Monday, 18 April 2016

bright day fishing

 George has retired to the Comox valley and wanted to bring his son, David, out for a trip to experience the coast and local salmon fishing. What a very fine day you picked, George. 

 We began the day with a drift close to Campbell River, and then cruised over towards the mainland. 
 It was lovely fishing close to shore with a panoramic view of Desolation Sound . 

 David boated the first one, and then a small chinook just a bit under the 24 1/2 inches minimum size. We took samples from both these fish for the DNA analysis program . Part of fishing is losing some, and we did that, too. 

When David caught an accidental rockfish, an eagle swooped in to take it for his shore lunch. 

It was a great day, with summer weather in mid April. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

If they are chinooks ...

During the hatchery smolts delivery, I told Laurent , the hatchery manager, about the little salmon in the Cove. I showed him the above photos in the back of my camera. I told him the fish I'd seen were not quite as big as the ones in the pen, but getting close. He thinks they are chinooks , and that they are doing very well to be nearly as large as the hatchery reared ones. Those photos were from March 29, which is two weeks earlier ,when weeks and days matter a lot for growth and size. 
 The photo below is from last year's smolts delivery when I was able to get a close up shot in the pen.  

Hatchery Smolts Transfer

Today was the day for transferring the chinook smolts from the Quinsam Hatchery to the grow-out pen in the Campbell River Discovery Harbour Marina. We, the Campbell River Guides Association, contribute to this aspect of salmon enhancement by providing a pen and bringing volunteers for transfer day and about twenty days of feeding, helped as well by other community volunteers. There are also a couple of other pens in different locations with sponsors and volunteers. 

Hatcheries keep the young fish through the first fresh water stream part of their lives , and then, when they are ready to migrate, and change their equilibrium to live in salt water, they are called smolts.  At this point they would normally be let loose into the natural stream and they'd swim down to the estuary and the sea, running a gauntlet of predators while their bodies are stressed.. It turns out that helping them though this vulnerable period by protecting and feeding them a while in a net pen increases their survival rate. 

These little salmon will imprint on this location and be a little confused when they return as adults. Their internal GPS will say come here , but the river is a half mile north, so they will linger off target a little while before the smell of the river will draw them in. These are the first of an effort to breed parents of similar size. We'll see in 3, 4 and 5 years if some of these come back as representatives of the famous extra large Campbell River Tyees, which is their genetic heritage,