Slamgeesh Lake Smolt Sampling Project 2009

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Abstract

After a gap of three years, we reinitiated smolt sampling for sockeye and coho at Slamgeesh Lake. A novel design velocity barrier fyke trap was fabricated and installed at the outlet of Slamgeesh Lake. It was attached to two trusses of the adult weir constructed in 2007. The sockeye smolt catch was 20% of the total run. This run is estimated as 30,254 ± 1567. This is a median value for the six years of record. The coho smolt catch was 5% of the total run. The coho smolt run is estimated as 51,046 ± 10,927, a relatively high value. Rigourous freshwater productivity estimates as smolts/female spawner will require one more year of data collection because smolts of both species leave after one and two years of residence. However since in the years we have sampled no more than a few percent of the sockeye are two year smolts, we can make a minimum estimate for sockeye production of 146 smolts/female. This is the highest value of five years for Slamgeesh Lake and relatively high compared to other sockeye lakes in BC. It appears that Slamgeesh sockeye have highly productive freshwater habitat and the serious declines in adult returns of the past decade are due to problems in the marine realm.