General · 19th December 2013
The fish counts for Quadra Island are in for the 2013 spawning season and the runs were good. This means that water levels were adequate, our mid-September rains helped greatly, and water temperatures were cool enough for the run. Here are the counts;
Open Bay Creek count; 2817 chum, no coho were observed
Granite Bay Creek: 721 chum, 10 coho, 1 jack
Drew Creek; 16 chum, 22 coho
Village Bay Creek; 733 chum, 17 coho, 3 jacks
Hyacinthe Creek; anecdotal evidence only as one landowner will not allow QISES on his property; thousands of chum reported by another local resident, 6 coho in Mud Lake system.
Counting fence at V.B. Lake, emptying into V. B. Creek; 1744 coho, 71 jacks, 70 chum. Bear in mind, the fences at Village Bay Lake were vandalized twice during the counting season, putting volunteers at great risk doing repairs and counts in jeopardy. The numbers we did get suggest that well over 2000 coho migrated up into the lake system and spawning streams beyond, phenomenally good news as to the health of the system.
When we do count we go to each location once per week for the entire run. We do this every year. This gives us comparative statistics which enable us and the DFO scientists to evaluate the health of the entire system.
QISES Improves Spawning Opportunities in Luoma Creek
Stream modification for hopefully creating new spawning beds for returning salmon used to involve "straightening and cleaning" i.e. removing all alleged obstacles like fallen logs in order to facilitate an even flow of water. Further research, however, found this to be very unproductive. Today we try to maintain natural terrain and cover and provide meandering to straight stream stretches with minimal slope and flow. The meanders create pools and riffles causing natural deposition of gravel- ideal spawning territory.
Quadra Island Salmon Enhancement Society [QISES] volunteers have been applying this approach near the mouth of Luoma Creek where it empties into Little Main Lake. Five "A-frame" structures’ utilising fallen logs semi-submerged and cable-tethered were created to collect debris which will, in time, provide cover for the salmon at both ends of their life cycle, the spawners and the fry.
In addition we will be planting new trees in this rather open area to provide shade cover which is presently badly lacking. To this end we acknowledge a donation of young saplings of red cedar, white pine and Douglas fir from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans via their Campbell River Community Advisor.
Among other projects considered for the near future are some viewing sites and platforms so that people may view chum salmon during the spawning season. At present the only safe viewing site is the bridge over Granite Bay Creek. We envision a site on Hyacinth Creek near the culverts, a prime spawning area. Sites for coho viewing would be very difficult to ascertain and more difficult to access. Coho charge up our streams and spawn just about as high as they are can get. We consider ourselves very lucky when we do spot coho, such as the ones in Luoma and 8 we spotted in Saxon Creek.
Led by Peter Calverly and the great gang from Granite Bay, and with permits obtained from DFO, we hope to be doing more fry trapping in 2014. The Streamkeepers courses that we took in 2013 gave us skills to do this. We bait cages, trap fry, identify, and then release our catch. This activity gives indications as to stream and species health. On many of our difficult-to-access streams, we might not know if coho were there should it not be their identification in our summer traps. Our small active volunteer base has enabled us to carry out this work. We will be seeking new volunteers in 2014 to expand our work for the salmon.
V. P. QISES