September brings us close to the season end of monitoring cutthroat trout on Bee Creek, so the team has decided to drop a couple of sites that have not shown any trout population. One site we dropped is along Cottonwood Lane (Site 5) which hasn’t shown any trout, partly due to the fact that it is landlocked and is a popular for dog swimming. So we will concentrate on sites south of here and explore two new sites that look interesting.
The new site 3 looks promising since Bee Creek creates a fairly deep pool which is seen at the top of the picture. Look closer and you will see the Gee trap neatly submerged. We retrieved two mature healthy cutthroat here, which was interesting in a number of ways. As we get to know the creek, we note that the numbers are smaller approaching October, yet consistent now.
The second new site (now site 4) also showed a healthy 140 mm trout. Located just to the north of site 3, it provides cover where the creek undercuts the bank.
This month we were joined by our neighbour Paulette and her family of helpers; Jay who helped measure the trout, Xavier who gave us GPS readings, Thomas who took the water temperature, and Briana who advised on names for every of the 11 trout retrieved.
At two thirds of the way through the cutthroat monitoring season, we took extra care in gee trap placement this month. The trout are well dispersed throughout the creek and numbers recorded were down. Jordyn joined Daryl and me and recorded a healthy, lively 160 mm cutthroat at site 1 just north of Pendray House.
Sites 2 an 4 continue to show no signs of cutthroat and so we decided to test two new sites throughout this month, to determine if there are any healthy pockets of trout.
Amy and Jordyn took several video shots of the trout being released back into the creek after measuring. You can see the care that is taken!
This month we were joined by new ELSI volunteers Jordyn and Amy, who were very enthusiastic and who handled the young trout with great care. A video showing Jordyn releasing a Cutthroat at site 3…..underwater….taken by Amy, is a wonderful testament to the benefits of volunteerism.
A really good mid summer day, with 12 healthy cutthroat recorded, principally from the mouth of the creek and further upstream on RRU grounds. A surprise at site 3, shown here, was two very small juvenile cutthroat of 40 millimeters.
Site 3 also produced healthy numbers of fresh water shrimp, which can explain why this site attracts consistent numbers of trout.
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.