The Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society (BCWS) carries out a coho smolt count every year. Coho fry spend one year in the creek before migrating to salt water as smolts.
Brooklyn Creek flows from Courtenay (Crown Isle) through the CVRD and empties into Comox Bay in the Town of Comox. Though small, it has a viable run of coho salmon and occasional chum salmon, as well as resident and transient cutthroat trout.
We install a smolt fence every year that channels the fish through a pipe into a holding box, where they are counted every morning by volunteers. This year was a bit of a bust. As all residents of the Comox Valley know we have had a remarkably dry spring. Though there was lots of water in April, most smolts don’t start to migrate to the ocean until May. By that time the amount of water in the creek severely affected their ability to move downstream and many of the smolts are stuck in pools. As a result we took down our smolt fence about 3 weeks early since we were not counting any smolts.
Some years we have had a count as high as 3600 smolts travelling out to the ocean, but the median is closer to 1800, a respectable number considering the size of the creek. This year we counted just 181. We hope the smolts are holding upstream in the pools and will migrate when able. There has been some anecdotal evidence of large numbers of smolts holding upstream.
On the bright side, there are many reports of high counts of coho fry in the creek. BCWS thanks all of the volunteers for this year’s smolt count.