During the past couple of months we have seen the weather revert back to the rainy season. Most creeks as of this writing are now flowing due to lots of wet weather over the past month and in particular the big storm we got last week. Luckily we just received the tail end with winds in access of 100 K per hour, which still brought a huge amount of rain to our watersheds. With all the excitement about the big returns of Pink salmon to the coast this year we hope to see a big run of Chum later this month. The Wild Coho are also returning to the coast and we also hope for good returns to all the streams we steward.
This is one of the most rewarding times of the year to be out and about in the watersheds with flows returning the habitat changes once again back to being fish friendly. Walking one stream today we followed my favourite bird for half the walk as she or he danced ahead of us taking the occasional swim underwater to catch an invertebrate then springing back onto a rock giving its distinctive call and in years past I have sat alongside a pool and mimicked there call and had one hop onto the toe of my wellie’s giving me the once over then off it went in search of more food.
The old Black Bear has been around rooting out the last of the grubs from stumps and rotten logs along the streams. We always relish encounters with the bear especially if we are real close.
The Bear has no fear until it realises what we are then they either climb into a nearby tree or vanish into the bush. This gives me a good opportunity to give a quick Bear awareness lesson especially if we have new members who have never been around Bears before. Most folk freak when they see a Bear until they realise that the Bear is more wary of the average human than they are of the Bear. Years of being shot at or hunted have trained the Bear to avoid humans as best as possible as they know humans represent death. The Bear is a very smart animal and its job around the streams is well known carrying carcasses deep into the forest spreading nutrients around for the trees and shrubs. Also grub for those who cannot fish themselves as they feed on the scraps even down to the smallest bugs. Another good thing about the watersheds at this time is the huge abundance of mushrooms and if you know what is what, you can have feasts that would make even the best of gourmets jealous.
We are looking forward to later this month when we will see the first fish returning to our streams, all along the shore from Nanaimo to the head of the bay has wild Coho feeding of which you can sometimes catch a glimpse of as they jump and feed even right along the beach at Sebastion. With such early rain storms we should see fish earlier than last year especially for the Chum who make it back and sometimes find that when the high tide recedes are stranded in ever diminishing pools with the riffles dry between. These early Chum then become lunch for Bear and family along with all the other wildlife which descend on the streams at this time of year to join in the fall feast the spawned fish provide. So as you can read now is the time to feast on natures abundance, take a baking glass dish pour in Olive oil to cover the bottom, do not be shy Olive oil is really good for you, next a nice bed of Sea Asparagus with a nice fillet of wild salmon laid on top then sliced Chanterelle mushrooms fresh from the forest, bake in the oven at 425 for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet, serve and enjoy. For a little kick I like to put some Mango Dub or Pineapple Express hot sauce [home made] on top before baking, Yum.