The Salmon are near!

Report for October 21, 2012 by Rich Yarges

I checked out Maloney Creek today for signs of our returning salmon. At the bridge under the old cascade hwy there was a good flow. JoAnne said she measured 4 inches under the bridge last week. The water is clear, shallow and running fast. I took a picture.

 

 It wasn’t raining today, but it has been for the last week or so, and sometimes hard. You can see signs of the higher water. All the leaves have been swept out of the main channel and a half foot up the bank as well. The water is so clear and shallow; if there were adult salmon in the creek here you would see them. I didn’t see any.
I entered the creek again at Thelma Street and walked downstream a few hundred yards. The flow looked good, but I saw no fish; neither fingerlings nor adults. I took a picture at the former end of the Creek.  

 

It sure looks different now.

Then, as I was walking back upstream, I noticed a few salmon eggs lying among the stones on the the bank near the water. There were 15 or 20 that I could see. Here are some pictures.

How did they get there? I can think of several possibilities, but the most likely one is that there were already salmon spawning up here when the water was higher. Look as I might, however, I could not see any salmon at all in the creek. The plot thickens. I will keep looking.
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6 Responses to The Salmon are near!

  1. Bob Boggs says:

    During my rounds on Tuesday, October 23rd, I observed salmon in the swimming hole in the Tye River along the Foss River Road. The salmon were staying in the deep parts of the river. Very cool to see! Hope we’ll have similar sightings in Maloney Creek soon.

  2. Clint Stanovsky says:

    Rich, JoAnne and Bob — Thanks for keeping an eye out for the salmon! Both the pictures and the words are great –s lively reminder to me (high and dry, as I am in Denver) of the place we all love.

    Based on your observations, would you say that most of the fry that you wrote about before the rain (at the lower end of the wet portion of the channel, before the water went subsurface) survived, and made it out during the first rains? If so, it would seem that last year’s dredging may have added significantly to this year’s survival rate –especially considering this year’s extreme dry conditions. Remember that last September, just before we deepened the channel, we relocated about 2300 fry from pools in the channel.

    If you can, could you also keep an eye on the water level and fish activity in the Former Maloney Cr. West wetland? It would be good to document whether (and if so, how) our work in the channel may have affected the wetland. In theory, we didn’t remove enough sediment from the creek to affect water levels in the wetland. They should be working together to provide refuge/habitat for fish.

    Keep up the good work. I’ll check the blog every day!

    Best to you all,
    Clint

    • Rich says:

      Clint,
      Thanks for your comments. Do I think most of the fingerlings survived? I am sure that many downstream of the creek end that I saw died because they were trapped in little puddles that eventually dried up completely. I would say that none of the ones I saw died because the creek dried up any further, since I am certain the creek upstream of the “end” remained contiguous until the rain came. However, the ones I saw were crowded in such shallow water that they sure would have been easy prey for a heron or perhaps a racoon. I was worried about that. But I do believe that most of the ones I saw made it to the Skykomish River. At least that is what I would like to believe.

      Rich

  3. Cleve Steward says:

    Rich and JoAnne,
    The SEI website and blog are très chic. I can’t tell from the photos, but are the salmon eggs eyed? Did you notice a tiny black dot below the surface of the egg? If yes, then the eggs were fertilized over two weeks ago. This seems unlikely since lower Maloney Creek was dry for several weeks up until the recent rains. More likely, these are eggs deposited in redds dug by female coho that entered the stream with the first freshet, and that were subsequently dislodged by high flows.
    Once flows subside, you should find out how many coho redds are present in lower reach of Maloney Creek, and how far upstream they occur.
    -Cleve

  4. JoAnne says:

    Rich, This is so cool! Your observations and photos are awesome. I’ll be sending out this SEI salmon watch website address to others today, so more folks can start participating in the blog.

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