Shawnigan Creek is not a natural spawning creek for Coho because of a number of waterfalls at the bottom of the creek, making it impossible for the Coho to pass.
However, in 1979 it was determined that the upper part of the creek has great spawning areas. DFO and volunteers decided that as a precaution in case anything happened to Goldsteam, smolts would be introduced into Shawnigan Creek.
In 1981, the first Coho returned to Shawnigan Creek. Volunteers carried these fish in nets 110 feet up the steep bank from the mouth of the creek, and transported them in garbage cans above the falls.
We changed the process to make it less stressful for the salmons and less labour intensive for the volunteers. Let's find out below the new process.
Every year, Coho salmon find their way back into the Shawnigan Creek.
Today, there is a concrete fish trap beside the falls that the Coho can swim into. Inside the trap, there are other cages that they are put into to protect them from otters and poachers.
They are then passed up to the troughs above on the second floor where a group of people will place them in a transfer metal tank.
The Coho are hauled up the bank on a rail system.
The fish are then counted, sex determined and transferred to specially designed tank and trailers for transport upstream above the falls.
With care, the fish are then transported by hand for release back into Shawnigan Creek, where they can continue spawning cycle.
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Mill Bay and District Conservation Society - All rights reserved