October rains brought welcome precipitation for mushrooms, Cortes creeks, and chum! August & early September creek levels were at record lows, but the torrential rains and steady drizzle this fall were timely for chum returning to spawn in Cortes creeks. The slogan being communicated between the Cortes Streamkeepers is ‘Breaking News!’.
The chum runs this year are earlier than past years and have extended into creeks which historically supported chum, but have not had chum in recent years. This may be partly due to higher creek levels. Typically, late chum runs have extended through November, so monitoring of streams by watchful eyes will continue over the next month.
The following is a summary of approximate counts of chum for October.
Basil Creek (Squirrel Cove) – 400 to 500 chum (Oct 9 onwards); a bumper crop!
Hansen Creek (Gorge Harbour) – 200+ chum extending up the Gorge Hill, above the 2nd bridge, and against a raging flow (Oct 15 onwards).
Mansons’ Lagoon Creek (below the waterfall) – 50+ chum competing for a tiny stretch of creek (Oct 26); no, they can’t make it up the falls, nor should they try.
Chris’ Creek (below Sprungman’s Pond) – 30+ chum; this little creek used to have chum.
James Creek (Carrington Lagoon) – 60+ chum, 1 coho (Oct 30);
Whaletown Creek – a guess is Frabjous Day Creek (near Cortes Bay) – 2 to 4 chum (Oct 23); let’s hope for more.
Please remember the following protocol for watching spawning salmon:
1) no walking in the creek (it disturbs salmon redds and spawning activity);
3) approach salmon quietly & slowly AND from downstream (if you startle the salmon, they will swim upstream rather than backtrack);
4) be respectful of private property.
Any information on salmon is always appreciated, and can be directed to any of the Cortes Streamkeepers: Tina Wesley (Klahoose Fisheries Officer), Cec & Christine Robinson, Mike Manson, Rick Kolstead & Deb Peters, Chris Napper, Chris & Debbie Dragseth, Elizabeth Anderson, Max Thayson, Leona Jensen, Helen Hall (FOCI).