Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers



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Mission: We are dedicated to protecting and restoring local wild fish habitat.

Fish Count

Fish Counting in our Urban Creeks

In 2021 we undertook a new approach to counting fish in Grandon and Beach Creeks. We did some “pool seining” under the direction of fisheries biologist Dave Clough. Over 20 volunteers did the seining one day in September in both creeks.

Grandon Creek
Grandon Creek runs from the foot of Crescent Road West upstream to Hoy Lake Road, where further fish transit is impeded by the railway. While it is a relatively short run, Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers have often found coho smolt in the pools and occasionally detected spawners. In a pilot “pool" in 2020 we found 22 cutthroat trout. In September we counted 65 coho, and 35 cutthroat in three sampled pools. An encouraging result!

Beach Creek 
From the Headwaters near Pheasant Glen Golf Course, coursing through farmland past Kwalikum Secondary School, through the Heritage Forest and Memorial Golf Course and out to sea at the foot of Memorial, Beach Creek has long been a home stream to coho. In August, the Memorial Golf Course dredged an irrigation pond to remove sediment. This necessitated the removal of the fish in the pond for relocation upstream. Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers found over 300 coho salmon smolt and 80 resident cutthroat trout. 

In September we seined two pools - one just downstream from the new culvert next to Village Way, and a second further downstream accessed from the end of Chester Road near the Heritage Forest. Several dozen more coho and cutthroat trout were counted, which is good production from short pool sections in the stream. 

The findings in both creeks this year is noteworthy during a particularly dry and hot summer, and points out the critical role that groundwater plays in supporting fish populations. The coho spend at least one year in the freshwater streams before migrating out to sea, and thus are dependent on stream water during the summer months. The cutthroat trout are resident in the creeks.

We will capture and count fish in pools in both streams over a 3 year period, and the resulting data will be used to produce an estimate of overall fish populations.

History of Fish Counting

Prior to pool seining, one of our major efforts was the development of a fish counting process at Grandon Creek.

Twenty-two years ago, the construction of the new culvert with fish ladders enabled the return of spawning salmon to Grandon Creek.

Coho SmoltIn the intervening years, spawning coho salmon  have been identified each year in November and December, and young coho smolts have been regularly found in the many pools upstream between Crescent Road and Hoylake Road.  Much work has been done to improve habitat, including the deepening of pools, stabilization of banks and planting of hundreds of native trees and plants to create shade and cover.

In 2017, Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers undertook a count of the number of coho salmon smolt migrating to the sea.

Cutthroat Smolt The fish fence and counting box were installed on March 23 with the assistance of DFO fisheries advisor Dave Davies and fisheries biologist Dave Clough.

Each day at 9 am, volunteers opened, the box, counted and measured the fish that entered the box through the access pipe.  Coho smolt were released downstream, and resident cutthroat trout upstream.

This lovely cutthroat (above) visited our trap in early May. It is sometimes challenging to distinguish between a Coho smolt and a trout.  One of the distinguishing features of the Coho is the oblong spots along it's side while trout feature a round spot.