The 2017 Wannock egg take is officially in the books. We started fishing with the local crew on October 18th, but only got a half day's worth of net time in due to high water. When we say high water, we mean park the jet boat 50 yards up the river access road kind of high. Days of rain and 24-hour 100 mm washouts will do that to a river.
The out of town crew arrived on October 18th. The original plan was for the team to arrive on the Wuikinuxv Princess, but 50 knot winds for days changed those plans. Luckily a brief break in the weather allowed for a couple of planes to take off and land, so the team made it in safely.
We started fishing with the full team on the 19th, high water and all. We took 5 ripe females that day, which was a huge relief to all. After the first day we knew that we could make the water levels work with our program.
In total we took 47 females and 47 males in our 2017 broodstock collection. The estimated number of Wannock Chinook eggs planted at the Percy Walkus Hatchery in 2017 is 300,494. It will be another month before we take a closer look at these eggs, but we are very happy with how things are looking.
We had new faces helping out with the Wannock program this year and we couldn't have been happier with them. Mike Keay, you are a jack of all trades and a real handy guy to have around. See you next year Mike, same time, same place. The Allard boys, it was great to spend some time getting to know you guy a little better. Thanks to both of you for all of your help. We look forward to seeing you in the years to come. Yuri Yule, you were willing to pitch in and lend a hand with every task that came up and we thank you for all of your help. David and Patrick, a very capable father son duo. It was great to see you both on the river together, enjoying the most beautiful office space there is. Tim and Chris, thanks for taking an interest in our program. I can’t wait to see the finished documentary on the hatchery and the work that is being done here in Rivers Inlet. You guys were a riot to work with and we thank you for all of your help.
Our seasoned crew is beyond clutch. Sid, Dave, Don, Greg, Ted, Dwayne, Marshal, Ian, Billie, Chris and Sandie. Each one of you brings skills and talents to the table that help make this whole thing possible. It is a real pleasure to not only work with you, but to know you as friends.
October is the time for river bank hot dogs, long laughs with friends and some of the largest chinook in the world. May it always be that way.
It has been awhile since our last PWH update, but we assure you that the team has been busy. Over the summer we kept ourselves busy with maintenance and upgrade projects around the hatchery and egg take shack.
On August 23rd we started our Kilbella and Chuckwalla field projects. This year we ran two crews. One crew was dedicated to each river and we fished them hard. Chinook numbers in these two systems were low this year. To put things into perspective, we made over 100 net sets on the Chuckwalla River before we caught a female Chinook, but we were persistent. As the project moved along fish started to show up and the number of Chinook sightings went up. We started to catch spawned out females, which isn't exactly what we want for the hatchery, but at least the river was getting the eggs if we couldn't.
We learned a lot about these two systems this year. We caught fish in areas that were previously never fished. We saw females on reds in areas that we didn't expect to see Chinook in, and we successfully held five fish in tubes on the upper Chuckwalla for over a week before they were spawned.
In the end we spawned eggs from 6 Kilbella females and 5 Chuckwalla females. Our estimated number of K/C eggs planted in 2017 is 54,729. Totals for each river equal 34,998 for the Chuckwalla and 19,731 for the Kilbella.
After a slow start the numbers turned out okay.
The list of people we would like to thank is long, so we will be brief...
A big thanks to The Bella Coola Connection. Sandie, Marshal and Ian, you guys were such a big help both on and off the river. Things wouldn't have been so smooth without you.
The Duncanby Lodge crew - Sid, Kyle and Aiden. You guys were an absolute pleasure to work with and you bring so much to the table. Sid, it was truly a memorable day that we spent on the river. I won't ever forget that smile.
The team from Good Hope Cannery - Ted, Dwayne, Pete, Kevin and Luke. You guys are solid people with great attitudes and you were a huge help to us.
Kathryn, from West Coast Helicopters. You are an awesome human and a great fit for our program.
Big thanks to Billie, Jason, K'odi, Chris, Darren and Sus. You guys put in maximum effort and it showed.
The river release group is ready to go and tonight is the night. This group of 32,000 fry enjoyed their last free meal yesterday. Before we send this group on their way we will weight sample each of the three tanks so that we can accurately report on release size.
On April 20, 2017, our largest fry is 2.0 grams. Also it marks the end of an era, the last Wannock Chinook to be incubated and reared at Snootli Creek Hatchery were safely delivered to the PWH. A big thanks to Marshal and Ian for chaperoning these fry on the flight from Bella Coola to Rivers Inlet. They arrived in great condition and have adjusted to their "true home" very quickly. The team at Snootli Creek Hatchery can't be thanked enough. You guys have been the cornerstone of salmon enhancement in Rivers Inlet for many years and we wouldn't be where we are today without your support. Thanks to all involved!
