The Millstone River in Bowen Park has recently seen some action in the form of Coho salmon swimming upstream. As of December 22, 126 Coho have been spotted.
The salmon are recorded on a motion capture camera maintained by students in the Resource Management and Protection department at Vancouver Island University (VIU). This is a typical count for a non-peak year with the next peak year expected to be 2016. Coho live three years and the last peak run was in 2013 with 250 spotted moving upstream. In 2010, close to 450 Coho swam up the Millstone.
It isn't easy to spot Coho moving upstream as they tend to hide during the day and run up the river at night. They also don't typically have as large of run sizes as other salmon species like the famous Sockeye run in the Adams river where during peak years you can see salmon in the millions. The Coho run usually lasts from October through December.
Cutthroat and steelhead can also be spotted in the Millstone.
The side-channel in Bowen Park was built in 2007 to provide fish new spawning and juvenile rearing habitat and access above Deadman Falls along with the opportunity to migrate and spawn in the upper watershed and tributaries in the Brannen Lake area. The fish camera has been in operation since 2009.
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