Sunday, 17 August 2014

Q and As – August 17, 2014

Gary Cooper, fishing-show maker and all around bon vivant, is giving a seminar at Pedder Bay on August 24, 2014 at 1PM on how to catch salmon. Kevin McAughtrie, Manager of Pedder has this to say: “Gary and I are now planning Gary’s second seminar: a general discussion on fishing the Juan de Fuca Strait. Once again, we ask for pre-registration at 250-478-1771. The event will be free of charge.”

Pedder Bay RV Resort and Marina is at 925 Pedder Bay Drive, in Metchosin.

Salmon Regs: Currently the Regs in Area 20, and 19-1 to 19-4 are: two chinook salmon over 45 cm, one of which may be over 67 cm; four sockeye; and two hatchery coho, and on Sept 1, one coho may be wild. For updates, see:

In Sidney, Area 19-5: 2 chinook over 62 cm, one of which may be over 67 cm; two coho, one of which may be wild; and four sockeye. See:

Fraser River Sockeye Update, Aug 17: Test gillnet fishing shows a higher diversion down Johnstone Strait than Juan de Fuca. Two weeks ago, when I was doing my pink fly thing, a gillnet opening in Johnstone put gillnetters up and down Johnstone, about 2 miles off shore. Oddly, they were fishing parallel with shore, rather than perpendicular.

The Johnstone test showed 14% Early Summer-run, 46% Summer-run and 40% Late-run Fraser sockeye. In the Fraser, proportions were 44% Early Summers, and 56% Summers. Some 2,077,700 sockeye have passed the Mission counting fence.

The Fraser discharge declined to 2,781 cubic metres, 25% below the historical average of 3,699 cubic metres. The Qualark temp is 19.7 degrees C. Sockeye begin dying at 20 degrees C.

I noticed on the news the commercial sockeye taken in the Fraser looked puffy, mushy and grey, not silver and healthy. Hopefully they will migrate upstream with a lower pre-spawn mortality than noted in the DFO Miller Viral Signature research, put on the Cohen Commission record. It showed as high as 90% of some sub-components died before spawning.

Campbell/Quinsam pink salmon numbers: I asked David Ewart, Watershed Enhancement Manager, at the Quinsam Hatchery what number of pinks would return to the system in 2014 (I having seen record numbers north of Campbell River). He answered that it should be high: “Well over last year’s 1.0 million. Ocean conditions appear to have gone from 1- or 2-% survival to probably 10%... Something good happened out there.”

I’ll say. I have never heard of survival approaching 10%, and nature only needs 1% to equal the run size of two years previous. We have had a La Nina. Presumably the Aleutian Low Pressure system blew enough to stir up nutrients from the deep, and probably something else happened.

I also asked when the spawning obstructions in the Quinsam were eliminated.

“In 2005, the Quinsam Fish Passage Project opened a series of cascade blockages that were hindering salmon migration in the early fall. Although fish could get through these areas on higher flows, climate change has had an effect in lowering river levels in recent years in the summer and early fall when Pinks migrate. This was significantly impacting them by creating high spawning densities in the lower river and low egg survival to the fry stage.” 

The project “opened approximately 20km of upper river to the next set of falls at the outlet of lower Quinsam Lake.  Pink adults now migrate to this area and spawn in some really good spawning habitat in the upper river. Combined with recent winters of stable flows (no floods), and really good ocean survival, the pink population has exploded. The Quinsam hatchery now only takes a minimum number of eggs to act as a “bank account” for the river in case conditions turn poor. The hatchery is still taking eggs to restore other South Coast Pink populations, if and when required.”

Interesting. The Quinsam pinks comprise the eggs/fry of about 15 volunteer projects on Georgia Strait that anglers fish for on beaches from Salmon Point, south of Campbell River, to Nanaimo, and even in Cowichan Bay, where the first staging spot is Cherry Point and then in the park near the marina. I suggest you give Salmon Point a try because it has a pub on the beach. You can angle some ale and when those dorsal fins come by, amble to angle some fish.

David also sent me a table of returns of all five species of salmon since the Quinsam opened in 1973. In 2013, for instance, some 13,000 coho returned; 4,400 chinook;1.035 million pinks; and 25,000 chum. I can send the table your way, if you want it.

No comments:

Post a Comment