End of the Year at Mossom Creek.

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The Mossom watershed is beautiful in the winter season. If you arrive early on a nippy morning, you might see something quite special on some pieces of dead wood by the gravel roadside. This ephemeral phenomenon could be called ‘candy floss frost’ or ‘Santa Claus whiskers’. You might be able to suggest another name. This is a particularly large display on a standing tree trunk beside the gravel road. Usually this special frost is found on a small twig on the ground.

The creek has experienced some full and fast waters recently as evidenced by this photo taken from the bottom of the small set of stairs near the hatchery.

Not long ago, high winds caused us to get out the chain saw as several tree crashed across the road.

Our Mossom Creek Hatchery Christmas party on December 11th was great fun and involved the traditional gift exchange game, a potluck brunch and a food collection for the local food bank.

We welcome new volunteers George and Caroline. They have already gotten into the technical stuff as they were commandeered to assist with weighing and doing length measurements on the coho smolts one recent Sunday. Assistant hatchery manager, Jesse Kouwenhoven, was their able instructor.

The heavy rains have delivered quite a bit of silt to our incubating eggs. We’ve waited impatiently for them to become eyed so that we could rinse the, weigh them and begin to remove white, dead eggs that will otherwise grow fungus and create mats of dead and live eggs together. This photo shows one of the heath trays of about 5,000 eyed chum eggs ready to be shocked and rinsed, a process that involves dropping them into a bucket of water from a height. The shocking causes any unfertilized eggs to turn white so that they can be removed along with any eggs that have died.

You can see why these pink beauties are called eyed eggs. Amongst them are some dead white eggs that will be carefully removed and counted, a process call dead-picking that will consume quite a bit of volunteer time in the next month.

Anmore resident and Grade 12 student, Alex Stein, is doing Work Experience at Mossom Creek Hatchery on Sundays. The fish condition coefficient that he is studying is our measure of the fitness of our coho smolts. It’s a ratio calculation that uses the average length and weight from a sample of about 50 individuals to determine whether they are over or under weight.

A very Happy New Year from Mossom Creek Hatchery. Please drop by for Sunday coffee and treats (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.). If you’d like, we’ll put you to work feeding fish or working with the eggs. Children are always welcome.

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