How we measure success: the fall fish counts

Chum and coho salmon were back as usual in Quadra streams last fall, and QISES members were walking the stream banks counting them. Volunteers walked sections of Drew, Open Bay, Village Bay, Hyacinthe and Granite Creeks at least once a week in a two-month period. Besides counting, observers took note of stream flow, fish obstructions, predators, stream bank integrity, water temperature and clarity. Numbers of living and dead fish were recorded. A tally sheet was created for each stream showing the estimated total number of fish entering the watercourse. The information was sent to Department of Fisheries and Oceans for their records.


A counting fence installed near the mouth of Hyacinthe Creek in the late 1980s

The numbers thus recorded provide a snapshot of what's happening stream by stream across the island. It's not, however, an absolute count. Some fish enter the watercourse at night, moving swiftly upstream without being seen. Smaller streams may require higher water flows for fish to transit, and a monitor's timing may simply be wrong for seeing them. 

The numbers of salmon returns for 2016 were:

Drew Creek: 2 coho and 47 chum

Open Bay Creek: 11,294 chum and 5 coho

Village Bay Creek: 2386 chum, 183 coho and 7 jacks

Granite Creek: 1638 chum, 49 coho

Hyacinthe Creek: 7900 chum and 3 coho

Klunis Creek (Herriot Bay): 20 chum

Caulfield Creek (Open Bay): 37 chum

Hy Cr mouth

Hyacinthe Creek, downstream from the bridge at the estuary

A new counting fence at the outlet of Village Bay Lake has been active since 2009.  Observers man the fence twice a day to count salmon and allow their passage into the lake system. QISES is fortunate in having two Village Bay Lake residents, Lauren Miller and Larry Hafemeister, who volunteer to do the majority of the counting at the fence.


Spawners at a counting fence waiting to continue their journey

Numbers of returning salmon show a lot of variance year to year. There are many factors that affect whether or not the fish survive. Instream temperatures, rainfall patterns, and mortality rates in the oceans are just a few of them.

To all our volunteer stream keepers and walkers, as well as to upland owners, our huge thanks! It's our hope that, with your help, Quadra streams can maintain an increasing level of health, so that the salmon will come back year after year.

2013 Count on Open Bay2013 Count on Open Bay Creek


2013 Chum2013 Spawning Chum


Read more about:

• What we do

• What we've learned about stream keeping

• The necessity of drought-proofing

. The EcoCentre