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The Steelhead Review Newsletter

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LOWER MAINLAND (REGION 2):
FOCUS WATERSHEDS
Big Silver | Silverhope | Coquihalla

Focus watersheds west

BIG SILVER CREEK (HARRISON LAKE) WATERSHED
Big Silver Creek (Harrison Lake) Watershed Details
Big Silver Creek Watershed Map Code: 110599000
4th Order
Wild Stock Trend: Unknown, likely declining (on account of low productivity)
Wild Stock Status:
Special Concern
Class: Augmented (5 TO 10K fry)
Recent Wild Steelhead Escapements: < 50 Winter Run
Angling Regulations: Wild Steelhead Catch and Release (Very few fish ever reported in catch, none reported in 2001.)

Estimated Steelhead Capacity & Returning Adults (assuming 13% marine survival):

  • Unavailable

EXISTING HABITAT: 9 km accessible length, Very low productivity - biomass 80-g/unit limits potential Sediment problems, 24% pf watershed has been logged, low summer flows

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • Some work done under WRP and by DFO.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Monitor any fishing activity and wild stock levels
  • Pursue opportunities for habitat restoration.

IDENTIFIED RECOVERY OPTIONS

  • Undertake gravel placement.
  • Install well-anchored LWD complexing and refuge alcoves;
  • Initiate an annual stream enrichment program.

NOTES: Consult records re restoration and stocking to date. This is a much bigger system than "Creek" would indicate and supports an improving sockeye escapement. However SHQ shows very little reported steelhead angling.

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Big Silver Creek (Harrison Lake) Adult Assessment

Chart: Big Silver Creek Catch and Effort Steelhead Harvest Analysis Data (1968 to 2002)

PDF version (40KB PDF, opens in new browser window)

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Big Silver Creek (Harrison Lake) Watershed Map

Map: Big Silver Creek Watershed

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SILVERHOPE CREEK WATERSHED
Silverhope Creek Watershed Details
Silverhope Creek Watershed Map Code: 100112900
5th Order
Wild Stock Trend: Relatively Stable
Wild Stock Status
(Winter Run):
Special Concern
Wild Stock Status
(Summer Run)
Conservation Concern/Routine Management
Class: Wild (Previously stocked with Steelhead fry to supplement natural production but was discontinued many years ago.)
Recent Wild Steelhead Escapements: 100 - 300 Summer Run, Winter Run Not Assessed - believed to be very small
Angling Regulations: Wild Steelhead Catch and Release, Bait Ban, Fly Fishing upstream of Silver lake (Aug./Sept.) , Area closures
Mean Annual Effort: Long term 1968-1996: 486 / Recent 1997-2001: 241
Best 5 years 1968-1972 mean annual effort: 1209
Mean Annual Catch: Long term 1968- 1996: 146 / Recent 1997-2000: 191

Estimated Steelhead Capacity as Returning Adults (assuming 13% marine survival):

  • 3100 smolts /400 adults (based on a review of existing information).
  • Conservation Concern Level @ 30% of capacity is approx. 120 adults
Existing Habitat:
Watershed area (km2):
350
Comments
Mean annual discharge (m3/s):
14.4
Lake, high productivity below - biomass 300 g/unit, parr habitat limited by few large woody debris and boulder reach extent. Logging damage in upper watershed, road in riparian area has resulted in bank armoring for flood protection with resulting impacts on stream morphology and steelhead habitat. Major damage from flooding in 1989/1990 in upper watershed above lake - streambed is very mobile.
Summer baseflow (%mad)
31%
accessible length (km):
19
Productivity (below Silver Lake):
high

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • WRP - off-channel work in stream above lake

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Return / maintain wild summer run stocks at approx. 300 adult return or better supporting 500 rod-days of effort.
  • Upgrade existing summer steelhead stock assessment and obtain basic stock information on winter steelhead. (Consider using the stable Silver lake outlet as a smolt and adult enumeration location.
  • Ensure Fraser River net fisheries are conducted as selectively as possible to reduce SH by catch
  • Develop a management plan and coordinate efforts to protect and rehabilitate habitats and set and enforce protection standards in consideration of very heavy general recreational use within the floodplain of upper Silverhope.
  • Lacks salmon spawning carcasses in upper watershed to provide marine nutrients, check enrichment possibilities.

IDENTIFIED RECOVERY OPTIONS

  • Needs Well-anchored LWD complexing and refuge areas to provide pool habitat in channelized sections;
  • Remove/relocate road in riparian and channel areas of floodplain.

NOTES: System is performing reasonably well at present. Any future enrichment and restoration activities should be integrated with general watershed recovery work required by forestry companies. By catch has been equal to returns according to past CWT data.

