By Terry Slack
Sunday, May 3, 2020
The reports are coming in: A Large Fraser River Eulachon Run is moving into the river, after years of declining numbers! The spelling is Eulachon, Oolichan,or even Hooligan and they are also known as the Candle Fish or Saviour Fish by First Nations. It is a member of the smelt family and once spawned in huge tonnages within 15 BC rivers.
Dunbar Southlands North Arm of the Fraser River is one entrance door for the little fish. Down at the river on the Riverfront Trail or in Deering Island Park is where to watch in the month of May and early June. If the run turns out to be as large as predicted and after the Eulachon spawn in late May, the Kelts turn on their side, try to swim on the surface and get washed down the river to the marshes and die.
Easy pickings for numerous species of gulls, eagles, Great Blue Herons, King Fishers, Hell Divers (Cormorants), and a raft of others such as Harbour Seals, Sea Lions and River Otters. By the end of May the Eulachon table will be set. See you Down at the River!
Monday, May 4, 2020
Wow, what I observed in the North Arm of the river yesterday was a return of Eulachon of times past. A sky full of gulls all looking down. Eagles patrolling the river, also looking down.
In 2010, the fishery for just First Nation Elders was voluntary terminated as the Fraser stocks were on the brink of disappearing forever.
The Fraser eulachon table will be set soon for over 25 wild species once again as the spawned out dying fish Kelts hopefully will get tidally flushed
on ebbing tides down river to the many delta juvenile salmon marshes. The great natural Eulachon fertilization of lower river marsh will hopefully be starting again!
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Little Dip Net with a long handle on it, best spots on the North Arm is Low Water Slack at Harry Potter Park, now called Shaughnessy Park in Marpole, You are catching the spawned out fish, the Eulachon Kelts coming down the river from Richmond’s Tree Island spawning place on the North Arm. They are the best ones to slap on the Barbie! Timing of big numbers of Kelts coming down river is in about week and a half. Wear a hat as the big time pooping gulls will be every where. An old timers fact: The North Arm once had a late run of big male eulachon coming up the North Arm, Middle Arm in the last week of May.
Enjoy, everyone! Terry