Skye Ryan, CHEK News, October 23, 2015
A remarkable comeback story is surfacing out of the Cowichan River where rains have arrived just in time to help spawning salmon complete their missions.
Thousands are now filling the river that had threatened to run dry in parts in this summer’s record hot, dry conditions.
Casting on the Cowichan River, Parker Jefferson’s worries drift away after a summer spent wracked with them.
“The river’s absolutely perfect right now we got the rains we needed right at the beginning of September and that started us on the right path,” says Jefferson of the Cowichan River Stewardship Society.
For the annual spawning season of this river’s salmon species. That was looking touch and ago, right up to its anticipated start. Due to the summer’s record low water levels that were drying it in places and raising the water temperature to a level that would have killed returning fish.
“And then tremendous rains came just at the right time for the Chinook Salmon to come up the River.,” says Jefferson. “And lots of Chinook have made it up the river now there’s probably 3000 or 4000 Chinooks spawning right in this run in front of us here.”
So fishermen are flooding the area to see them, as rains have also reopened angling in this Heritage River that was closed all summer long.
“Good news for everyone in this town. That’s for sure,” says Gord March of Gord’s Fly Box.
March says he was always optimistic mother nature would save the run and and now his fly shop is doing brisk business because of it.
“But anyone listening don’t be opening up competition. It’s not that good,” he says laughing.
Planning’s underway now to avert the same water shortage and river crisis next year. Since similar conditions are predicted to repeat,
“We managed to avert a real crisis this year,” says Jefferson.
2016 expected to bring the same troubled waters this region’s learning to wade through now.