First coho of the season spotted in the Colquitz River

Excess rain in September is good for the fish, says Salmon in the City volunteer

The first coho salmon of the spawning season has been spotted in the Colquitz River near Tillicum Shopping Centre.

On Oct. 7, the the volunteers with Salmon in the City – a project funded by Fisheris and Oceans Canada (DFO) – found a small male coho in the fish fence.

READ ALSO: Salmon restoration and new viewing platforms planned for Colquitz River

A fish fence was installed in the Colquitz River behind the Tillicum Shopping Centre at the end of September to temporarily trap fish that swim through so that the Salmon in the City team can monitor them and collect data.

The team comes down to the fish fence on a daily basis from October to December to assess the age, species, health and gender of the fish that come up the river, explained Colquitz River advocate Dorothy Chambers. All collected data is reported to the DFO.

After three years of drought – rain not starting until later in the fall – the excess rain in September is a good sign, said Chambers.

READ ALSO: Salmon farmers defend transparency after Canada fish escape

The early rain is called the “first flush,” she explained. It cleans off the roads and pipes and washes it into the river. If this happens too late in the season, the salmon end up swimming in the debris which can result in fish dying.

This year, the first flush came early, so the salmon will have a clear river to swim in for spawing.

Chambers noted that salmon have already begun to appear in other South Island rivers too.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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