by Jean Russell
Staff Writer Capital News
Sunday, September 17, 1995
Local efforts will be celebrated on Sept. 24, Rivers Day in B.C., with the opening of the $300,000 in renovations to the kokanee spawning channel on Mission Creek in Kelowna.
The channel was first opened in 1988. It runs adjacent to Mission Creek and extends for about one kilometre along its border. The channel can accommodate up to 20,000 kokanee during the spawning season which runs for about three weeks from mid-September to early October. Last year about 30,000 spawners were counted in the entire length of Mission Creek.
The spawning channel enhances a kokanee’s breeding success by providing it with the right environment to do what it does naturally. The creek bed is spread with gravel that is the exactly the right size for the fresh water fish to scoop a shallow nest, called a redd, and lay eggs which are then fertilized by the male.
“This way we get a better survival of the eggs,” said Ron Taylor from the B.C. Wildlife Federation, “and then a better survival of the alevins – the very tiny kokanee once it’s lost its egg sac.”
Elsewhere along the creek the bed is a jumble of everything from rocks to fine sand and its difficult for the fish to dig a nest. The tiny fish will stay in the channel and creek until March.
The renovations to the spawning channel were paid for by licence fees from fishers, hunters and trappers in the province. Five dollars from every licence goes into the fund.
The last Sunday of every September has been Rivers Day in British Columbia since 1980. In other locations around B.C., it will be celebrated with family paddles, picnics and walks by shore lines.