Chum salmon at natural salmon ladder in the outflow of Refuge Lagoon
(remains of the replaced old steel dam top right)
The Desolation Sound Salmon Enhancement Society (DSSES) enhanced creeks in Refuge Lagoon for 12 years. With As the help and instruction of our DFO Advisor Grant McBain we raised late run Coho at Rob Smail’s salmon system in Doctor Bay on the east side of the island and transferred smolts to Refuge Lagoon. Our first Coho return was accompanied by a run of Chum that has returned in small numbers since then.
Due to the huge 2016 Chum run on the B.C. Coast; a large number of Chum ran into Refuge Lagoon and far up into all the creeks so laboriously rehabilitated by the very dedicated crew assembled over those years. I am sending out data collected on November 11 and 12, 2016, by Jan Hansen and Reinhold Hoge to thank all those who worked on and supported our project.
My upcoast mentor Billy Proctor says “Chums and Sockeye have 3, 4 and 5 year olds some years. 3 and 4 year olds came back some years, 3- 4 years back, but it is only once in 60 years that all three ages come back at the same time.”
On Nov. 11 and 12/16 a survey was made by Jan Hansen and Reinhold Hoge to count Chum in 6 in Refuge Lagoon streams.
Coho Creek, 199 morts, 39 live. Total-238
Fish were observed 150m upstream from lake, at that point the creek had narrowed thus the water velocity had increased and the debris from the forest is also becoming an issue further up. 100 meters further on it was becoming difficult to travel through for both fish and humans.
Dave’s Creek, 59 morts, 10 live Total-69
Fish were observed 130m upstream from lake; there is an impassable waterfall 20m further on. The beaver dam at approximately 200m further on let go 2 years ago and 1/2 km of water was suddenly released and removed a large amount of forest below the waterfall and also created a rocky debris field, so it was quite a surprise to see the salmon spawning out in the open, with no tree cover.
Beaver Dam Creek, 25 morts, 5 live Total-30
Fish observed 50m upstream from lake, at that point the series of rapids start. Maybe at some point the rapids could be made into pools for there are about 150m of ideal salmon spawning gravel past that bottleneck. There has also been trout fry spotted about 300m further on in the past.
Thompson Lake Creek, 16 morts, 12 live Total-28
The creek here is only 30 meters from the lagoon to the waterfall, a couple of salmon were observed trying to scale it. No salmon will be making it past this point but there are trout up in Thompson Lake.
Kuyt Creek, 15 morts, 15 live, Total-30
Fish observed till about 100 meters upstream from lagoon, further on it becomes a series of waterfalls and narrow fast moving rapids making it impassable for fish. This creek drains out of a small lake about 1/2 a kilometre further up the hill, known to some of us as Goose lake. There is no fish in this lake due to the major waterfalls all way up there. But there is beaver activity in an around this body of water.
Refuge Lagoon Creek, 145 morts, 95 live, Total-240
There is easily observed fish activity at this spot; the salmon are using the spawning ravel that was transported here by DSSES. And the logging debris from the lake is providing excellent cover from the predators. There is still salmon coming in from the ocean and we will be keeping an eye on this for the next couple of months.
Chum Salmon, Thompson Lake Creek
By December 2016, the Chum were finished and Coho were counted in three streams with 18 Coho at dam waiting to come in. These are direct descendants of salmon we introduced.