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

Sea bus service proposed along Fraser River

Maple Ridge councillor just wants to start discussion

Pitt Meadows gets some help for flood plan

$412,000, but not for dike upgrades

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows folks take in rides at PNE

Fall exhibition heralds end of summer

Pantracia Chronicles paves path for Pitt Meadows author

First trilogy in epic fantasy series released this year

Homes found for abandoned hedgehogs in Maple Ridge

Lucky new owners picked up their pets on Aug. 20

Pickle me this: All the outrageous foods at this year’s PNE

Pickled cotton candy, deep-fried chicken skins, and ramen corndogs are just a start

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Mammoth sturgeon catch was ‘a fish of a lifetime’ for Chilliwack guide

Sturgeon was so enormous it tied for largest specimen every tagged and released in the Fraser

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

Body found believed to be missing Chilliwack senior with dementia

Police say case is now in the hands of the coroner

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Most Read