The term shock the eggs is applied to the process of turning the infertile eggs white so they can be separated from the fertile ones. After we count them, so far we have 182,000 Wannock babies in our hatchery.
The 2016 Wannock egg-take was completed in record time; a whopping 4 days to reach a total of 317,252 eggs. The incubation process is underway and the system is running beautifully.
We credit the speed and efficiency of the 2016 river work to the first class group of people involved. A big thanks to Sandie McLaurin, Marshal Hans Jr, Ted Walkus and Ian Douglas. Your expertise and willingness to pass information along that would otherwise take years to acquire is invaluable to our program and we are forever grateful.
We were very excited about the grand opening celebration of the Percy Walkus salmon enhancement facility on Aug 31/16 . Rick the man in motion Hansen was there with us to celebrate.
A group of Duncanby's guests got a chance to share a great moment of releasing of 270,000 Wannock Chinook babies into our rivers. For those of you wanting to help with paying for the Hatchery construction which is flying along you can either send Donations to the Rick Hansen Foundation or the Pacific Salmon Foundation marked for Percy Walkus Rivers inlet Hatchery construction if you require tax receipt either of these great groups can provide that but please make sure you mark your donation for the hatchery. Or if you wish you can order our Duncanby hatchery fund tickets threw the office and you will have a chance to win 2 free trips to Duncanby for the trip of your choice next season. Tickets are 20.00 each many of you have been buying multiple even hundred of tickets this year and I thank you all. Every dollar goes directly to the program as Duncanby takes not one dime for admin exp. Just send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get your tickets into the draw.
First up was our annual Rick Hansen and friends Duncanby Lodge Rivers inlet salmon enhancement event with all proceeds going towards our hatchery that is under full construction now in the Wuikinuxv Village. We raised $240,000 towards our efforts. This hatchery is and will be state of the art and will not only help the famous Wannock Fish but many other runs that require help. It will also create education , cultural and economic opportunity for the people of the nation and many more. We plan to offer tours of the hatchery and the incredible beautiful area its located in. A group of us went up for a tour and got to stop and visit the 270,000 Wannock babies who are growing and loving being home in our seapens. We will be releasing these beauties in the next 10 days. A heartfelt thanks to all who were on this very special trip.
Special shout outs To Rick Hansen for his incredible leadership and for inspiring me and others to stop talking about the hatchery but to make it happen. Our new motto is “ALL IN”. A huge we couldn’t do it without you thanks to Stacy and Abeir, Greg, Don,John, Rob, Pat & Cathy, Murray, Naidra, Barry, Daniel, Don, Fred, Tony, and David for putting your hands up in the auction and making it a huge success. It was very special to have so many friends from the village here and members of our hatchery team. Along with the fine folks from interior and western logging. And huge love and thanks to my brothers Dwayne and Ted Walkus. Tim Milne from Big CoastTV was along and is making a documentary on our hatchery. To those that told me it was impossible and would never happen I'm happy to report that we have and will continue to prove you wrong. This Team can't fail because we are “ALL IN”.
I have had the privilege of Fishing and being in the outdoors most of my life. In many ways it has shaped my life , my values and my destiny. And I have learned that it is our responsibility to give back more than we take.
And so by good fortune my friend Calvin Higano inspired me to come to Rivers Inlet to experience the uniqueness of its beauty , and its massive Chinook Salmon.
I also met many amazing people from Rivers Inlet and learned about their stories , the problems that they faced and the one common dream they all shared.
To restore and protect Salmon and its ecosystem so that it was healthy and sustainable for many generations to come.
And so we started reaching for that dream establishing a fish counting sonar platform on the Wonnock River and building a Hatchery on the Village Site.
I am proud of the progress that has been made with the Hatchery being completed and opened on Aug 31 2016.
I have been inspired by the leadership of Hereditary Chief Ted Walkus , Lodge owners Sid Key and Tony Allard along with Sandy McLearan from DFO , Karl English from LGL and so many more Champions who have joined the Team.
Even though we have a long way to go in order to achieve our Dream ,we have made a tremendous amount of progress in a relatively short period of time.
We have learned that in spite of our differences that together we are stronger and by continuing to build the Team we can get there faster.
Come join the Team and Make a Difference !
PS: Thank you to the Wuikinuxv People for your Stewardship of your Land and for sharing it with the World and for making that Hatchery and hopefully all buildings in your community Accessible for People with Disabilities.