Last Fall, after the majority of the salmon run passed through the canyon, the “House rock” (image below) was broken. This rock, named for its enormous size, shifted in a winter storm in 2020 and was deemed a hazard to river users. Breaking this rock created additional barriers for fish, through the previously passable slide area. Over the winter months, the Society has been fundraising to do additional work on the rockslide. With funding successfully secured, work will begin in the first week of August.
The good news is that a broodstock angler caught one early run coho in the upper river. As unlikely as it looks, some fish, in higher water conditions, have made it through the slide area. Hatchery staff have planned a seine in the upper river this week to see if they can determine if other fish have got through.
To get a better idea of what’s going on with fish below the slide, staff did a snorkel survey last week. The bad news is about thirty fish were holding below the slide. Some showing signs that they have been trying to navigate past the barrier unseccessfully.
This year’s rock work will be a bit different then in previous years. Engineers have selected specific rocks to break. Once the broken rocks are small enough, they will the be moved manually to create a channel for this year’s salmonid run to navigate through. The plan is to create a series of steps and pools. This strategies will not rely on high flows to move rocks like in previous years. The goal is that fish will be able to migrate through by the end of the summer when the work wraps up.
While this work takes place there will be little disruption to the public. Fisherman’s Trail closures will only take place when rocks are being broken. This generally occurs once a week and will only last for 10 – 20 minutes. Staff and Society Directors would like to thank trail users in advance for their patience as the Society works to ensure we do everything we can to keep salmonid populations in the Seymour River for many generations to come.
Photo above shows the House rock (left) before and after it was broken. The dotted white line shows where the rock was (right).