Paul Gregg: Up a well known creek. Well, two well known creeks actually. That’s just where we were on the evening of the last day of August. We were on the south side of 23rd Ave.where Blackmud Creek runs into Whitemud Creek. 2015 Master Naturalist Graduate Shona Derlukewich kept about 20 people spellbound for two hours. Shona is an instructor at her small business “School of Fish”. Her professional designation is QAES. (That means she knows more about fish than King Neptune).
Shona: Thanks Paul! The students were amazing, the fish put on a great performance, and we all enjoyed an evening on the fascinating world of fish! I know a lot about fish yes, but I always take photos to confirm with experts such as Ichthyologist Mark Steinhilber at the Royal Alberta Museum. QAES stands for Qualified Aquatic Environmental Specialist.
Paul: Shona had a number of interactive displays set up and talked about different Alberta fish species and taught us tricks on identifying them. All the while she was interjecting fascinating facts about not only Alberta fish, but the environment as well. Then it got really exciting. Shona had previously set three minnow traps in different locations in the creek. The traps were emptied into large tubs of water and we were then taught how to identify and record the catch. We were also taught how to handle the fish. There were enough fish that everyone had plenty of opportunity to participate. The final tally was 374 fish and four different species and one invasive species.
Shona: The invasive species that we caught was a Prussian Carp! This is the first documentation of the species North of Red Deer. Bad news for fisheries management personnel. I attached a picture, so please call the Alberta Government Hotline listed below and remove them from the water body if captured. We caught four species including Fathead Minnow, White Sucker, Lake Chub and Prussian Carp (Invasive).
Paul: Please let all your friends and acquaintances know that releasing aquarium fish into our waterways. besides being illegal, plays havoc with our native species. After the activity was over and I was walking back to my truck, I paused and looked back at the creek. I realized that this small group of people will never look at this or any other creek the same way ever again. Thank you Shona for giving us that.
Shona: Thank-you Paul and all in attendance. I love to pass along my knowledge and teach others about the amazing world of water with so many very important species of fish! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information or confirm an identification of a fish.
If you know of anyone that needs to get rid of unwanted aquarium fish, Paul can be contacted at 780-995-1883, Shona at 780-722-9884 or Alberta Government Don’t Let it Loose Hotline 1-855-336 BOAT (2628) for more information.