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 salmon 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 and transferred to specially designed tank and trailers for transport upstream above the falls.
With care, the fish are then put in another small through which a new tube was installed. The fish go down the tube into the water where they can continue spawning cycle.
The environmental science 12 classes from Shawnigan Lake School worked together to net the fish and transfer them into a trailer to bring to the hatchery. All of this was done under the careful supervision and permission of the DFO and the volunteers involved in the Mill Bay Conservation Society. Big thank you to Ken Gray who coordinated the catch and transfer of brood stock.
Click on the image to watch the video
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