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PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31ST,… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1931

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 PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
EEPORT
OF   THE
COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31ST, 1929
WITH APPENDICES
PRINTED by
authority of the legislative assembly.
VICTORIA,   B.C.:
Printed by Charles F. Baneield, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
1930.  To His Honour Robert Randolph Britce,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia.
May it please Your Honour:
I beg to submit herewith the Report of the Provincial Fisheries Department for the year
ended December 31st, 1929, with Appendices. .
SAMUEL LYNESS HOWE,
Commissioner of Fisheries.
Provincial Fisheries Department,
Commissioner of Fisheries' Office,
Victoria, British Columbia, December 31st, 1929. TABLE OF CONTENTS.
FISHERIES COMMISSIONER'S REPORT FOR 1929.
Page.
Value of Fisheries and Standing of Provinces     5
Species and Value of Fish caught in British Columbia     5
Salmon-pack in British Columbia in 1929     6
Salmon-pack by Districts in 1929     6
Mild-cured Salmon     9
Digest of Reports from Salmon-spawning Areas     9
Indians fishing on Spawning Areas  10
Contribution to the Life-history of the Sockeye Salmon  11
Fish Oil and Meal Production  14
Halibut Landings  15
The Halibut Investigation  15
Pilchard and Herring Investigation  15
APPENDICES.
Contribution to the Life-history of the Sockeye Salmon.    (No. 15.)    By Drs. W. A. and
Lucy S. Clemens  17
Spawning-beds of ti-ie Fraser River.    By John,Pease Babcock  44
Spawning-beds of Rivers Inlet.    By A. W. Stone  49
Spawning-beds of Smith Inlet.    By A. W. Stone  52
Spawning-beds of the Skeena River.    By Robert Gibson  54
Spawning-beds of the Nass River.    By C. P. Hickman  57
Salmon-pack in 1929 in Detail  59
Salmon-pack of Province, by Districts and Species, 1914 to 1929, inclusive  62
sockeye-salmon pack of entire fraser rlver system, 1914 to 1929, inclusive  65
Sockeye-salmon Pack of Province, by Districts, 1914 to 1929, inclusive  65
Production of Fish Oil and Meal, 1920 to 1929, inclusive  66 FISHERIES COMMISSIONER'S REPORT
FOR 1929.
VALUE OF CANADIAN FISHERIES AND THE STANDING OF PROVINCES, 1928.
The value of the fishery products of Canada for the year 1928 totalled $55,050,973. During
that year British Columbia produced fishery products of a value of $20,562,727, or 48 per cent.
of Canada's total.
In 1928 British Columbia again led all the Provinces in the Dominion, as has been the case
for many years, in the value of her fishery products. Her output exceeded in value that of
Nova Scotia, the second in rank, by $14,880,732,, and also exceeded that of all the other Provinces
combined by $9,756,476.
The market value of the fishery products of British Columbia in 1928 was $3,298,385 greater
than in the previous year, 1927, due largely to an increase in the salmon-pack.
The capital invested in the fisheries of British Columbia in 1928 was $32,926,325, or 56 per
cent, of the total capital employed in Canada. Of the $32,926,325 invested in the fisheries of
British Columbia in 1928, $11,964,987 was employed in catching and handling the catches and
$20,961,338 invested in canneries, fish-packing establishments, and fish-reduction plants.
The number of persons engaged in British Columbia fisheries in 1928 was 18,994, or 24 per
cent, of Canada's total of 78,219. Of the 18,994 engaged in British Columbia, 11,818 were
employed in catching and handling the catches and 7,176 in packing, curing, and fish-reduction.
The total number engaged in the fisheries in 1928 was 2,328 less than in the preceding year.*
The following statement gives in the order of their rank the value of the fishery products
of the Provinces of Canada for the years 1924 to 1928, inclusive:—
Province.
1924.
1925.
1926.
1927.
1928.
$21,257,567
8,777,251
'5,383,509
3,557,587
2,283,314
1,232,563
1,201,772
339,107
482,492
18,773
$22,414,618
10,213,779
4,798,589
3,436,412
3,044,919
1,466,939
1,598,119
458,504
494,882
15,370
$27,367,109
12,505,922
5,325,478
3,152,193
3,110,964
2,328,803
1,358,934
749,076
444,288
17,856
$23,264,342
10,783,631
4,406,673
3,'670,'229
2,736,450
'2,039,738
1,367,807
712,469
503,609
12,090
$26,562,727
11,681,995
5,001,641
4,O30,7'53
2,996,614
2,240,314
1,196,681
725,050
'563,533
51,665
Totals	
$44,534,235
$47,942,131
$56,360,633
$49,497,038
$55,050,973
THE SPECIES AND VALUE OF FISH CAUGHT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.
The total value of each of the principal species of fish taken in British Columbia for the
year ended December 31st, 1928, is given in the following statement:—
Salmon     $17,345,670
Halibut        3,370,670
Herring, oil, meal, etc       1,808,944
Cod, hake          367,829
Pilchard, oil, meal, .etc      2,563,137
Clams,  abalones  '.         135,795
Black cod   101,452
Crabs   33,868
Carried forward  $25,727,365
* As this report goes to press the Commissioner is in receipt of a preliminary report on the fishery
products of the Province for the year 1929, issued by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics—E. H. Coats,
Statistician—from which the following data are taken: The value of the fishery products of British
Columbia in 1929 totalled $23,930,692, a decrease of $2,632,035 compared with production in 192S. J 6 REPORT OF THE  COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
The Species and Value of Fish caught in British Columbla.—Continued.
