Kanaka Creek is a small river system. Unlike larger systems such as the Chilliwack River, it only sees the return of several hundreds to thousands of salmon each year. Meanders through a rapidly developing part of Metro Vancouver, it faces many challenges, including pollution, river discharge fluctuation and poaching. Collectively, these challenges can impact the fragile salmon population if actions are not taken.
K.E.E.P.S. is an active stewardship group that ensures the survival of this stream and its inhabitants. By ongoing work at the Bell-Irving Hatchery, habitat enhancement, river patrol and various outreach programs, it has been responsible for the return of these fish each year.
While we were at the event, visitors also received an extra treat when a black bear decided to make a surprising appearance. I managed to capture the last portion of its visit on video.
While many British Columbians are enjoying this exceptionally warm, dry and sunny weather in early October, it is not all good news. Coastal rivers across this province are getting lower each day and returning adult salmon are running out of time to enter their spawning streams. The rain will come, but when it does, it may also cause more trouble for returning salmon. If you have fished for quite awhile, you should remember that in 2006 we also experienced very warm and dry weather throughout most of October. When the rain arrived, the ground could not absorb it fast enough. As the rain fell, river rose to flood level. This sudden changes in discharge can be deadly for both spawning salmon and those eggs that are already in redds. It also cuts down fishing time because the rivers will not recover for many weeks. With that being said, salmon always somehow overcome these environmental extremes and return in large numbers. In fact, we are experiencing some excellent coho salmon returns so far in 2012. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate in the next few weeks by gradually cooling down and sending down some needed water in small quantity each day.
If you live in the Lower Mainland and fish the Chilliwack River, you will notice that water level is at its all-time low. Many anglers have suggested that these conditions make it impossible for salmon to enter the stream, which explains the poor fishing.
While the bulk of the salmon run is still waiting for higher water, fish have definitely been moving into the river for many weeks now. Fishing is challenging when water is lower not due to a lack of fish, but they tend to be easily spooked under heavy fishing pressure.
In the past week, we have been able to connect with several coho salmon. Best fishing is of course at first light when fish are still unaware of their surroundings. Float fishing with a spinner has been great to me, while fishing with roe seems challenging as the bites are too light at times.
On the weekend, we decided to see how many fish were already in the Chilliwack Salmon Hatchery. The channel leading up to the hatchery is indeed quite full of both chinook salmon and coho salmon. Here are a couple of photographs and video. If you still doubt that there are fish in the river, then perhaps these will boost your confidence during your next outing.
May usually marks the stillwater fishing season in the Thompson-Nicola region. Like most lake fishing enthusiasts, we like to load up the boat and head up from Vancouver to catch some fine rainbow trout. There has been a delay this year, due to the late departure of winter, or late arrival of spring, whatever you want to call it. Most lakes had ice on them a couple weeks longer than usual.
A couple of weeks ago, Nina’s family was visiting from Denmark and they wanted us to travel to Lac Le Jeune with them. Several years ago, they visited the area by chance during a stopover to Banff and they really enjoyed the few hours while they were there. I have never been, but have constantly heard fly fishermen bringing it up over the years so was curiously to check it out.
A couple of days before we headed to the lake, I was informed that the lake was still frozen so I chose not to bring my fishing rods. What a mistake that was! I was ready to make a shuttle run back to Vancouver to get them when I saw no ice on the lake upon our arrival. Although I was not able to wet a line, it was going to be a good stay when I noticed the abundance of wildlife in the area.
Our accommodation for the trip was Lac Le Jeune Resort. Normally when we go lake fishing in the Thompson-Nicola region, we either camp or stay at a hotel in Merritt or Kamloops. Never had I expected to find a fine resort in the middle of no where. Lac Le Jeune Resort is not what you’d call a luxury resort, but you can sense its warmth as soon as you step into it. The resort provides two styles of accommodation. You can either stay at the lodge rooms or rent an entire cabin nearby. The resort sits slightly higher than the lake so the view is absolutely breath taking at anytime of the day.
The birds were being fed at the doorstep. One can just stand there and watch them for hours. Our host settled us in right away when we arrived and informed us that dinner would be served at 6:30pm. Already impressed, we were even more pleasantly surprised when it was time to dine. The dining room sits by the lake, so we could watch loons, beavers and of course, trout, splashing about while we ate.
At first Nina and I were concerned that we would not have anything to do at the lake without our fishing rods. The alternatives solved that problem pretty fast. We walked along the lake shore on both days and the wildlife kept us entertained. Nina’s family also thoroughly enjoyed their visit as the lake lived up to their expectation. They were most fascinated by these huge beavers that always seem so busy around the lake. I was able to practice my photography on the birds and squirrels that couldn’t get enough of the feeds on the resort’s patio.
Here is a short video of some of the wildlife footages from Lac Le Jeune.
After seeing some fine rainbow trout jumping on both evenings while we were there, I am now itching to return with my fishing rods.
During our stay at Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa, we visited Weaver Creek spawning channel. This is another highlight that all should check out when visiting Harrison Hot Springs. It was developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the mid 1960s, which aimed to increase spawning opportunities for salmon. Three pacific salmon species can be found at this spawning channel in September and October. They are sockeye, chum and pink salmon.