Salmon returns in the Corner Brook Stream are slightly behind this summer, but Keith Piercey said it’s not a cause for concern as the numbers are about normal.
Up to Tuesday 23 salmon had made their way through the SPAWN (Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland) fish trap on the Corner Brook Stream just below the Glynmill Inn Pond.
“Every year it’s a little bit different and all of a sudden you might get a big surge,” said Piercey editor of the SPAWNER magazine. “So, in a week’s time those comparable numbers could be totally different.”
This year salmon coming in from the bay to make the run have to go past the construction of the new bridge on Main Street.
Piercey said that doesn’t appear to be affecting the returns as the fish are more active at night when there is no construction going on.
He noted that the main run for the river, which runs through the heart of the city, is still a couple of weeks away, so he’s hopeful the overall numbers won’t go the same as last year.
In 2017 the counting trap saw the lowest number ever go through since monitoring began in 2009. About five years before that about 15,000 salmon fry were placed in the river.
“It was still enough to seed the river,” said Piercey of the 2017 numbers. “There was enough to spawn and produce enough young fish to keep going.”
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans estimates that it takes 72 salmon returning to spawn in the river to keep the population going.
Last year’s returns only just met that number.
“But every other year we exceeded it by a good many,” said Piercey.
Most of the fish that come through the trap as they travel up the stream from the bay are grilse, under 63 centimetres in length.
Anything 63 cm and over is considered a salmon. The biggest one to go through the trap last year was 18 pounds.
Fish that size are ones that went back out to sea or came back in or stayed out a little longer. A good many of the salmon will overwinter in the pond and go out in the bay in the spring.
“The more big ones we get the better because they carry more eggs,” said Piercey.
SPAWN will continue to monitor returns on the river until about Aug. 20.
Salmon counts on the Corner Brook Stream
Up to July 17, 2018 — 23
Up to July 17, 2017 — 28
Up to July 17, 2016 — 45