A photo of juvenile Coho Salmon in Allen Canyon Creek taken August 2nd.
Allen Canyon Creek has lost most of it’s aquatic life in the last few years. We have experienced an increased summer heat and drought since 2014. In the past, when flows diminished, fish and other aquatic organisms could stay in a few pools until late summer or fall rains could restore flows. In recent years even those pools dried up. In the past, these pools contained Coho fry, bluegill, sculpins, shiners, and a species of asian loach. However after the creek went dry in 2020, Allen Canyon Creek had almost no fish.
This year has been different. We had plenty of rain last winter and flows were high at the beginning of summer. Earlier this summer, I thought I saw a few fish near our incubator site but was not able to get a view. The slighest movement would send them into hiding. Earlier this week, I set a camera that could take time lapse photos underwater. Setting the camera up and leaving would allow the fish to come out of hiding and hopefully get a photo that would I.D. them.
When I put the photos in my computor, I was surprised to see a pool full of juvenile Coho Salmon. The state has not given us eggs since 2019. So, these little Coho must be the offspring of adult salmon that have returned from the Pacific. That is the best news about this creek in some time. I’ve done a bit of walking downstream and have found several other pools and each has many Coho.
This year is the first year that there is still some flow on the creek this late in the year, but it is just a trickle now. We need a little bit of rain soon if these fish are going to survive.
By Paul Snoey