Students release 100 coho salmon fry into Cowichan Lake

Riley Thomassen, from Lisa Huck’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School, marvels at the coho salmon fry he is about to release into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Riley Thomassen, from Lisa Huck’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School, marvels at the coho salmon fry he is about to release into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Riley Thomassen, and his classmates from Lisa Huck’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School, release coho salmon fry into Cowichan Lake in Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Riley Thomassen, and his classmates from Lisa Huck’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School, release coho salmon fry into Cowichan Lake in Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Teacher Lindsay Hartshorn shows Wesley Blanchette, a student from Trina Dyer’s Grade 4/5 class, a picture of a coho salmon at the Saywell Park dock during the release of 100 coho fry into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Teacher Lindsay Hartshorn shows Wesley Blanchette, a student from Trina Dyer’s Grade 4/5 class, a picture of a coho salmon at the Saywell Park dock during the release of 100 coho fry into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Coho salmon fry swim in a bucket prior to their release into Cowichan Lake by Grade 4, 5 and 6 students from Lake Cowichan School on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Coho salmon fry swim in a bucket prior to their release into Cowichan Lake by Grade 4, 5 and 6 students from Lake Cowichan School on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Pearl Higgins, from Trina Dyer’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School, releases a coho salmon fry into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Pearl Higgins, from Trina Dyer’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School, releases a coho salmon fry into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Students from Becky Olson’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School watch for the coho salmon fry they have just released into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Students from Becky Olson’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School watch for the coho salmon fry they have just released into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Students from Becky Olson’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School receive plastic cups containing coho salmon fry from Lindsay Hartshorn for release into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Students from Becky Olson’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School receive plastic cups containing coho salmon fry from Lindsay Hartshorn for release into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)

Grade 4, 5 and 6 students from Lake Cowichan School added another 100 salmon to the ecosystem on Tuesday, April 19.

Students from three classes — taught by Lisa Huck, Trina Dyer and Becky Olson — took turns releasing coho salmon fry into the waters of Cowichan Lake from the dock at Saywell Park.

“We’ve been doing a lot on salmon and the cultural importance of salmon,” Huck said. “We’re hoping for better weather so we can get out on the land more.”

It was the third time Olson’s class has participated in the salmon release program, and the first time for Huck’s and Dyer’s classes. Teacher Lindsay Hartshorn was also involved in the program, handing out fry in plastic cups for the students to release into the lake.

All of the fish were incubated in the students’ classrooms from eggs supplied by the Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society, which provides eggs to schools all over the Cowichan Valley for similar programs.

According to Bob Crandall of the Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society, the fry were all imprinted with the scent of Beaver Creek by the presence of rocks from that creek in their aquariums at the school. That means that the fish will eventually return to Beaver Creek to spawn. While some salmon species head straight to the ocean upon hatching or being released, the coho will spend the next year in the lake before they go to the ocean.

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