Other Updates and Dates to Remember
First evidence of the 2017 stonefly hatch was on July 2nd, 2017.
The area this was observed was right underneath the HWY 1 bridge.
Dozens of empty casings where spotted on larger boulders. Perhaps the stoneflies chose this area due to the fact that it is so dry.
Also on July 2nd I came across a large pool that was left stranded by receding water levels, with no help in sight from the weather forecast I took action with a small fish tank net to save the stranded Coho.
Below find a variety of sizes of Coho fry that I was able to save and safely release. They weren't photo shy after I released them!
Sizes were roughly 2.5" (see the fish on the top left) to the very large outlier on the bottom right who was 3.5".
Cutthroat fry were first sighted in the Fell Channel July 3rd, they were absolutely tiny! Around 1/3 the size of an emerged Coho Fry. I was unable to get a clear photo of them as they were smaller than most pieces of gravel.
Thain Coho Fry & Garbage Clean Up
In late October of last year I cleaned out the Queens fish ladder on Thain Creek. It was entirely necessary as all the steps were completely encased in rock and sand, and the fact that there was no flow coming down the ladder.
Following this I worked my way down Thain Creek to the "daylighted" section. At the beginning of the daylighted section (looking upstream), there is a very steep section of boulders. I was able to recreate this area by moving several large 50-150lb boulders around to create step pools to make this obstacle fish passable, as well as removing all sorts of sticks and debris that were clogging up the easiest to pass sections.
Following my trappings on Thain with Sandie we believed my attempts were done too late in the year and that no Coho had spawned aboved the steep obstacle section. We believed this as our traps came back with only Cutthroat and no Coho.
However, after working my way from the bottom of this obstacle to Westview Drive I was completely surprised. There were Coho fry holding in pretty much every little pool, and as I worked my way up to the man made spawning/rearing pools in the section that had been daylighted the numbers I was seeing grew immensly. The 3-4 large man made rearing pools were holding hundreds of Coho fry. Each had shoals of 30-50, and those were just the numbers I could see. Who knows how many hid under the rocks.
It was amazing to see so many fish that nobody knew were there, especially in an area of creek I didn't think adults were able to make it to for spawning last year. Surely if the Coho had made it this far, then they could have surpassed the Queens ladder and worked their way up to the Evergreen Place culvert.
This means an extra KM had been opened up for spawning, but even more importantly for rearing. By having an extra 1,000 meters of creek for fish rearing this will hopefully mean more fry will survive to smolts as the density will be less harsh and should provide for more area/food for development.
Continuing the day of my pure joy and excitement in seeing the unexpected Coho fry in Thain, I came across some not so good news.
A garbage bag from the Westview McDonalds had somehow ended up alongside/in the creek. Several hundred pairs of plastic gloves along with all sorts of other garbage was everywhere. Right by the little Salmon Hut on the west side of Westview where Thain goes underneath the road.
I couldn't stand to see it and I knew if I had gone to the district for clean up it would probably take days. So I took it upon myself to clean it all up. What I thought would be one garbage bag full was actually 4! I filled 4 big garbage bags with McDonalds trash and all sorts of bottles that had accumulated over the years. Needless to say it looks much better now, hopefully the fish appreciate it!