Enumeration of Coho in the Lower Chilcotin River and Feasibility of Estimating Spring-run Chinook Salmon Escapement in a Fraser River Tributary

This project’s goal is to estimate the Coho escapement to the Lower Chilcotin River using electronic counter methods (e.g. SONAR, resistivity) that are highly reliable, efficient, and cost effective. This system supports Interior Fraser Coho (IFC) but was not enumerated until 2020 (first year of proposal). Obtaining Coho spawner counts from the Lower Chilcotin will improve our ability to assess the stock status of Interior Fraser Coho against PST management reference points, which include returns to sub-populations. This project will also provide precise and accurate numbers that will improve stock recruit modeling and could form an important component of a system wide estimate for IFC using high accuracy counts and PIT tags. As well, the recent successful SONAR enumeration of Chinook on the Lower Chilcotin system provides an opportunity to extend the field program to produce a high quality estimate of Coho escapement and to cut costs through economies of scale.

This proposal encompasses a request for continuing to implement the electronic counter at L. Chilcotin for Coho for a second year and for a single year of feasibility work to support an additional Spring 1.2 or 1.3 Chinook system.