Skip to main content

Coho-ho! A December 2022 Fish Update

Coho-ho! A December 2022 Fish Update

By Eric Ettlinger, Aquatic Ecologist, Marin Water

Mid-December is often peak season for Coho Salmon spawning in the Lagunitas Creek watershed. Coho numbers can peak as early as the first week in December (when November is wet), or as late as the end of January (when the rains are delayed). This year the storms arrived in early December and coho numbers surged shortly thereafter. We’ve counted 71 coho redds so far, which is all fairly typical.
What hasn’t been typical is the number of Chinook Salmon we’ve been seeing. In fact, we just broke a 25-year record for Chinook sightings, with a tally that currently stands at 146! Some of those fish were likely counted more than once, which is why we rely more on our counts of redds (gravel nests). By that measure, we’re still a bit shy of an all-time record.
Dry weather is forecast to continue until at least the end of the month, so spawning activity may subside for a bit. When the rains return we’re likely to see more coho spawning, maybe a few more Chinook, and the first steelhead of the season. At least, that’s what would be typical.

This update was originally prepared December 19, 2022. 

Two Chinook Salmon, mostly gray with whitish underside and a few white spots, swim under a thin brown branch, against a background of brown gravel creek bottom

A pair of Chinook at the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area (© George Osner)