With the weather warming up, Rod and I were happy to see increased numbers of young cutthroat in Bee Creek, this month. All locations with the exception of Site 2 produced trout, with nine cutthroat ranging from 70 to 150 mms in Site 3.
Healthy numbers of freshwater shrimp were also noted in Site 3, suggesting that the trout are following the food source.
We retrieved 18 trout in all mostly close to the creek source and further upstream on Royal Roads property.
Comparing data between this and last year will help to identify any relevant trends.
A wonderful start to the season with a visit from Beth, her son and grandchildren. A very rainy day for the trap placement on Saturday was followed by a sunny day where we retrieved ten cutthroat, ranging in size from 60 to 180 millimeters.
We now have a full year of online recording to compare results, which will show the health of Bee Creek.
Site 1 has undergone additional work to revert stream flow back to its original path. Most of the trout retrieved were found in the lower parts of the creek, just north of Pendray House. Sites 2,3 and 4 did not show any activity yet, despite healthy water flow and cool waters.
By mid January work began on the extension to the spawning channel. It was a chance to learn more about the habits and life of cutthroat. A fairly wide deep channel was dug and ground water from phase one and two connected. On both sides of the channel, shelves were shaped to support planting. On the base of the channel large rocks and tree trunks were placed to for a natural habitat to provide shelter.
Our most interesting month to date, since we dropped a trap at site 5 (blue) for a day and caught nine healthy cutthroat. This one from Site 4 shown above measured 190 millimeters. The only other trout to reach this size was site 5.
Site 5 (blue) was the big surprise. It is located just east of site 1 (yellow) where the trout face the change of flow of Bee Creek. The creek has pushed under the concrete dam at site 1 and has carved out a channel cutting ( dotted yellow line) off the original path of the creek.
During the summer of 2018, this part of the creek bed became dry.
This month Andrew and Haley joined Rod, Daryl and me for the trap placement and retrieval. It was really wonderful to see their scientific minds at work. Haley asks such great questions and enthusiastically recorded the data, while Andrew was keen to learn how to measure and handle the trout.
Hopefully Haley and Andrew will continue to be part of our team…..it was great to share the experience with them.
Continuing to trap for one hour below Site 1, we retrieved three cutthroat in an hour.
In August we were joined by Judy and we realized that Site 1 needed our attention. One trout and one sculpin were trapped, so we decided to leave a trap just east of site 1 (blue) to see what would happen.
We trapped one healthy cutthroat in an hour
The stream passes site 1 (yellow) and curls around a concrete dam. During the summer of 2017, when water levels lowered, the stream pushed it way under the concrete dam, leaving the stream bed dry.
Sites 1 (yellow) and 2 (red) have not produced many cutthroat.
July was a special month since we were joined by Beth Mitchel, and had the benefit of her experience and wisdom. We talked about Bee Creek, the spawning channel, construction and the future of Bee Creek.
The spawning channel is of special interest. A channel was dug to allow trout a quiet, safe place to spawn.
The channel dried out this summer since it was fed by run-off from nearby residences.
Until the rains start and run-off builds up, the spawning channel wont be able to support cutthroat.
In May, we started to learn how and why we monitor creeks that feed into Esquimalt Lagoon. Judy and I walked to each of four sites at Havenwood and we set four Gee traps, loaded with smoked oysters. Small trout swim in the either end of the trap as it lies on the creek bed and are unable to swim out.
The next day, we retrieved the trap, poured the water and trout into a bucket. After measuring each one carefully, they were gently returned to the creek. Trout were measured easily by placing them into a plastic bag which had a ruler at the bottom.