A volunteer holds up a wild Gorge Coho at the Craigflower Creek counting fence. (Photo courtesy Dorothy Chambers)

Salmon counters ‘disappointed’ with 119 cohos in Colquitz this season

Long-time volunteer blames predators, sediment contamination for lower numbers

Salmon in the City volunteers reported 119 coho salmon came through the Colquitz River fish fence this year.

Volunteers visit the fish fence in Cuthbert Holmes Park on a daily basis in the fall to count salmon as they make their way up the Colquitz River. All counts are reported to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The fish fence panels temporarily trap fish that swim through so that the Salmon in the City team can monitor them and collect data. The first coho – a small male – appeared a week after the Sept. 29 installation.

READ ALSO: First coho of the season spotted in the Colquitz River

The fall rains came early this year so the salmon had a clear river to swim in for spawning, noted long-time volunteer Dorothy Chambers.

The salmon came up the river sporadically through the beginning of October. Following a bout of rain, 24 cohos appeared on Oct. 18.

As the season progressed, the fish continued to head up the river. A total of 119 fish were counted before the panels were removed on Nov. 29 – 59 males, 43 females, 14 young males and three unidentified fish. Last year, 218 cohos were counted, 315 came through in 2017 and 1,121 in 2016.

READ ALSO: Saanich schoolkids observe salmon dissections in Cuthbert Holmes Park

Only one cutthroat, steelhead and chinook were spotted in the trap and no hatchery fish were counted, Chambers noted.

“I am so very disappointed with our returns this year,” she said, pointing out the effects of the sediment contamination over the past few years.

READ ALSO: Water contamination halts CRD project construction at Colquitz River

Chambers also noted that increased seal and otter predation likely contributed to the low numbers of salmon this year.

The daily visits from school kids and community members brightened the mood at the fish fence. In mid-November, Students from Tillicum Elementary got to watch members of the World Fisheries Trust conduct educational dissections on frozen chum supplied by the Goldstream Hatchery.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Saanich company joins nation-wide effort to produce 30,000 ventilators

StarFish Medical using a ‘purpose-driven design for rapid manufacturing,’ CEO says

Judge rejects pandemic as reason to grant bail to immunocompromised prisoner

Esquimalt man told there are more health risks for addicts on the street than there are in jail

Sidney senior welcomes outreach phone calls from charity

A long-time user of Sidney’s SHOAL Centre, praises Beacon Community Services

Canoe found in men’s public bathroom in Cadboro-Gyro Park

‘Please do not park your canoe in our bathrooms,’ say Saanich parks staff

VicPD asks for help finding owner of recovered camera

Camera contained images of a family celebrating a wedding

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Thieves steal $5,000 worth of cigarettes and candy from semi trailer in Nanaimo

Culprits hit truckload in shipping company storage yard on Old Victoria Road on Monday

Most Read