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

VIDEO: Furry, four-legged donors make their way to doggy blood drive in Langford

WAVES and Canadian Animal Blood Bank host blood drive for dogs

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

Colwood hosts open house on future of Royal Bay community

Event takes place on Jan. 22 at Royal Bay Secondary from 6 to 8 p.m.

Sidney woman promises to pay back anonymous donor who covered her back rent

Zora Hlevnjak faced eviction after refusing to repay money earned collecting cans

Annual Salmon Carcass Transplant draws Saanich residents to Douglas Creek

More than 100 frozen salmon tossed into the creek as part of ecological restoration

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read