Randy Goertzen: This and last year's coho seem way down in the San Juan tributaries of Lens Creek and Granite Creek, while Harris Creek seems normal. Do you or your readers have any knowledge to pass along?
Answer: I contacted the DFO and their stats are really worth looking at for all of WCVI (West Coast Vancouver Island) by any-one who loves our Island rivers. I have to say, while DFO has many shortcomings, that anglers love hatcheries, habitat work and science, so it's good to pass along interesting stats. Here are two sets of tables: historical east and west Van Isle: www.ops2.pac.dfompo.gc.ca/xnet/content/sal mon/sc%20stad/bulletins.ht m#WCVI_Chum. And for the second set of tables: www.ops2.pac.dfompo.gc.ca/xnet/content/sal mon/sc%20stad/WCVI_esc apement/2012-5.pdf. Or ask Kirsten Ruecker (Kirsten.Ruecker@dfompo.gc.ca) for other areas.
Lens and Granite creeks are too small to be counted. So if you, like Randy, are an angler who loves and watches the San Juan over the years, do send me your observations and I will relay them to others. The San Juan River 2012 fence counts to Oct. 4 are: 2,120 chinook (above forecast of 700-1,600); and, 1,516 coho. The latter figure can be expected to be higher as Oct. 4 is too early to hit the top of the coho run.
Randy notes chum in Granite, a nice looking stream in fall, but low in summer. I would guess the reason is that chum are exceptionally fickle as well as wasteful. They typically spawn on highest water any old place and up to 90 per cent of their eggs are lost. However, as fry migrate immediately to sea, they would be well gone before Granite is reduced to puddles.
Based on the Robertson Creek - the WC indicator stream - coho return rate being below average at 4.4 per cent in recent years, WCVI coho were all expected to be down this year. The long-term coho figures in the San Juan system do show declines. The average over the past 12 years is 11,700, while the five year average is 6,800. With 1,516 on Oct. 4, I doubt the total will rise to the five-year figure. In other words, Randy, your eyes are telling you what the stats are showing - even with a year-end coho stat to come.
I'm not confirming the Nitinat numbers either: 13,000 terminal Chinook (with a range of 8,000-to 18,000), with a 5/12 years average of 7/11,700. I would say it is more like 6,000. For coho, with a 5/12 years average of 3.3/6.4K, I would say it may reach 5,000. Chum look healthy to me, say 150,000, so the forecast of 292,000 seems high. This is a run that has hit two million in the past, with terminal commercial/aboriginal fisheries mopping up more than one million.
Because DFO authorized a new Plover Point fish farm in Clayoquot Sound - a UN Biosphere Reserve - I plumbed the Clayoquot Sound Chinook salmon and found their numbers are alarmingly low: Bedwell - 93 (5/12 - 60/110); Moyeha - none (120/130); Tranquil - 11 (220/760; Megin - 35 (20/50); Cypre - 362 (no 5/12 figures). No figure for the plummeting Kennedy Lake sockeye. No fish farms should be in these waters as the wild fish numbers are just too low. Diseased farms release 60 billion viral particles per hour, and a sound does not flush.
© Copyright 2013