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Silverhope Creek Watershed Adult Assessment

Chart: Silverhope Creek Catch and Effort Steelhead Harvest Analysis Data (1968 to 2002)

PDF version (40KB PDF, opens in new browser window)

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Silverhope Creek Watershed Juvenile Assessment

Silverhope Creek downstream view © BCCFSilverhope Creek upstream view © BCCF

Silverhope Creek downstream view © BCCFYola Creek upstream view © BCCF

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Silverhope Creek Watershed Map

Map: Silverhope Creek Watershed

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COQUIHALLA RIVER
WATERSHED
Coquihalla River Watershed Details
Coquihalla River Map Code: 100115400 5th Order
Wild Stock Trend: Fluctuating with Some Recovery (2000,2001)
Wild Stock Status
(Winter Run):
Special Concern
Wild Stock Status
(Summer Run):
Conservation Concern/ Routine Management (Last 2 years)
Class: Augmented (Stocked from 1978 to date with 24K Coquihalla summer run smolts raised at Abbotsford and Chehalis)
Recent Wild Steelhead Escapements: 200 - 500 Summer Run, <50 Winter Run (23 this year)
Angling Regulations: With the exception of a 6-week opening in 1996, river has been closed to summer steelhead angling since 1993; catch and release of wild fish from Nov 1 to April 31 for winter steelhead angling below lower railway tunnel, closed year-round further upstream
Mean annual effort: Long term 1968-1996: 783 / Recent 1997-2001: 168
Best 5 years 1968-70, 87, 90 : 1368 rod-days
Mean Annual catch: Long term 1968- 1996: 236 / Recent 1997-2001: 156

Estimated Steelhead Capacity & Returning Adults (assuming 13% marine survival):

  • 700-summer run and 300 winter run adults (based on a review of existing information and current conditions).
  • Conservation Concern Level @ 30% of capacity is approx. 210 summer run and 90 winter run adults
Existing Habitat:
 
Watershed area (km2):
741
  Comments
Mean annual discharge (m3/s):
33
  Upper 22km summer run habitat; moderate productivity - biomass 220 g/unit. Major highway and pipeline corridor, urbanization in lower reaches below Coquihalla Canyon Park, lacks large wood and pools. Periodic sediment events beginning in 1985. Extensive floodplain development near the confluence with the Fraser River has destroyed habitat.
Accessible length (km):
33.5
 
Productivity:
moderate
 

SPECIAL HABITAT PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS

  • Ensure sensitive logging practices are followed consistent with current standards and codes.
  • Evaluate past mitigation works designed to alleviate highway and pipeline corridor impacts - rebuild or modify as necessary and develop and implement an improved habitat protection and restoration plan for the watershed.
  • Reduce flood plain incursions and minimize damage from flood control activities.
  • Minimize sedimentation impacts from transportation corridor construction activities.

HABITAT RESTORATION TO DATE

  • Mitigation works built to offset highway impacts - these have not been durable.
  • LWD placements and restructured off-channel habitat on Karen Creek.

STEELHEAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

  • Rebuild/maintain a minimum 300 steelhead adult return capable of supporting a quality angling experience through augmentation as required and by restoring habitats and evaluating and fine-tuning regulations.
  • Prepare to introduce limited access angling in 2003 directed at summer run fish subject to an in-season assessment of summer run abundance.
  • Continue to limit brood stock capture to 15 summer run pairs and ensure first priority is to stock Coquihalla for fishery augmentation with any surplus available for transfer to Chehalis.
  • Upgrade existing stock assessment on both summer and winter runs.
  • Conduct Fraser River net fisheries as selectively as possible to reduce steelhead by catch

IDENTIFIED RECOVERY OPTIONS

  • Provide better-anchored large wood to create pool habitats.
  • Provide off channel stable habitats with spawning gravels.
  • Conduct an annual stream enrichment program.
  • Institute a guardian program to reduce poaching.

NOTES: River commercial net fisheries have been significantly curtailed in recent years but FN net fisheries directed on CN overlap Coquihalla Summer Steelhead run timing in Fraser River.

The existing augmentation program has been carried on primarily to provide consistent production through periodic sediment events and to offset interceptions in net fisheries. If these impacts can be minimized, augmentation can be used primarily to support angling. Surplus returning hatchery adults should be available in many years to support a quality angling experience. (An in-season assessment of summer run abundance would be required prior a fishery opening.) Access controls are recommended and full protection of wild summer run fish from potential higher than usual catch and release mortality also needs to be in place. Access permits could be utilized to raise some revenues for a guardian program and/or steelhead assessment.

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Coquihalla River Watershed Adult Assessment

Chart: Coquihalla River Catch and Effort Steelhead Harvest Analysis Data (1968 to 2002)

PDF version (40KB PDF, opens in new browser window)

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Coquihalla River Watershed Juvenile Assessment

Coquihall River upstream view © BCCFCoquihalla River upstream view © BCCF

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Coquihalla River Watershed Map

Map: Coquihalla River Watershed

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© BC Conservation Foundation 2003-2006
3-1200 Princess Royal Avenue • Nanaimo • BC V9S 3Z7
Tel. 250.716.8776 • Fax 250.716.2167

www.steelheadrecoveryplan.ca info@steelheadrecoveryplan.ca