Sockeye salmon numbers sink this year

Only nine counted this year in South Alouette River

Salmon awaiting in South Alouette River fish trap near Allco fish hatchery.

The long awaited rebuilding of the sockeye salmon run in the South Alouette River will have to wait a while longer because it’s not making any great leap forward this year.

“We’ve had small numbers of sockeye,” returning, said Greta Borick-Cunningham, with the Alouette River Management Society.

Some years, more than 100 sockeye can be found in the South Alouette River, either Allco hatchery or at the base of the B.C. Hydro dam trying to get into the Alouette reservoir so they can spawn.

This year, though, only nine showed up.

“It’s not a great number, so it was going to be a small year anyways,” said Borick-Cunningham.

The society is trying to rebuild the run by letting thousands of sockeye fry over the top of the dam in the spring so they can migrate down the South Alouette River to the Pacific Ocean.

But a fish ladder is needed to connect the lake to the river before the run can be fully restored to pre-dam and pre-1925 levels of about 250,000 sockeye.

In the meantime, pink salmon are back in the both the Alouette system and Kanaka Creek.

“It’s like flicking on a light switch,” said Ross Davies, with the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society.

Since the fall rains came in and raised stream levels, pink salmon have made their way up to Kanaka Creek from their staging point in the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver International Airport.

“Since the run took off in 2009, we’ve been getting up to 2,000 to 3,000 every two years.”

The pinks are on a two-year life cycle.

Davies said the fish were eliminated from the Kanaka system in 1955.

“All the restocking efforts, for some reason, that year they took off.”

This year is a good year for pink salmon, with 28 million in the Fraser River.

“So we’re expecting a piece of that action.”

After the pink salmon come in, the chum salmon follow. The numbers could be between 2,000 and 10,000, in the next few weeks.

“Chum usually peak around Halloween, the coho usually peaking mid- to late- November.”

Noons Creek Hatchery in Port Moody is asking people to keep their dogs out of spawning streams at this time of year. If a dog scares a female salmon during spawning, it can result in the loss of up to 3,500 baby fish, says the hatchery.

This year’s hot and dry summer was touch and go in the Kanaka system.

“In the summer we had some low water, but it seemed that any time things got close to critical, we’d have some rain, so it was pretty nice.”

Davies said the new water control device in Spencer Creek, where it connects to Kanaka Creek, is making it easier for fish to move back and forth in the Albion flats. That’s resulted in coho moving into the flats, almost near the sports fields.

Just Posted

Flames drop to eighth in PJHL

Ridge loses two games over the weekend

Man known to frequent Maple Ridge wanted by Langley RCMP

An arrest warrant is out for Bryce Telford for allegedly impersonating a police officer

New Maple Ridge council has old problem: Albion flats

Staff asking for politicians to decide direction

Thomas Haney team builds tiny house

Students spend two years building tiny house during shop class

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Cannabis sales up 25% in November as overall retail sales fall 0.9%

Cannabis store sales totalled $54 million in the first full month of legal recreational pot sales

LNG Canada support far outweighs protests, CEO says

Andy Calitz vows completion on schedule at B.C. Natural Resource Forum

B.C. Green Party leader calls for Assistant Deputy Speaker to step aside

Weaver alleges whistleblower was fired after looking into the Liberal MLA’s expenses

B.C. man says he was evicted due to ‘personal vendetta’ against his toddler

Matt Astifan says he has tried to do what he can but a young child will always make some noise

Case of B.C. man caught with 27,500 fentanyl pills thrown out due to Charter breach

‘Ambiguous’ signal by drug sniffer dog Doodz leads to B.C. Supreme Court decision

B.C. animal killer Kayla Bourque guilty of breaching conditions

Bourque is expected to be sentenced on Feb. 8

Men allegedly tied to Red Scorpions gang arrested in B.C. drug busts

Nanaimo RCMP have made multiple arrests and seized drugs, weapons and cash

VIDEO: Soon-to-be-extinct caribou moved to B.C. interior

The three caribou are being held in pens north of Revelstoke

Most Read