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Role of off channel ponds in the life cycle of coho salmon oncorhynchus kisutch and other juvenile salmonids in the coldwater river british columbia canada



Role of off channel ponds in the life cycle of coho salmon oncorhynchus kisutch and other juvenile salmonids in the coldwater river british columbia canada



Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 46(2): 232-242



Off-channel ponds in the upper reaches of the Coldwater River, British Columbia, were major rearing areas for juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), steelhead trout (Salmo gairdneri), and Dolly Varden char (Salvelinus malma) were generally scarce in the ponds, although they were numerous in the main river. Coho salmon were predominant at "natural" river sites while steelhead trout was the main species at sites with "rip-rap" bank stabilization. Catches of juvenile coho were much lower in the main river than in the ponds where they were the main species, and were more variable in the river. Population density and biomass estimates of juvenile coho in the ponds ranged from 0.100 fish .cntdot. min-2 and 1.00 g .cntdot. m-2 to 1.00 fish .cntdot. m-2 and 5.15 g .cntdot. m-2, compared with density estimates of 0.08-0.23 fish .cntdot. m-2 in the river. The coho population in the ponds consisted of 0+ and 1+ age-groups in similar proportions, while in the main river the 0 + age-group was much more abundant. The growth rate of coho in the ponds was faster than in the main river, with pond fish reaching mean lengths of 62-79 mm at the end of the first growing season, compared with 53 mm in the main river. Smolt outmigration from the main study pond occurred in late spring with peak outmigration in May and June coinciding with peak river discharge and increasing water temperatures in the main river and pond.

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