General · 12th February 2012
Chum and coho salmon were back in the streams last fall and Quadra Island Salmon Enhancement Society (QISES) volunteers were walking the stream banks counting the fish. Sixteen volunteers walked various sections of Drew, Hyacinthe, Open Bay, Village Bay, Granite and McKercher Creeks at least once and sometimes twice a week over a period of two months. Besides counting salmon, observers took note of stream flow, fish obstructions, presence of predators, stream bank integrity, water temperature, water clarity and any
other information related to successful salmon spawning. Numbers of live and dead fish were totalled along with an estimate of how many fish were new each time. And finally, one tally sheet was filled out for each stream, with an estimated total number of fish coming into that particular
watercourse. This information was sent to Department of Fisheries and Oceans for their records.
The final numbers are as follows:
Drew Creek - 0; Hyacinthe Creek - 2323;
Open Bay Creek - 1633; Village Bay Creek - 3153; Granite Creek - 657; McKercher Creek - 60.
Almost all were chum salmon. Coho numbers were very low except in Village Bay Creek where almost 800 coho entered the lake system. Let me stress that these are not absolute numbers, but a good
estimate of returning salmon - a snapshot of what is happening in each stream. For example, in Drew Creek some coho may have entered under cover of
darkness and moved swiftly upstream without being seen. High flows are critical for fish getting up some of the smaller streams, and timing may
have been wrong for seeing them.
In addition, our counting fence was active at the outlet of Village Bay Lakes. The fence was manned by observers twice per day to count salmon and
allow passage into the lake system. This is a huge commitment of volunteer time, and we were fortunate to contract local resident Lauren Miller for
part of the work. The final numbers going through the fence were 796 coho and 144 chum. Although more accurate than weekly stream counts, this is
still not an absolute total, since the fence was tampered with a couple times at the beginning of the season. The number of coho entering the lakes
system was down from approximately 1300 observed in fall of 2010.
There are several other creeks on Quadra that the Society would like to monitor, but this will require further volunteer stream walkers. We would be
very happy to bring new observers up to speed on the process before the next counting season of October 2012. I'd like to thank all of the volunteers
who spent many hours in all kinds of weather, faithfully counting fish and filling out forms week after week. As well, a big thank you to the
landowners who generously allowed us to carry out the stream walks on their land. Hopefully, our streams will remain in good shape and the salmon will continue to come back year after year.
Janis McLean for Quadra Island Salmon Enhancement Society