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Quinsam River Chinook salmon release program underway

Janeen and Phil Griffith feeding the small salmon at the netpen. Don Daniels photo

A total of 218,700 chinook salmon weighing in at 6.01 grams have emerged from the gravel at the Quinsam Hatchery and moved to a pen at Fisherman’s Wharf from where they will soon be released.

Thanks to sponsors like Quinsam Hatchery and Fisheries and Oceans Canada and many volunteers and community minded groups in Campbell River, these baby salmon will provide recreational anglers a chance to catch a salmon in years to come. These salmon also feed seals, birds and whales in Discovery Passage.

Incubated at the Quinsam Hatchery, the salmon emerge from the gravel, taste the freshwater and then get introduced to the saltwater before release. I had been contacted by Phil Griffith and was invited to come out and watch the feeding of the fish. You can walk around the pen and watch the feeding taking place. A schedule is set out and each feeding is between 10 and 16 kilograms of feed.

About six or eight seals are watching below and they try to get their nose into the net. A finer net over the enclosure keeps birds from landing and taking out baby salmon. Volunteers placed the netpen in the water April 10 and when the fish get to a proper size, the pen will be moved and the salmon released.

In the past two weeks, there has been an increase of traffic between Campbell River and Sayward. Campers have begun moving in for the fishing and boating season and seasonal campers will make their way from the Prairie provinces to their site where they will remain until October. Salmon fishing has been at a low level and this will change after July 15 but other species of fish can be caught and retained. Please check current regulations in each area before heading out.

I had a chance to check out Echo Lake recently and the fishing was slow, water temperature is cold and activity such as rising fish was noticed in late evening. Any trout caught at Echo will be a carryover fish from stocking done over the past two years. The next trout stocking will not be until the fall. Signs are posted around the lake,

Illegal bass were introduced last year and measures are taking place to catch these fish and get rid of them.

Catch reports from Reginald Lake have been slow but a better choice is Beavertail for trout and kokanee. Reginald is fly fishing only and catch and release. In any lake you can retain kokanee.

I’m off to Ucluelet for my fly-tying session and I have been invited to try out fly-fishing for lings and one of the guys had said it’s like catching a barn door with a tail. On the fly I have set up a few patterns from the Kamloops area and will try them out locally. They include traditional patterns such as Carey Special, Doc Spratley and Knouff Lake Special.