Fall is around the corner and it’s that “redd” time of year again; not the colour of the leaves, but when the kokanee head up local streams and rivers to dig their redds (gravel nests) and spawn. And Meadow Creek spawning channel, near the north end of Kootenay Lake, is a great place to view them, especially during the free, annual open house between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 12.
The channel is managed by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and primarily funded by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program. It is located about four kilometers west of Meadow Creek.
The open house provides a great opportunity to talk to biologists and field technicians, and view the fish at (or near) the peak of their run. There will also be information about grizzly bears, BearSmart, and the nutrient restoration program in Kootenay Lake.
“Typically there are tens of thousands of spawning kokanee to be viewed together each year,” said Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program Columbia region manager Crystal Klym. “And it is always quite an amazing site.”
The 3.3 kilometer looping channel, built in 1967 with BC Hydro funds to compensate for upstream spawning habitat lost due to the construction of Duncan Dam, can accommodate several hundred thousand spawning kokanee, and millions of eggs in the gravel.
The channel is open to the public every day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the duration of the spawning season that usually runs from late August through to late September.
With the congregating kokanee, the channel attracts both black and grizzly bears, and the ministry may order a temporary total closure to the public if there are high bear densities during regular open hours.
The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program is a partnership between the Province of BC, BC Hydro, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, First Nations and public stakeholders to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by the construction of BC Hydro dams.
For more information about the open house, and any possible temporary closures, phone 250-354-6333.