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Lagunitas Creek Spawner Update - December 10

Coho and Chinook Salmon holding in Lagunitas Creek on December 9, 2021.

The last few weeks have been quite dry and so far very few salmon have spawned in the Lagunitas Creek watershed. To date we’ve seen nine Coho Salmon redds, seven Chinook redds, and three redds likely built by Pink Salmon. Typically the second week of December is peak spawning time for Coho, when rain raises stream flows and helps the fish move and sort their chosen patches of streambed. But the fish are here, ready and waiting. This week we observed 114 Coho Salmon, the vast majority of which are schooling in two pools in Samuel P. Taylor State Park. That’s an unusually large number of fish, and the most we’ve seen in early December since 2016. In fact, we’ve never seen this many fish before spawning was truly underway. Once the rain returns it’s likely we’ll see a large spike in spawning activity.

Speaking of the rain returning…The latest weather forecast is calling for an atmospheric river to potentially drop over six inches of rain from Sunday through Tuesday. This will provide more than adequate stream flows to help salmon construct their redds. Flows are expected to peak early on Monday, and fish may be jumping through the Inkwells as early as Tuesday. Wednesday is forecast to be dry and may be the best day to look for salmon at the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area.

- Eric Ettlinger, Aquatic Ecologist

Image: Coho and Chinook Salmon holding in Lagunitas Creek on December 9, 2021.

Photo Credit: Annabelle Howe, Marin Water.