Our natural history–spawning coho

coho

Look carefully, there really is a coho there.

Yesterday, I was with a small group that was fortunate enough to come upon what was probably a female coho ready to spawn in the major creek running into Rough Bay. This creek originates in the interior of the island, crosses Second Street behind Delwin Nelson’s, meanders through Ross and Sheila Michelson’s acreage and then crosses Rupert Street into Jeannie Lawrence’s. A short distance from there it empties into Rough Bay at the site of the old Red Bridge, now replaced with a culvert. Spawning coho have been observed in this creek since the days of the early settlement. Clearing land and logging took their toll on the creek but the run was never completely extinguished. Several decades ago a hatchery on the Michelson property boosted the numbers. The story of this endeavour will be the topic of another blog. Although we only saw the one fish we hope that there are more and that the run is still hanging on. Vern Aro commented on the much smaller fish accompanying her. He said that Dolly Varden, a char, often enter streams following spawning salmon in order to feast on any eggs that are not completely buried in the gravel. We hope that more coho arrive and another generation emerges from the gravel. Watch for the forthcoming blog on the hatchery.

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