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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Nov 24

Coho, Chinook, and Chum, Oh My!

Posted on November 24, 2014 at 4:16 PM by Elisa Ignatius

by Eric Ettlinger, Aquatic Ecologist

Spawner season is off to a great start, both in terms of much-needed rain and in terms of salmon. Since October 1 the Kent Lake rain gauge has recorded 5.6 inches of rain. That gauge didn’t top five inches last winter until February. Our salmon counts are also looking good, with at least three species of salmon in the creek. Last week we observed 18 Chinook (king) salmon, 12 coho, and one chum. That’s the most Chinook seen in eight years and only the third chum salmon observed in a decade. We may also have a couple of adult steelhead in the creek, bringing the salmonid species total to four. Two steelhead spent the summer below Kent Lake and were still there ten days ago.

This weekend’s rain, plus extra water released by MMWD, seems to have brought up more fish, based on a couple of under-the-bridge observations. This morning we saw ten coho down near Point Reyes Station and four more at the “Swimming Hole” in Samuel P. Taylor State Park. We’ll be surveying again over the next couple of days.

 Chinook carcass
This beautiful 34-inch Chinook salmon was killed and partly eaten by a river otter. The gaping wound has been covered to protect the squeamish.

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