Smolt Counts

Each year in May we monitor the population of smolts leaving the Maxwelton Creek system. The smolt trap attaches to a culvert, and all the fish heading downstream are trapped, and counted and photographed by our volunteers. We get a permit to trap the fish and make a report to WDFW annually.

Installing the smolt trap on Maxwelton Creek

Installing the smolt trap on Maxwelton Creek

 In the stream we typically find cutthroat trout, Coho salmon, and sticklebacks. We count the number of Coho to help us determine if fish are successfully reproducing.  Coho spawn in the creek in late fall/winter and after they emerge they live as fry in the stream for 18 months. They begin their transformation to smolt and begin swimming downstream where they will enter the salt water. They are bright silver at this point and have started to loose their parr marks that helped them hide in the shallow stream.

If you want to read the annual report you can see it here: 2013 Maxwelton fish utilization report

The Smolt trap with the lid open showing instructions

The Smolt trap with the lid open showing instructions