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2019-12-18 Colquitz Creek Fish Counting - 2019 Season Report

Started by John Pierce, December 22, 2019, 01:06:07 PM

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John Pierce

Email from Dorothy Chambers:

Dear Salmon watchers !

Thank you all for your inquiries about the final Coho counts.  Many of you attended regularly at the counting fence, ever hopeful !

Daily Coho reports:  installation of panels Sept. 29, 2019

Oct 6.....  1
Oct 16.... 6
Oct 17.... 9
Oct 18.... 24 (big rain)
Oct 19.... 2
Oct 20.... 2. (1 ctt)
Oct 21.... 11 (1 Steelhead). (Big water)
Oct 22.... 27
Oct 23.... 8. (1 Chinook)
Oct 24.... 4
Oct 25.... 2
Oct 26...  1
Nov 9....  1
Nov 12....8
Nov 15... 1
Nov 16... 1
Nov 17... 8  (big rains, trap flooded to top). (Craigflower got about 100 on this day, and their broodstock)

Fence panels removed Nov 29, no fish for 12 days since the rains.  No clipped hatchery fish from the Craigflower watershed were counted.

Males 59
Females 43
Jacks 14
Other 3
Total... 119

Serious seal and otter predation this year, as I am told has been a real problem in other South Island streams.  The Portage Inlet and Colquitz estuary shallow waters were like a washing machine of predator activity chasing the salmon.  I feel we had big losses to predation.  A record dry November and fish holding for too long, waiting on better conditions to enter the river.  The Colquitz has been impacted greatly since the rebar fencing that was under the Admirals Bridge over the Colquitz, was removed by MoTI during the new bridge building.  It was not replaced and had been there for decades deterring the seals from entering.

We need some LWD,  and the boaters to stop cutting what does fall, riparian overhang, and some floating islands or such in the estuary/inlet for salmon protection.  It is just a big shallow sediment basin with no where for the salmon to hide.  And the out migration of smolts are impacted for the same reasons.

I am so very disappointed with our returns this year and I can't help but look to the number of sediment spills in the past couple of years.  And, such a large sediment contamination by the CRD Wastewater construction in early Sept. while the salmon were staging, that took many many days to clear 3 kms of  river, only to then settle and remain in the Inlet.

Some good news was the daily attendance of school classes and the community, always lots to learn riverside.  Thanks to the Goldstream Hatchery for supplying some frozen Chum, that World Fisheries Trust dissected for the elementary classes, right at the fish fence, in the wonderful education viewing area built by Saanich Parks.

Although the salmon numbers were low, there was evidence of redd building (rocky salmon nests), in the newly restored river areas in Copley Park.  A project completed in August by Peninsula Streams and the Saanich municipality, for salmon spawning habitat, and community involvement with a viewing area.  But again this year, none were spotted up stream of Quick's Bottom, in a river reach that historically had good monitored returns, right up to West Saanich Road.

I am not feeling very cheery....but ever hopeful !
Sincerely, Dorothy
Salmon in The City project.

Here is one of our wild Gorge Coho, at the Craigflower Creek counting fence.
I wish I had good photos of the Steelhead and Chinook we counted, but they were definitely identified.