Ads 468x60px

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The celebration

What an exciting and rewarding time this last six weeks has been. Exhausting and at times, bruising! I'm so impressed with the response and participation of the citizens of Clarington to this most worthy endeavour. Out of towners as well came to participate. A young man from down town Toronto made the trek in the early days of the project. A couple of anglers from Brampton who were here for the great fishing in the creek set aside their gear to assist when they saw what was going on! Amazing!
But for me, the most gratifying thing was the people I met and worked with. What a dedicated and enthusiastic group! And I thank you all for the kind birthday wishes! I am deeply touched! Here's a slide show of the celebration for which I am grateful to daughter Shera for giving me a break from the camera and allowing me to enjoy the celebration.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Unexpected help

A surprisingly good day at the dam today. What started as a relatively slow day turned into a great and somewhat chaotic day. The salmon migration is pretty much over now as they were seen spawning directly in the dam pool and directly below the fenced area. As a result, very few fish had advanced into the pool overnight which, combined with the clear water, makes capturing these torpedoes extremely challenging for the netters.
But not to despair.
A large group of volunteers representing the Oprah Million Dollar Neighbourhood arrived with camera crew in tow to assist Team Chinook. We ended up with every available net in the water! At first it was total chaos, but under the able guidance, supervision and training of Team Chinook members, a surprisingly large number of fish were transferred.
It was quite a spectacle to witness this "chorus line" of netters work in unison to drive the fish into a corner always coming up with at least one or two or more fish and then work its way back to the bottom of the pool to capture more.
Many thanks to the Oprah team for making this a successful day!
I believe the new total is now 5440! Awesome job everyone!

What a team!

Keep trying!

Way to go Big Guy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Team Chinook winds down

Not much to report today. We were a little late getting started as Dave was busy doing another on site stream side presentation to a group of enthusiastic public school students aided by John Goy who was deftly netting the fish for the "show". Good work Dave and John! It's great to demonstrate to these kids what a fantastic natural asset we have in our community. I had to leave early so I only have a couple of pics to post. One of these, a shot of, who else, our fearless leader, who can't resist a photo-op with a beautiful brown trout! The team put a few fish over before I left but it was slow going as the water was clear and the number of fish low. Looks like the the run is winding down.

This is not my last post on this extremely invaluable endeavour as I will be posting some final comments and more pics before the end of the week and don't forget the Team Chinook BBQ on Saturday.
Please stay tuned.

This little critter crossed the pathway as we walked to the transfer site.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Team Chinook achieves another milestone!

It was media day at the dam today and the volunteers of 'Team Chinook' arrived in great numbers to brave the elements for another terrific transfer of fish. At the end of the day 372 fish were lifted for a new grand total of 5260! Amazing job Team Chinook!
Many volunteers arrived early this morning for a CityTV Breakfast Television live broadcast of the transfer process and Jennifer Valentyne of CityTV actually netted the 5000th fish! Way to go Jennifer! To view the broadcast follow the link below:
Breakfast Television "Save the Salmon" broadcast.
Not to be outdone, a crew from CBC arrived at 2:00PM to film a segment of this exciting  event to be aired on Thursday at 6:00PM ! An exciting day for all to be sure.
Special thanks to Jay and Cindy Summers from Newcastle Tim Hortons for the coffee and doughnuts. The volunteers of Team Chinook certainly appreciated a hot coffee and treats after spending time in the frigid water chasing these elusive and powerful fish.
Again thanks to Team Chinook for a terrific job today!

Monday, September 24, 2012


A cool day today at the dam. The water was high and cold due to the rain on the week-end, making it challenging to capture the fish. It was difficult to handle the landing nets in the stronger current. Add to that the dwindling numbers of Salmon in the river a mere 88 fish were lifted today.
Last Friday it seemed a sure thing to surpass the 5000 mark today but we packed it in early because of the conditions, but tomorrow is another day and we'll give it another go. Many thanks to those who did show up in these unpleasant conditions to bravely enter the frigid water!
No pics today as this photographer was one of those victims getting cold and wet chasing the salmon.. I did manage to get a mug shot of yours truly holding a beautiful Brown Trout thanks to Wally, the man behind the camera.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Almost there!

