Kokanee numbers continue to climb in Wood Lake spawning tributary

Second highest count recorded this year with 36,000 kokanee entering Middle Vernon Creek to spawn

Volunteers work a kokanee fishing counting fence on Middle Vernon Creek earlier this fall.

More than 36,000 Wood Lake kokanee entered Middle Vernon Creek to spawn this fall, pointing to a continued rebound of the kokanee fishery in the lake.

Volunteers from UBC Okanagan joined the Oceola Fish and Wildlife Club to count fish from Sept. 22 to Oct. 22 this fall at the club’s fish-counting fence on Middle Vernon Creek as it hits Remke Road.

“These are very positive numbers,” said Danny Coyne, a member of the Oceola club.

“Things are trending upwards. This year’s water levels were exceptional in the creek, mainly due to the flows from Duck Lake and all the rain we had.

“There is no problem with spawning habitat. There is nothing really wrong with the creek.

“There is plenty of room for them to spawn.”

Kokanee in Wood Lake have been on the rebound since a collapse in 2012, as evidenced by the numbers of spawners counted at the fish fence for the past four years.

In 2014, there were just 9,000 fish counted while that number grew to about 21,000 last year.

This year’s 36,000 is the highest number since the club started counting fish at the fence.

Prior to that, the provincial government used a different method to count fish and only 1999 saw a higher number of spawners recorded in Middle Vernon Creek than this year.

“In our club’s opinion, this definitely supports the position that the kill we had in 2012 was more in-lake conditions than spawning habitat,” said Coyne.

“With the numbers trending upwards it shows as long we control the level of water in the spawning grounds we should have a sustainable fishery in Wood Lake.”

Coyne did caution that things can change quickly, especially if there is a hot summer as opposed to this past summer that saw regular rainfall keep Middle Vernon Creek from going dry.

The provincial government controls flows to the creek with a monitoring station at Duck Lake, allowing it to release water from Duck Lake to keep water flowing through Middle Vernon Creek when it gets dangerously low.

“Even though we are seeing a good fishery now, things can change due to warm climate,” said Coyne.

“If we get a warmer summer next year it could change all the progression and turn it backwards.”

The average size of kokanee spawners this year was 34 centimetres while there were also some large fish counted, including three over 50 centimetres.

About 95 per cent of Wood Lake kokanee spawn in Middle Vernon Creek while a small number spawn in Winfield Creek.

Coyne said this year’s count was aided by the assistance of sixteen students from UBC Okanagan’s fresh water and earth sciences program.

“We couldn’t have done it without those UBC students stepping up,” he said, noting that counting was done at night as well.

“It was the most engaged group of students I have ever dealt with.”

Just Posted

Expert to speak on extinction of species and humanity’s peril in Kelowna

UBCO will host Conservation ecologist Corey Bradshaw Nov. 20

Men caught on video stealing bait car in Kelowna

Two men stole a bait car in Kelowna

More affordable housing for seniors opens in Kelowna

Third and final building at the Apple Valley complex on Benvoulin Road opens

Kelowna writer of controversial Conservative Facebook post apologizes

Writer suggested Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan got his job because of affirmative action

Stuart Park outdoor rink to reopen for winter

The outdoor ice rink is scheduled to be open Dec. 1

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

B.C. to fund gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people

Roughly 100 people in B.C. travel each year out of province for lower surgeries

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to B.C. goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

UK’s May appeals to public on Brexit, braces for more blows

British Prime Minister Theresa May answered questions from callers on a radio phone-in, the day after she vowed to stay in office

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

$136M in transit funding coming to B.C.

The announcement was made at the BC Transit yard in Langford on Friday morning

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Two B.C. police officers, held in Cuba for months, cleared of sex assault allegations

Port Moody Const. Jordan Long and Vancouver Const. Mark Simms have been in Cuba since March

Most Read