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Huge kokanee return surprises

Fisheries day is Sunday
by Rob Munro
Courier Staff
Thursday, September 24, 1992

Mission Creek spawning channel is closed.

It was closed earlier this week when Ministry of Environment staff found 16,000 kokanee crowding the channel in Mission Creek Park.

It only has room for about 15,000 spawning kokanee without risking damage to eggs deposited earlier this month.

“It took us a little bit by surprise,” fisheries technician Brian Jantz said today. “When we did a count and it was 16,000, we closed it off immediately.”

The record return of spawning kokanee this year is the result of two factors, Jantz said. One is the quality of the spawning channel itself, which results in a high survival rate of the fry.

For the past few years, fisheries staff also removed eggs from kokanee, took them to a hatchery for the winter then released the fry back into the channel. That means the fish return to the channel to spawn.

“Last year, they didn’t want to go into the channel,” Jantz said. “This year, we had no trouble getting them to go in.”

Kokanee, when they reach the age of three to five years, return to the place they hatched, lay their eggs and die.

These fish will be in the channel for about one more week, Jantz said, so there will be plenty of live kokanee for people to see on Fisheries Awareness Day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

It’s sponsored by three local groups: Oceola Fish and Game Club, Lonely Loon Flyfisher’s Society and Kelowna and District Fish and Game Club.

There will be displays on fish enhancement projects, fly-casting and fly-tying techniques along with native Indian fisheries practices.

Proceeds from the sale of food and refreshments will be used to fund educational tours for elementary schools.