On Monday afternoon 8,000 hatchery coho fry that had been adipose fin-clipped on Saturday were successfully released at three sites into the Millard Creek side channel. They will now have to fend for themselves and will, hopefully, augment the return of adult salmon to the creek in 2015.
Thanks to the volunteers who helped out with this release and to Dave Davies of DFO for transporting them from the hatchery to the release site!
After releasing the fish, several of us went to look at the nearby confluence of the Millard and Piercy Creeks. This was about 45 minutes after a heavy deluge of rain. The difference in the flow between Millard and Piercy creeks was quite striking. While the flow in Millard Creek had increased somewhat from what it was prior to the rainfall, the water was relatively clear. The flow in Piercy Creek, by contrast, had increased substantially to several times the flow in Millard and the water was very turbid. The difference is undoubtedly due to the more pristine nature of the Millard section of the watershed compared to Piercy, the latter having been more affected by development.
This morning, Ed Goski and I checked the counting weirs on both Millard and Piercy creeks and found that both weirs had been “topped” by the streams following the rain storm and much debris had accumulated resulting in a damming effect. The Millard counting weir is downstream of the confluence with Piercy so all the water in the system passes by at that point. The result of this is that many fish would have gone over the top of the weirs without being counted. There was also a problem with the connection between the pipe and holding box on Piercy. In spite of this, we counted 232 coho smolts at Millard (a record so far this year) plus 143 coho fry. At Piercy the count was only 17 coho smolts and 5 fry. Total coho smolts to date are 507 at Millard and 182 at Piercy. The peak of the run typically occurs in mid to late May.