Let’s go fishin’: Salmon operation a success
by Mike Baxter
Feb 06, 2014 | 2741 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Volunteers gather to seine coho salmon from the San Lorenzo River lagoon. Courtesy of Mike Baxter
Volunteers gather to seine coho salmon from the San Lorenzo River lagoon. Courtesy of Mike Baxter
As the high tide started to recede, the deeper holes of the San Lorenzo River lagoon filled with coho salmon and steelhead as they wait for rain.

The mouth of the river had opened and closed several times in January, each time more salmon and steelhead would enter the lagoon only to find flows too low to make it up river. With the winter months creeping by, the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project has been spawning adult brood stock coho salmon and hoping to mix their genetics with wild returning coho. With low flows and no rain there has been no opportunity to capture coho from Scott Creek or the San Lorenzo River. The project worked hard to achieve the proper permits and set up a seine operation (dragnet-style fishing) in the lagoon of the San Lorenzo River.

Members of MBSTP met with volunteers and biologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to collect coho salmon for the hatchery.

Matt McCaslin is a Director for MBSTP.

“I am very pleased to report our seining operation proved rather fruitful, the cooperative effort between our volunteers, the SWSC NOAA group and DFW resulted in a rather impressive collection of coho and steelhead.”  

The results were as follows, 19 Coho, 109 Steelhead.

“All coho appeared to be 2-year-old males resulting from our Scott Creek plant 2 years ago. Some were ID’d by pit tag readings on site,” McCaslin added.

Of the 109 steelhead, there were 55 females and 31 wild males, 12 females and 11 males clipped. Twenty one coho were retained for the Hatchery while all steelhead and other assorted fish were released. The mix of brood stock fish with the returning two year class of male coho will play a vital role in the mixed genetics of the spawned coho. This in turn can help the success and survival of future coho generations.

- Mike Baxter has fished in the Monterey Bay Area since he was a boy and has been a licensed charter boat captain for more than 20 years. Contact him at captmikebaxter@yahoo.com.


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