By Jamie Rieger
It was a win-win-win situation at the Sucker in the Hills derby, held at Reesor Lake on June 28.
The young (and not-so young) anglers had an opportunity to learn about how to fish for suckers, the trout benefit by less suckers invading, their habitat, and the Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale received all of the caught suckers as fodder for their feathered residents.
More than 140 fishers of all ages registered to participate in the second annual event, held to rid the lake of the species that is eating the trout’s nourishment.
“The sucker is taking away the trout’s food. We stock the lake, but the suckers are depleting their food source, so the trout are not thriving,” said one of the organizers of the derby, Sheldon Denman.
All 238 suckers caught were donated to the Birds of Prey Centre and any trout caught were to be released back into the lake.
As well as being a fun day at the lake with family, there was also an opportunity to learn how to properly catch and release fish and how to fish for suckers, which are bottom-feeders.
“They caught some real big suckers. We weigh and measure them and the information is shared with Parks,” said Denman. “This is all about the kids and teaching them how to fish.”
Ariel Zezula and Caitlin Sommer from Alberta Parks were on-site doing boat inspections and informing people about being cautious about transferring flora and fauna from one lake to the next via their watercraft.
“We want to educated people about invasive species and how people can avoid it. We showed them what to look for and what to check on their boats,” said Sommer.
They advised boaters to check the hull and feel below the water line, around the engine area, inside the boat itself, and the anchors. Boaters should also ensure there is no standing water or leaves and weeds anywhere on the boat.