Friday, May 17, 2013

Things you see when you're working on the river.

This Spring is my third or maybe fourth on the Coquitlam river working with Matt.  All  sorts of things come down the river and end up in the RSTs (Rotary Screw Traps).
Me posing and looking tough I do look tough, right?

One year I put my hand into the side of the trap to remove debris, and pulled out a drowned squirrel.  That is an example of a bad thing to find in a trap.

But usually you find cool things.  Like a Belostomatid aka a "giant water bug" or "toe-biter" (seriously).

These things may look like just bugs, but they actually stalk and eat fish. They have a snorkel on their back end and they wait just under the surface for something to swim by, then they pierce it, inject their digestive juices and suck the whole mess back in.  They have something called a Piercing-Sucking Mouthpart.  Nice huh?  Apparently their bites are extremely painful - Matt can attest to this as can another technician I spoke to who works on the river.  You can bet I kept my fingers tucked carefully into the pocket of my chest waders until Matt moved it out of the trap.

My big fat head and a deer getting ready to have a drink
We often see cool things from the trap, like deer, or black bears and sometimes rarer things.  Matt has been lucky enough to see flying squirrels and once even a lynx.

We find sculpins that are overstuffed and can barely swim after spending a night in a trap with a bunch of fry.  Hellooo baby...

Lamprey.  Yes, yes, they're cool but I don't want to touch them.  Have you seen their mouths???

Salamanders of course...

Sometimes we open the trap in the morning and are suprised to see an adult steelhead which we try to release as quickly as possible.

But mostly we trap smolts (chum, coho, steelhead), rainbows and dace.  They're ID'd, measured and released, with or without a mark.

And we count fry....

Buckets and buckets of fry.  Thousands of fry. 

We ID chum, coho, chinook fry and look for dye marks.

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