures caused the already low water levels to warm to 23 C.

"That's possibly the reason why we had a fish die-off over the weekend," he said, adding that Sibbald Lake's water level has also dropped in recent years as a result of low spring precipitation.

Some were not too impressed on social media, as the forecast called for hot weather early this week.

Lyster does not know when the province may add more fish, but said the officials will send someone Wednesday to clear out the corpses.

'Pretty gross'

Meanwhile, organizers of kids camps were dismayed at the state of the lake.

"It's pretty gross," said Raj Sisodiya, the assistant director of the Camp Adventure kids' summer camp there.

"I don't want kids to be swimming in this water with dead fish," Sisodiya said. "It doesn't seem safe or hygienic one bit for kids to be in the water."

Camp Adventure says it will get the water tested and decide what steps to take before kids begin arriving in July.

Raj Sisodiya, assistant director of Camp Adventure on Sibbald Lake, says lake levels have been lower in recent years, making activities like canoeing more difficult for campers. (Kate Adach/CBC)

With files from Kate Adach

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