A good turnout of volunteers for another great day at the dam on Friday! 342 fish were transferred for a grand total of 4800! Included in this total were a great number of coho and one beautiful brown which weighed an estimated 10-12 pounds! Also we saw a little 10 inch stream brown and of all things a pike was swimming in the mix!
Looks like we will break the 5000 mark on Monday!
For the second day in a row a group of public school students took time out from the classroom to go streamside while Dave Lawson explained the Chinook facts of life to these wide-eyed observers, with live salmon. These demonstrations have been a huge success as local schools are requesting for more of these educational 'worksops'.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Getting closer to 5000

A very productive day at  the dam. The overall total is now an astonishing 4,458!! A very successful transfer. We had some light rain for awhile which piqued the energy level of the fish considerably. The water temperature has been dropping for the last while due to the cool evenings which also contributed to the increased activity of the salmon, and they are still moving upstream in fairly large numbers. I'll let the images tell how wild and crazy these fish were today.
There was an excellent turnout in the number of volunteers willing to brave the cooler weather and colder water. Thanks to all for your efforts once again!
Thanks to Algoma Orchards for the generous donation of apples for the hard working volunteers, a welcome and tasty gesture! And thanks again Debbie Jensen for the delicious muffins!

This one got away

Hang on John!

Catch me if you can!

Our fearless leader?

Look at those incisors!

Too much to handle?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

4,000 Fish

Another milestone was reached and surpassed! With a skeleton crew we had another successful day and we surpassed the 4,000 mark!
Many thanks to those who helped out.
And thanks to Darryl Choronzey and John Slade for coming out and showing an interest in this important project.

Awesome crew + one cameraman!

Nice Coho Pete. Look at that snout!

What a specimen!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another record obliterated!!

543 fish were transferred over the dam, smashing the previous total by 176!!
The grand total is now 3821!
At a very conservative estimated weight of 22 lbs each, that's  84062 lbs of finned fury!
Over 42 tons!! No wonder my shoulders ache!
Are we going to see 5000? The run doesn't appear to be over yet. Time will tell.
These lofty numbers are due in large part to the efforts of a group of 5 employees of Lucky Strike Fishing who made the drive from Peterborough taking a day away from the "office" to help with the transfer. Thanks fellas! Much appreciated!
Lucky Strike has been instrumental in this project from the get go, donating fantastic landing nets and replacement meshes, as these mighty fish are reeking havoc with this gear.
Thank you again to ALL the volunteers who made this record day possible!

The Lucky Strike Team

Nice Brown Pete!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

slow start ...great finish!

I'm falling behind on my blog entries so I'll give all a quick update on what's been happening the last few days.
After a late start to the day we finished strong for a grand total of 3141 fish! Kudos again to all the volunteers who helped turn a slow and late starting day into another great success! It's wonderful to see the young folk participate in this project. I'm sure it is a wonderful experience they will never forget.

Of course I must mention the new daily record that was achieved on Tuesday: 305 Fish! Awesome work!

Thanks also to the senior contingent who do the 'grunt' work behind the scenes, filling and placing sandbags and doing fence repairs and modifications.
The extra sandbags used to narrow the East channel has worked to increase the flow enabling the salmon to proceed upstream. The sandbags placed at the West base of the dam also worked well to entice the fish to move toward the East section of the pool. The additional layer of fencing along the West fence has worked well to keep the fish away from the West portion of the pool.
Who knew that we would have had this many fish transferred at this early date? And they're still coming!
I applaud you all for a job well done!
The expression on the faces of these youngsters says it all doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chinook Insanity!!

A crazy day at the transfer site today! The huge number of gigantic fish were lifted and these Chinooks were so energetic and acrobatic. Most of us are tired out and bruised from handling these monstrous fish!
Special thanks to Debbie Jensen for providing delicious muffins to the mostly spent volunteers. A greatly appreciated and much needed energy boost!
As usual, more preliminary work was done by the volunteers in preparation for the day's lift. Fencing arrangements were modified to enable a more efficient method to corral the fish. The original fishway was blocked to reduce the flow on the West side of the pool and more sandbagging was done on the East side to increase the flow there.

Hey! That fisway is for fish only!

Hang on Dave!

How to live release

It's crazy out there!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another productive day

The heavy rain on Saturday was a bitter sweet event. Once again the fencing was partially destroyed, but thanks again to the dedicated volunteers' efforts, repairs were done in time for the day's transfer.
The day's total fish lifted was 200 for a grand total of 2201!
Several Coho Salmon and a few Brown Trout were also lifted today.
Will this be the final week? There doesn't seem to be as much activity downstream as previously.
As expected, the high water and cooler evenings have energized the salmon enabling them to move upstream to the prized spawning waters. This added energy was confirmed by the volunteers who handled these giants of finned fury. Many of us endured a few tail slaps in the face, and other body parts as we transferred these behemoths from net to bag to release! All in good fun and a great cause!
Many thanks to Lucky Strike Tackle for the donation of the nets. Over time these nets get ripped to shreds by the teeth of these fish and Lucky Strike has come through again with replacement meshes.

No pics today of the actual transfer, but I managed to get a few shots of the guys doing the fencing repair work with my phone camera. The first image is of a Chinook tooth found at the top of the dam.
Great job and much appreciated fellas!!

Chinook Salmon Tooth

Salmon anxiously waiting as repairs are done

Ready to roll!