by Eric Ettlinger, MMWD Aquatic Ecologist
Salmon observations in Lagunitas Creek have ramped up significantly in the last two weeks, with salmon seen spawning and schooling. A few large schools of coho salmon were seen, likely waiting for higher stream flows to continue their migration.
Rain over the last couple of days has now provided those higher flows, so this week may be a good time to go looking for fish on the move. So far this season we’ve counted 36 coho redds (gravel nests), 23 Chinook redds, and 13 redds that could have been built by either species.
In the last week we observed 118 coho salmon and 16 Chinook. We also recently found a chum salmon carcass, which is a species we see very rarely. We thought that would be the most exciting event to share in this update, until Wednesday, when we observed a school of at least 60 coho salmon milling about in Samuel P. Taylor State Park. This is the largest school of coho salmon seen in the watershed since at least 2004.
I lowered my camera into the pool to capture this exciting event. Check out the video below, which has been enhanced to compensate for the murky water. Sharp-eyed observers may see a few Chinook salmon swimming among the coho, as well as a few juvenile coho.
Happy salmon viewing, either live or on-screen!