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Bear Creek kokanee spawning in jeopardy

Kelowna Daily Courier
Monday, September 12, 1988

Kokanee are beginning their journeys up Okanagan creeks, but the good will of some irrigation districts may determine the success of this year’s spawning activities .
Dave Jones, Ministry of Environment habitat biologist, said Bear Creek in particular is in jeopardy unless the Lakeview Irrigation District increases its flow of water into the creek.

“Lakeview can divert the entire flow of the stream into Rose Valley,” Jones said. “We rely on their good will and their surplus water.”

The creek is almost dry now and the kokanee will start to spawn within the next few days.

In the past, Jones said, Lakeview has been co-operative in providing the water. He will contact them within the next few days to solicit their support again this year.

Bear Creek provides spawning grounds for about 1,000 kokanee out of perhaps 60,000 that may spawn this year in streams feeding Okanagan Lake.

While the survival rate from the artificial grounds is expected to be 70 to 80 per cent compared to two to four per cent in natural streams, Jones said there needs to be a variety of options for spawning in case something goes wrong in the enhanced grounds.

Fish are unlikely to seek alternate sites if a creek dries up. They are more likely to spawn near the lake shore, where all the eggs will probably die, Jones said.

The kokanee run will peak during the first two weeks of October, Jones said, but it will be four years before the large numbers that hatch next spring in Mission and Mill Creeks will return to spawn.