It was a lovely afternoon for a tour of the working Fraser River with the Burnaby Board of Trade and Port Metro Vancouver. It was sunny and warm, and in addition to the tugs, barges, cranes, containers, and ships, nature put on a bit of a show, too.
I saw several salmon jumping, and a sturgeon rolled just at the surface of the water. An inquisitive harbour seal also put in a brief appearance, not to mention herons, cormorants, seagulls, and more.
You can check out my Flickr album here.
There have been some questions about lamprey on the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers mailing list.
Here’s one that I shot just below the stop log in the sediment pond on July 30 this summer. It was about 15 cm long, give or take a few.
They may seem icky for their snake-like appearance and because many are by nature parasitic, but they are part of the great scheme of things, and have coexisted with salmon, trout and other fish for millennia.
We have observed them spawning in Byrne Creek, in the lower ravine, and in the sediment pond. They are actually quite beautiful to watch when they are mating for they dance and twine together.
Our DFO Community Advisor released about 5,000 coho smolts in Burnaby, BC, south slope creeks this morning. Byrne Creek, on which I volunteer, got a total of about 3,000 of those.
The yearlings are transported in a special tank and then transferred into the creek in buckets
A closeup of the seething mass of life. It appeared that we lost just two or three out of the thousands
DFO is now saying to clip the adipose fins on hatchery coho again, which means streamkeeper volunteers will be able to distinguish hatchery from wild coho when they return to spawn in a few years.
The habitat was looking lush following this morning’s rain
Rain beading on blossoms
Lonely blossom in the rain
I got these new rubber/PVC chest waders for 50% off at Canadian Tire recently. Thought I’d show them off :-).
Work it! That’s it! Hold the smile!
I have a set of fancy Browning chest and hip waders (bought at blowout prices at Surplus Herbies) that have “stocking” feet that require separate boots. I have felt-soled boots for them, but sometimes a simple one-piece rubber outfit is better for muddy in-stream streamkeeping work.
I bought a BC Non-tidal Angling Licence and a Fisheries and Oceans Canada Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence today, both with salmon stamps. Such licences expire at the end of March, and renewing them around this time of year has become a rite of spring.
I am by no means an avid fisherman, but I enjoy hiking, camping, nature photography, streamkeeping and other outdoor activities, so I like having the proper licences if the opportunity arises to wet a line. I have a couple of inexpensive rods and reels, and a small tackle box with an assortment of enough lures and accessories to be suited to most fishing in western Canada.
I have a cousin who loves fishing, and I’m always learning when I go out with him.
I have store-bought canned fish in the cupboard and frozen fish in the freezer, so I figure if I’m eating fish I might as well kill some myself. It’s a reminder that cans and plastic wrap do not insulate us from nature, though nowadays lots of folks have no idea where their food comes from.
Caught two sockeye on the Fraser River today – the recreational daily limit. Large one just over 7-1/2 pounds, smaller one about a pound less. Cut the bigger one into two “roasts” and a couple of fillets, and the smaller one into cross-cut, bone-on-center, inch-thick steakettes for salting and freezing for Japanese-style broiled breakfast pieces. Thank you sockeye for your sustenance.
And thanks to my cousin who invited me out in his boat, rigged me up properly, and taught me how to bottom bounce for sockeye!
I bought our first wild sockeye of the season at Save-On Foods in Burnaby, BC, today.
It was small, weighing in at 0.686 kg, or about 1.5 lbs. Of course that’s sans head and guts, but it still appeared undersized. All of the sockeye at Save-On looked small. Certainly way smaller than the pinks I fished on the Fraser last year.
Come to think of it, the fish looked not much bigger than a coho jack — a male coho salmon that returns to spawn a year early.
According to the DFO Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Guide, a sockeye “usually weighs between 2.2 kg and 3.1 kg, but can reach 6.3 kg.”
UPDATE: I’ve been looking into this online, Googling and reading academic papers, and have come to the conclusion that while small, this fish was likely not an outlier.
Most research and reporting on fish sizes and weights presents “average” ranges, and it’s hard to find information about what the usual minimum weights are. However I did find the following on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada government website:
“Commercially caught sockeye range in weight from 2 to 9 pounds and are graded according to size: 2-4 lbs., 4-6 lbs., and 6-9 lbs.”
So I guess that 1.5-pound dressed fish was not an outlier.
I was shocked to see that Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC, was running milky for the second day in a row. You can see my photos from yesterday below in an earlier post.
This is the third day in a week that someone has been discharging something into the creek. Volunteer streamkeepers haven’t seen any dead or distressed fish, but this amount of sediment occurring so frequently cannot be good for life in the creek.
The City of Burnaby has been swift to respond, sending out staff to try to backtrack the sources of these illegal discharges. Of course staff cannot say much while investigations are ongoing, but I hope they are successful.
While a fine or two would be great to make perpetrators sit up and take notice, I am generally not gunning for punitive measures. Education and outreach are key in the long run.
UPDATE: As of late afternoon, City staff had traced the source to a broken line on private property that was seeping and carrying silt into a drain. As is often the case, it was unintentional, and will be fixed.
UPDATE 2: As of 6:30 pm, I received a report from another volunteer streamkeeper that a “deluge” of water was passing through Griffith’s Pond, and that she had contacted the City of Burnaby, and had been told there was a watermain break somewhere upstream. How many hits can this poor creek take in a day, much less in a week?
Here’s what Griffith’s Pond near Edmonds Skytrain Station looked like as of 7:00 pm tonight: