Mount Polley is pleased to report there has been an increase in the number of adult rainbow trout and in spawning activity in Hazeltine Creek.
Mount Polley completed a series of annual surveys to count individual adult rainbow trout using the creek during the spawning season. This is part of the ongoing monitoring of fish health and population being conducted in Polley Lake. This year a daily maximum of 1,574 adult rainbow trout and 86 redds were observed (a redd is a spawning nest made by trout). This represents the largest year over year increase since fish were re-introduced into Hazeltine Creek in September 2018. Why is this important? It is important because it demonstrates that the 2018 cohort of fish and hatchery fish are now reaching their reproductive maturity and are using the re-constructed Hazeltine Creek habitat for their spawning activities. Similarly, as observed during surveys in 2022, the number of spawners is the highest since 2019. Most are anticipated to be first time spawners from the 2018 cohort returning after access to Hazeltine Creek was re-established.
Background on Hazeltine Creek:
Fish access to upper Hazeltine Creek, which is the primary spawning and rearing habitat for Polley Lake rainbow trout, was restricted year-round by a fish fence installed at the outlet of Polley Lake during remediation construction of the creek channel (April 2015-April 2018). In spring of 2018, 11,000 rainbow trout fry were hatched and raised on-site at Mount Polley’s hatchery and were released into Hazeltine Creek in the fall of 2018.
How surveying is conducted:
During the survey period of May 25 to June 2, 2022, Minnow Environmental Inc. (“Minnow”), a consulting firm providing specialized services in aquatic environmental monitoring, conducted ocular surveys three times in each of the three main sections of Hazeltine Creek (Reach 1, 2 and 3) to count the number of redds and individual adults using the creek during the spawning season. Annual surveys of fish population and health by Minnow are in addition to the regular monitoring that Mount Polley conducts as part of its overall environment management program.
These recent survey results are very encouraging and represent another success of the Hazeltine Creek remediation project.