West Seattle salmon: Fauntleroy Creek’s 1st spawner; underwater video of Longfellow coho

November 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 4 Comments

Two updates on West Seattle salmon:

FAUNTLEROY CREEK: Two weeks after this fall’s salmon watch began, volunteers report the first sighting. Creek/watershed steward Judy Pickens shared the word that Dennis Hinton had spotted one from the ferry dock, watching the creek mouth. He then elaborated:

Saw the single spawner from the dock at 2:30 pm. Went back down to the ladder with daughter’s dog, Blazer. We watched at the culvert until 4 pm to see if any fish had ventured up the creek. Saw no fish. But saw two river otters approaching the culvert about 4 pm. I’ll bet they can smell the coho coming. Blazer barked and scared the otters away. But bet they’ll be back to get the first pickings.

LONGFELLOW CREEK: We’ve reported twice on spawners spotted in the eastern West Seattle creek. “Diver Laura” James has gone in with a camera for a closer look – some of it was heartening, some not so much:

Longfellow Creek – Nov. 11, 2013 from Laura James on Vimeo.

Laura leads the Tox-Ick.org program teaching people how to reduce polluting, potentially deadly runoff; tonight she is at The Whale Trail‘s Orca Talk on behalf of the program.

4 Comments

  1. Yay salmon! Come on back to Fauntleroy!!!!!
    .
    Great video, Laura. After the salmon spawn, they do become lethargic and will die (part of their natural life cycle). Couldn’t that be accounting for some of the behaviours we saw in the video? I am not denying that these fish are definitely trying to survive in awful toxins which we humans have produced- but just wanted to point out that these spawners are also rapidly approaching the end of their life when they re-enter the freshwater creeks.

    Comment by ACG — 9:01 pm November 12, 2013 #

  2. Hi ACG,

    Thank you for the question!

    You are correct, behaviorally we can’t tell the difference between a symptomatic fish and a spawned out fish that is dying of natural causes.

    BUT, I sent the footage to a sciency type who studies this stuff and it was supported as symptomatic of pre-spawn mortality.

    There is at least one other fish near the fish shown the video that was beheaded (for the microchip hatchery ID I assume) and belly cut open with eggs visible. Similarities aside, it is my belief that pre-spawn mortality is a continuing issue in Longfellow creek.

    Comment by diverlaura — 12:02 am November 13, 2013 #

  3. Aren’t we taught not to bother spawning salmon? Why stick a camera in their faces?

    Comment by Gary E — 8:59 pm November 13, 2013 #

  4. I kind of wondered about that myself Gary. I was raised to respect the dying fish. – which by the way are also disoriented because they haven’t eaten in weeks.

    I saw a completely clueless dreamer also stomping around down in the creek – with a fishing pole instead of a camera. He said he was going to feed the salmon to his toddler who was with him. If he caught one, he had the right to do it because he had a license, he said. He was not experienced with salmon – spawning, starving salmon aren’t good sport – they are generally considered by conservationist sports fisherman not to be taken or eaten. At least the way we were raised to respect them.

    I much prefer the other videos Diver Laura has done in open water. Those were great.

    Comment by Don't Fish Spawning Salmon — 11:09 pm November 13, 2013 #

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