Where are all our Kokanee red fish?

By David F. Rooney

Every year at this time Bridge Creek and the other small tributaries of the Illecillewaet and Columbia Rivers play host to our community’s liveliest and most lovely little creatures — the Kokanee red fish.

This year, though, we may be disappointed because none have yet shown up to spawn.

That is putting a kink in plans to hold the annual Kokanee Festival at Bridge Creek.

Hailey Ross, organizer of this year’s celebration of the red fish — which is held each year at Bridge Creek for elementary school students — has postponed the festival from this Friday, September 21, until October 3 in hopes there will be fish for the children to see.

Let’s cross our fingers and pray the little red and green creatures make an appearance then.


Where, o where are our kokanee red fish? The delightful little creatures have not put in an appearance at Bridge Creek and that may be due, in part, to low water levels in the Illecillewaet River. David F. Rooney photo
There are none in any of the pools leading up from the mouth of the creek to the main spawning beds. David F. Rooney photo
Normally, Bridge Creek should be alive with spawning Kokanee. Revelstoke Current file photo
This main pool above the pedestrian bridge that spans the creek is devoid of Oncorhynchus nerka kennerlyi (that’s their scientific name. Normally, there would be 20 or more of the darting, jewel-like fish spawning here. David F. Rooney photo
The Illecillewaet River itself is very low, after a spring and summer of abnormally high water levels. David F. Rooney photo
A quick trip out to Moses Creek didn’t yield any fish in the main pool there, either. David F. Rooney photo
Nor were there any red fish in the spawning channel dug by the Rod & Gun Club. With September almost gone it makes you wonder if we’ll see any Kokanee this year. David F. Rooney photo