salmon spawning

Lang Creek

Aerial view of Lang Creek Watershed

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Maximum estimated returns from 1947 to 2018 (retrieved from Department of Fisheries and Oceans, British Columbia) of Chinook, Chum, Coho and Pink salmon species for Lang Creek.

Lang Creek is on the mainland south of Powell River. Extensive private and Crown land logging has occurred throughout this watershed. The watershed also has agricultural land under cultivation. It is thought that the Lang Creek watershed once supported runs of Pink, Chum, Coho, Chinook and Steelhead in addition to Kokanee, Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout. Before the historic run of Chinook was lost in 1952, 15,000 Chinook had returned in a single year. Pink, Coho and Steelhead had peak historical escapements of 3,500 each; Chum peaked at 7,500.

In 1983, a major Salmon Enhancement Program hatchery was established. From 1984-90, approximately 400,000 Chinook juveniles were released along with ~1.2 million Chum, ~ 1.1 million Coho, and ~851,00 Pink. By 1990, the Lang system was providing ~ 60% of the Coho for Sub district 15 (Powell River). In 1994, the province noted that the area had seen extensive past harvesting and that harvesting was ongoing. Rehabilitation of the estuary was required due to log dumping activities. In 1997, Lang Creek was one of 15 rivers in B.C. to receive a Sensitive Stream Designation under the Fisheries Protection Act. A Coastal Watershed Assessment for Haslam Lake – Lang Creek Community Watershed was conducted as part of the 1998 Integrated Watershed Management Plan.

The most recent data has maximum peak escapements of 3,984 for Coho (1991-2000), 1,897 for Pink (1990-99), 28,000 for Chum (1992-2000), and 1,354 for Chinook (1988-2000).

Lang Creek still has (2009) active hatchery enhancement for Chum and is one of two major Chum spawning sites along with Sliammon Creek in Area 15. It is also an important system for Pink. Between 1989-92, 9,000 juvenile Steelhead were released. Nonetheless reports in 2002 and again in 2004 identified an extreme conservation concern for the winter run of Steelhead. It appears that Lang Creek salmon populations are entirely dependent on hatchery operations.

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