2017 Season Overview

Admittedly, this update comes late in 2017. Our field season has come to an end as the winter closes in on us.

With the successful defense of his Masters thesis this August, Mack Bartlett stepped down from performing the on-the-ground field operations of the CCR program.  Now, as the research coordinator at Cedar Coast Field Station on Vargas Island, he spends much of his year implementing new projects on the west coast of Vancouver Island and beyond.  Mack is still very much an active participant in the program and is a vital scientific contributor and leader.

Lauren Portner joined the CCR team this fall as a field technician and program assistant.  As a veteran of Salmon Coast Field Station, she has been involved in many different projects.  This is her first year working with the CCR team.  For more information, about her and the rest of our crew, please visit the “Our Team” section of this website.

Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort and Blackfish Lodge continued their relationship with the program and proved to, once again, be outstanding in the field.  The Reynolds Lab at Simon Fraser University was also an important partner, covering the rivers and streams of the Central coast of BC near Denny Island and Bella Bella.  In total, 297 fin clip samples were collected from 23 different streams in 2017.  As the salmon returns were low (on average) coast-wide this year, this number is exciting.

As we have slowly been getting results from our samples collected in 2015 and 2016, we have begun to see an interesting trend.  Through genetic analysis, we have discovered that the coho that return to the Wakeman River each year are genetically distinct from the rest of the coho in DFO area 12.  It appears that they are more closely related to the fish of the central coast, rather than those of the northern portion of the south coast (northern Vancouver Island area).  We look forward to hearing more interesting facts like this as they are released from the molecular genetics lab at the Pacific Biological Station.

Recently, we have been given approval to collect samples from steelhead, dolly varden, rainbow trout and cutthroat trout.  In another exciting turn of events, Ocean Outfitters in Tofino, BC will be joining the CCR program.  As they will be catch and release fishing all winter, we’re eager to see where this new relationship takes us.  Welcome aboard, Ocean Outfitters.  We look forward to working with you.

With the successful completion of another year of sample collection, we look forward to continuing this program well into the future and further expanding the genetic library of the salmon on our coast.

Second Season

The second season of the catch clip release program has started in the Southern Great Bear Rainforest. Guides from both Blackfish Lodge and Nimmo Bay Resort have been catching salmon and collecting samples. 

Last season over 400 samples were collected and are currently being used by DFO and Genomes Canada to give us a better understanding of salmon populations in our area.

This year there is a major emphasis on coho and chum collections, which our partners are interested in. River Conditions have been better in the region than this time last year thankfully making things easier on the migrating salmon.


The first entry into catch, clip, release!

The rains have been coming off and on over the last few weeks and currently we sit in a bank of fog. Welcome to Faugust.  There has not been enough moisture to quench the parched earth and the rivers are feeling it. 

The project has been moving forward and guides from both Blackfish Lodge and West Coast helicopters, working out of Nimmo Bay Resort, have been collecting tissue samples. 

The late summer and fall guests at Nimmo Bay are more fishing focused than early summer guests and the guides will be on the rivers regularly. 

With the recent rains there have been some major pushes of fish up the rivers. In early August Peter Barrett, owner West Coast Helicopters, watched over 4000 salmon,mostly pinks, make their way into 2 Mile pool up the Kakweiken River. 

The fish have really been affected by this dry warm summer and this have even sparked total rec. fishing bans on the lower Fraser!  Read here and here

More news to come.