Come see thousands upon thousands of deep red kokanee gathered together at the spawning channel near Meadow Creek at the north end of Kootenay Lake at an Open House on Sunday, September 11, between 11 .00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m.
The event is hosted by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program which is a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It works on behalf of its partners to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife affected by the creation of BC Hydro owned and operated generation facilities. The spawning channel is jointly funded and managed by the FWCP and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO).
Each year between three and five hundred thousand kokanee make their way into the Duncan River at the top end of Kootenay Lake and then “home” into Meadow Creek Spawning Channel.
“A large part of the channel’s success is due to the relatively high and consistent egg-to-fry survival rates,” says FLNRO’s senior fisheries biologist, Jeff Burrows. “In natural streams the egg-to-fry survival rate is usually less than 15%, but due to careful monitoring and management of water flows and spawning gravel condition, the survival rate in this channel is usually just under 50%.” That means for every 100 eggs deposited in the fall, nearly 50 fry exit the channel the following spring. The Channel usually receives more than 40 million eggs each year.
The 3.3 km looping spawning channel was the largest of its kind in the world when it was built in 1967, with BC Hydro funds, compensating for upstream spawning habitat lost due to the construction of Duncan Dam. To this day the channel continues to play a very important role for kokanee; it accounts for about 75% of total kokanee fry production in Kootenay Lake.
While the spawning channel is open to the public for the duration of the spawning season (unless there is unusually high bear activity), the Open House provides an opportunity for the public to ask questions to biologist about the kokanee and the Nutrient Restoration Program of Kootenay Lake.
The spawning channel is located approximately 4km north west of Meadow Creek off Highway 31. For more information on the Open House visit fwcp.ca or call (250) 352 6874.