Spanish Bank is the beach west of Tolmie Street on North West Marine Drive named to “commemorate the meeting of the English (under Captain Vancouver) and the Spanish (under Galiano and Valdes) in this area in June 1792” according to BC Geographical place names:
The Coho fry stay in the creek for a year and a half, leaving the creek in June to return a year and a half later, usually between November 15 and December 15. The chum leave the creek as fry, (either shortly after hatching or after being released into the creek as fry) to return between 3 and 5 years later (usually 4 years) to spawn. The fish and fry change their colour in order to blend into the background, which helps to prevent them from being eaten by predators.
|If it wasn't for the shadow, this salmon fry would be hard to spot|
|Measuring salmon fry|
The creek is now cared for by volunteer stream keepers. I have helped with chum drops in the last 2 years and I often stop to talk to stream keepers when they are by the creek or just to observe. I have taken pictures of the arrival of the chum fry, the portioning into pails and then the release into the creek. School groups are involved in the release of fry into the creek from a platform that was built just south of North West Marine Drive for that purpose, The stream keepers also take buckets of fish as far up the creek as the temperate rain forest allows; this way the chum are able to spend more time in the creek before their trip to the ocean and it is hoped allow them to become imprinted on the creek for their return several years later. Last Fall I was lucky enough to see spawning fish entering the creek and watched for some time as they struggled up the creek.
|Some of the Spanish Bank Stream keepers and DFO Canada members (standing) Dick Scarth, Ron Gruber, Scott Ducharme (DFO), Jesse Neri (DFO), Sandie Hollick-Kenyon (DFO) and (kneeling in front) Maurice Le Gallais|
Come and see the creek, but watch from the foreshore path or creek shore and remember that the stream keepers path is for authorized persons only to protect the well being of the creek and the fish and for the safety of the public.
Thank you for reading this post, thank you to all those involved in bring the creek back to life and a special thank you to my neighbour Maurice LeGallais for his help with this post.