15 Oct Shore-spawner survey on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake
On October 10 2019, Friends of Kootenay Lake staff along with two volunteers went out on the West Arm to gather data on shore-spawning Kokanee.
Late fall is usually the time when many living systems start to wind down for the winter. Cottonwood leaves start to fall, and larch turns brilliant yellow before losing their needles and shifting into dormancy. Although this is not the case for many others including our neighbor black bears and for spawning kokanee in the tributaries and shoreline of Kootenay Lake. Between September and October, kokanee can be seen in select areas spawning in the gravel shores on the West Arm. They select areas that have lots of oxygen supplied by groundwater upwellings, where they dig their redds and deposit their eggs and milt.
It’s during this time that the known spawning sites are monitored and inventories are taken of redds that can be seen from the shoreline and by boat. This survey on shore-spawners is usually conducted by the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Branch, but this year FOKLSS was able to work with the province to conduct this monitoring for one day with the help of two knowledgable volunteers.
Volunteer Saxon Bowick (pictured left) provided his own boat for the survey, which allowed us to easily run transects of known spawning sites and travel to these sites along a section of the West Arm. Without this ideal vessel and Saxon’s skilled driving, it would have taken our team all day by canoe and car to reach the sites and gather our counts.
Also, a knowledgable retired Fisheries Technician taught our team what to look for when identifying redds, and supervised the count while leading our team to all the sites we wanted to monitor. With this expertise, our survey produced reliable data that will contribute to the ongoing dataset being built on shore-spawners.
This survey will contribute to our baseline data for Phase 2 of our Shore spawning Kokanee Community Education and Habitat Restoration Project, being implemented in 2020.
It’s partnerships and volunteers like these that help FOKLSS do important work around the lake.
Thank you to representatives from FLNRO, and to our FOKLSS volunteers for offering your time to help our shore-spawning kokanee project.
Saxon and FOKLSS Environmental Manager Camille counting redds at Six-mile Bay.
If you would like to know more about shore-spawners, register for our Spotlight on Shore-spawners Workshop on October 21st at Balfour Community Hall.
To help support this and our many other projects, consider making a donation to FOKLSS today