Wells Gray Park is Canada’s Waterfall Park. Waterfalls are of course a major attraction for park visitors. But for a fish trying to migrate upstream, they can be a formidable barrier.
How do we account for the many species of fish – lake trout, dolly varden, rainbow trout, mountain white fish, burbot, and kokanee – that nowadays inhabit Wells Gray? How did they make their way past the waterfall barrier to the lakes they now inhabit?
Join fisheries biologist Steve Maricle for a day of looking at and thinking about the fishes of Wells Gray. Steve is a well-respected fisheries biologist with the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and is responsible for managing more than 1,100 small lakes in the Thompson River drainage. Earlier in his career he worked with steelhead and inland river management, which included the fishery on the Clearwater and Mahood rivers.
We’ll meet Maricle at 10 a.m. at the Wells Gray Infocentre in Clearwater on Sunday, Sept. 9, or at 10:30 a.m. at the Upper Clearwater Community Hall, 25 km north of Clearwater.
From there we’ll north to Bailey’s Chute, about an hour up the road, to glimpse the chinook salmon leaping from the water in their impossible attempt to get past this tobogganing rapid. The chinook is the largest of the three salmon species that return from the ocean to spawn in the Clearwater River and its tributaries, and then die.
From Bailey’s Chute, naturalists Trevor Goward and Gy Ovenden will join Maricle for a two-hour return walk on the circle trail to West Lake. Along the way we’ll have a look at some of the park’s plants, mushrooms, and whatever else catches our attention. The trail is mostly easy walking, though be prepared for a few ups and down.
Later we’ll head down valley to the Upper Clearwater Community Hall for an illustrated talk by Steve on the fishes of the Clearwater Valley. The talk will start at about 3 p.m. and will continue until we run out of questions, or about 4:30 p.m., whichever comes first.
Please bring warm clothing and a bag lunch.
This is the second event in Wells Gray World Heritage Year: a series of no-cost tours, hikes, field courses, lectures, and children’s events hosted by Thompson Rivers University and Trevor Goward’s Edgewood Blue. Wells Gray World Heritage Year celebrates the opening of the Wells Gray TRU Wilderness Centre in 2013 and promotes learning and research in Wells Gray Provincial Park. It runs from September 2012 through October 2013 inclusive.