by Eric Ettlinger, Aquatic Ecologist
The annual migration of coho salmon into Lagunitas Creek is underway! Biologists from MMWD and the Watershed Stewards Program have been surveying the creek since late October with, unfortunately, very little to show for our efforts. The little rain we received through most of November didn’t produce the runoff that salmon prefer for migrating upstream. A couple of intrepid Chinook salmon females were observed digging redds (gravel nests) on November 25, as were two coho salmon jacks (small, two-year-old fish).
Last Thursday we finally received enough rain to get a bit of runoff and on Friday an MMWD ranger spotted the first spawning coho at the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area. This week we observed 24 coho salmon and 13 redds in Lagunitas Creek, which is always exciting, but not very many for this time of year.
The substantial rain we’ve received over the last couple of days has raised stream flows and is likely encouraging many more coho to migrate upstream and spawn. The creek needs a couple of days to clear up, but by Saturday salmon viewing should be great! Directions to the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area can be found at: http://www.marinwater.org/175/Directions-Maps-to-Watershed-Sites
Happy salmon viewing!