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Salmon Spawner Updates

Salmon Spawner Updates

Special reports straight from the creek provided by Marin Water's Fisheries Team

A fish swims in shallow water.

Feb. 16, 2023 - Lagunitas Creek Spawner Update

Almost two months have passed since my previous update, so there should be lots of fish news to report from Lagunitas Creek. Unfortunately, I don’t have many observations to share. Shortly after my Dec. 19 update, a long sequence of atmospheric rivers hit Marin County, dropping 33 inches of rain over three weeks. Streams remained either too turbid or too high to survey until late January.

By the time surveys resumed, the coho run was over. The streambed was wiped clean, erasing any signs of spawning from the previous months. In some places, the streambed scoured deeply and salmon eggs washed away. In the spring we’ll count juvenile Chinook Salmon as they migrate to the ocean, and get a sense of how many salmon redds (nests) survived the winter.

February is typically peak spawning time for steelhead, the last of the five salmonid species that spawn in Lagunitas Creek. To date we’ve seen only 12 steelhead redds and three adult steelhead, a record low for mid-February. We were expecting a small run this year based on low numbers of steelhead smolts that migrated to the ocean in 2021. Still, after seeing so few Coho Salmon, a large run of steelhead would have been nice.

-Eric Ettlinger
 Aquatic Ecologist

Read previous updates:

2022-23 salmon run
2021-22 salmon run