Tyler Thibault

Annual adipose fin-clip held at Hoy Creek Hatchery

Hatchery manager Rodney Lee demos the adipose fin-clipping procedure as Tyler Thibault of the DFO looks on (center). 

Hatchery manager Rodney Lee demos the adipose fin-clipping procedure as Tyler Thibault of the DFO looks on (center). 

Close to 6000 coho salmon had their adipose fin clipped as part of a Department of Fisheries Canada encouraged exercise at Hoy Creek Hatchery in Coquitlam on June 20.  The salmon are approximately 6 months old. The adipose fin is a soft, fleshy fin found on the top of the salmon, on the back behind the dorsal fin and just forward of the caudal fin.

Although it's not mandatory, the DFO strongly advise hatcheries to clip the adipose fins for several reasons:

  • When salmon return to spawn, the clipped fins allow hatcheries to monitor their return
  • Most sports fisherman know that clipped coho can be kept, while wild coho must be returned
  • Clipped fish returns help DFO assess overall returns, helping to ensure the wild salmon are more dominant.
  • The procedure also allows for a manual fish count, whereas previously only weight sample counts took place. 
Everyone counts the fish they clip. Close to 6000 fish were processed. 

Everyone counts the fish they clip. Close to 6000 fish were processed. 

Overseen by DFO fisheries technician, Tyler Thibault, a group of about ten Hoy-Scott Watershed Society volunteers came out to help in the operation.  Hatchery manager, Rodney Lee explained the procedure to a few people who were clipping their first time. 

First, the fish are anesthetized in small batches. Once in the solution, they become sleepy within minutes. The volunteers stand ready around a table equipped with a trough with flowing water and beds of water for the fish to lay in. Volunteers work quickly and very carefully to clip fins with disinfected surgical scissors before they wake up, which is within about a minute. Fish are put into the outside trough and end up in the bucket at the end of the table. They are returned to the hatchery to recover. 

Fin clipping volunteers of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society with Tyler Thibault of the DFO at Hoy Creek Hatchery. (Missing: Nathen Blower)

Fin clipping volunteers of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society with Tyler Thibault of the DFO at Hoy Creek Hatchery. (Missing: Nathen Blower)

The fish will soon be transferred from the hatchery Capilano trough room, and will live in the rearing pond until Salmon Leave Home in May 2019. Once they are released, they stay about a year in the stream making their way to the ocean. Fish from this brood could then return in about 2.5 years.

Thanks to all those who helped out this year!

(Watch our VIDEO below).

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society (HSWS) is a volunteer-run non-profit society that operates a small salmon hatchery beside Hoy Creek and conducts a salmon enhancement program in partnership with the City of Coquitlam, and with technical expertise from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The group stewards the Hoy and Scott Watersheds, promoting public awareness and education, and is involved in watershed habitat restoration and preservation. 

25th Salmon Come Home Draws Record Attendance in Coquitlam

25 years!  A group photo and cake to commemorate 25 years of "Salmon Come Home."  Seen left to right: Maya Uno (front), Tyler Thibault, Rodney Lee, Robbin Whachell (front), AJ Currie (back), Dave Bennie, Earl Elliott, Tony Matahlija, Scott Ducharme, Caresse Selk, Kyle Uno (back), Sandra Uno, Lilian Elliott (back), Dr. Elaine Golds, and Chris Hamming. 

25 years!  A group photo and cake to commemorate 25 years of "Salmon Come Home."  Seen left to right: Maya Uno (front), Tyler Thibault, Rodney Lee, Robbin Whachell (front), AJ Currie (back), Dave Bennie, Earl Elliott, Tony Matahlija, Scott Ducharme, Caresse Selk, Kyle Uno (back), Sandra Uno, Lilian Elliott (back), Dr. Elaine Golds, and Chris Hamming. 

The 25th instalment of Salmon Come Home on August 22 at the Hoy Creek Hatchery had close to 4000  people turn out to celebrate the return of the salmon.

After a very dry summer and fall, rains did come through in time for salmon viewing although not in the same numbers as years prior. 

THROWBACK: A 2004 Tri-City News ad for Salmon Come Home

THROWBACK: A 2004 Tri-City News ad for Salmon Come Home

One patron said, "What an awesome event it was! Thank you for all that you planned and thanks to the gorgeous salmon who gave us all quite the show!"

A great time was had by all as people enjoyed seeing live salmon demonstrations, a salmon dissection, live entertainment by the Wild Salmon Creative Café featuring Raymond Matthew, Lana Crockett, Etienne Siew, Amy Lubik, and First Nation spoken word artist, Ostwelve (a Kwikwetlem descendant). 

The ever popular Angela Brown: The Ta Daa Lady & The Nylon Zoo entertained children of all ages with stories and a costume parade of woodland creatures. 

A live chum salmon. (Photo: Tina-Louise Harris) 

A live chum salmon. (Photo: Tina-Louise Harris) 

A celebratory cake was served, with an official photo to commemorate the 25th year of the event which is a collaboration between Hoy-Scott Watershed Society (HSWS) and the City of Coquitlam. Founding HSWS member, Chris Hamming was there to help cut the cake along with Dr. Elaine Golds of the Burke Mountain Naturalists, and Tony Matahlija from the North Fraser Salmon Assistance Project who was one of those who helped build the hatchery. 

When the festival started in 1992, today’s Hoy-Scott Watershed Society was known as the Hoy-Scott Watershed Streamkeepers and the hatchery did not yet exist. The event was in its fifth year when the hatchery was built in 1997 on the grounds of a former trout-rearing facility on the old Frederick Brewer property. The site was restored in 1995 with help from the City, federal government and volunteers, and the pond that used to rear trout now helps raise salmon.

Cutting the cake for 25 years of Salmon Come Home - left to right: Dr. Elaine Golds of Burke Mountain Naturalists who have been coming to Salmon Come Home probably since day 1, Tony Matahlija from North Fraser Salmon Assistance Project, who helped build the hatchery, and HSWS founding member and salmon educator, Chris Hamming.

Cutting the cake for 25 years of Salmon Come Home - left to right: Dr. Elaine Golds of Burke Mountain Naturalists who have been coming to Salmon Come Home probably since day 1, Tony Matahlija from North Fraser Salmon Assistance Project, who helped build the hatchery, and HSWS founding member and salmon educator, Chris Hamming.

The Hoy-Scott Watershed Streamkeepers formed a society in 1992, with an expanded mandate to promote watershed restoration and public awareness of the need to preserve the creek and surrounding habitat. Having met the original goal of rebuilding the coho population, the society extended its focus in 2015 to include chum salmon. 

A big thank you to this year's sponsors, Vancity and 98 7 The Point radio. 

Visitors and residents of Coquitlam view salmon in Hoy Creek during Salmon Come Home - salmon viewing is at its peak into December.  (Photo: Tina-Louise Harris) 

Visitors and residents of Coquitlam view salmon in Hoy Creek during Salmon Come Home - salmon viewing is at its peak into December.  (Photo: Tina-Louise Harris) 

Close to 4000 came out from far and wide for Salmon Come Home 2017! (HSWS photo)

Close to 4000 came out from far and wide for Salmon Come Home 2017! (HSWS photo)

See more photos below or view the City of Coquitlam Facebook album HERE
View more candid photos in the HSWS Facebook album HERE.

Photos seen below were taken by Tina-Louise Harris.