Skip to main content

Kokanee enhancement efforts now paying off

by Judie Steeves
Staff Writer, Capital News
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 1991

All the volunteer work on fish enhancement for spawning kokanee is beginning to show in this year’s increased numbers of returning fish to local streams.

Okanagan Lake’s major spawning creek, Mission Creek, and the recently constructed spawning channel for that creek show numbers of fish returning this fall to that area more than triple the previous year’s returns.

Bruce Shepherd, senior fisheries biologist in the valley for the ministry of the environment, admits it’s frustrating for volunteers to work in a stream but not see any increased numbers of spawners for four years.

Since three or four years pass before hatching kokanee return to their stream of birth to spawn, it takes that long for results of enhancement projects to show.

However, this year there are dramatic increases in the returns to Mission Creek and the spawning channel created there in 1988, and this is the first year for adult returns of those hatchery fish.

An estimated 94,300 kokanee returned this year to the creek, and 21,500 to the channel; compared to 25,000 and 6,000 last year; 20,000 and 7,000 in 1989.

In other creeks where enhancement work has been underway Shepherd expects to see larger increases next year.

All major spawning streams except Trepanier and Shorts Creeks on the Westside have undergone enhancement work, he noted, and both those creeks could benefit from some volunteer work now.

Spawning numbers on Powers Creek have increased this fall to 17,900 from 13,100 last year and 7,100 the previous year; while numbers on Peachland (Deep) Creek in Peachland have actually decreased slightly to 7,800 this year from 8,100 the previous year, but up from 6,200 the previous year.

Any group interested in sponsoring a project on either Trepanier or Shorts Creek can contact Shepherd at 1-800-642-8256.