Brought forward  $25,727,365
Soles  :  36,276
Shrimps    '.  14,280
Oysters  42,818
Flounders, brill  19,832
Red cod   21,396
Perch     12,389
Smelt   11,723
Sturgeon    6,338
Octopus  2,921
Skate  4,332
Oolachans  '.  2,349
Whiting, bass, etc  272
Trout   832
Whales     318,616
Fish-oils, grayfish, etc  119,120
Fish-meals     173,920
Fish-fertilizer     24,856
Fur-seals   23,092
Total  $26,562,727
The above statement shows that the salmon-fisheries  of the  Province in  1928 produced
$17,345,670, or 65 per cent, of her total fishery products.    It was, owing to an increased catch,
$3,091,867 greater than the salmon products of the preceding year.
The total halibut landings were marketed for $3,370,670.    This was $470,663 less than in
1927.    The herring-catch produced $1,808,944, substantially the same as in 1927.    The catch of
pilchards produced $2,563,137, a gain over 1927 of $724,270.
The foregoing data are derived from the " Fishery Statistics of Canada " for 1928.
THE SALMON-PACK OF THE PROVINCE IN 1929.
The salmon-pack of the Province in 1929 totalled 1,398,770 cases. It was 396,414 cases less
than the average of the four preceding years. It consisted of 281,277 cases of sockeye, 17,765
cases of springs, 173,237 cases of cohoes, 477,853 cases of pinks, and 424,890 cases of chums,
etc.    The sockeye-pack was 29,004 cases less than the average of the preceding four years.
THE 1929 PACK BY DISTRICTS.
The Fraser River System.—The catch of all species of salmon in Provincial waters of the
Fraser River system produced a total pack of 426,473 cases, as against 258,224 cases in 1928,
284,378 in 1927, 274,951 in 1926, and 276,855 in 1925. It was the largest pack made from those
waters since 1913. The pack consisted of 61,569 cases of sockeye, 10,004 cases of springs, 40,520
cases of cohoes, 158,208 cases of pinks, and 144,159 cases of chums, etc.
The pack of sockeye was 26,184 cases greater than that made in 1925, the brood-year of this
year's run. The pack, however, was not, as has been commonly stated, the largest made on the
Fraser in recent years. It was exceeded by the pack of 1926 by 24,120 cases, and it only
exceeded the pack of 1927 by 176 cases.
The catch of sockeye made in the State of Washington waters of the Fraser River system
in 1929 produced a pack of 111,898 cases, substantially the same as-in the brood-year 1925.
The combined catch of sockeye in the entire Fraser River system in 1929 produced a total
pack of 173,467 cases. It was 26,059 cases greater than in the run's brood-year 1925 and the
largest made in the whole system since 1913. In this connection it should be noted that 1929
came within the four-year cycle of former big-year runs—the years in which the sockeye run
made the fishery of the Fraser famous. It should also be noted that for the first year since
1917 there was a good run of sockeye to the system in early July, and the catches made in
that month were much the largest made in any July since 1917, also that the fish were large,
fat, and in all other respects resembled the fish in the runs of the big years. As will be shown
later, the early escapement of sockeye in 1929 was also greater and, as in the big years, the fish BRITISH COLUMBIA. J 7
that escaped ascended the Fraser to its headwaters. The July catch of sockeye in Provincial
waters of the system produced a pack of 32,282 cases, out of a seasonal pack of 61,569 cases.
Of the 32,282 cases, 12,428 were packed by the 13th of that month.
The following tabulation gives the weekly pack of sockeye made in Provincial waters of the
Fraser system in 1929. It includes the sockeye caught in the traps in Juan de Fuca Strait and
canned at Esquimalt:—■
Week ending. Cases. Week ending. Cases.
June 29       418 Sept. 14     1,474
July    6     5,920 Sept. 21        996
July  13     6,085 Sept. 28       604
July  20     3,992 Oct.     5       820
July  27  10,556 Oct.   12       340
Aug.    3  10,582 Oct.   26 (two weeks)        340
Aug.  10     9,395 Nov.    2  9    .
Aug.  17    4,449 Nov.  20 (final)   5
Aug. 24     2,690 	
Aug.  31     3,026 Total.'.  63,409.
Sept.   7     1,708
In their forecast of the sockeye ran to the Fraser River system in 1930, Drs. Clemens stated
that the run will be derived largely from the spawning of 1926. In that year there was an
increase in the pack over that of 1922, mainly because of the appearance of a large run late in
the season. There was a large escapement to Adams River, and there would seem to be every
reason to expect a good return from that spawning. It will be of interest to see not only if the
run does materialize, but if it occurs late in the season, as it did in 1926.
The pack of pinks—it was a year in which the pinks run in the Fraser—was the largest
made from those waters in the past sixteen years. It was 55,672 cases greater than in 1927, the
brood-year of this year's run.
The chum-pack of 144,159 cases was 48,947 cases less than in the record high year 1928,
notwithstanding that it greatly exceeded that of all other years.
The Skeena River.—The salmon-pack of the Skeena River in 1929 totalled 220,245 cases,
consisting of 78,017 cases of sockeye, 4,324 cases of springs, 37,678 cases of cohoe, 95,305 cases of
pinks, and 4,908 cases of chums. The pack was the second smallest made on the Skeena for the
last nine years. It was 90,457 cases less than the average in the four preceding years, but it
was not a year in which the pinks ran in abundance.
The catch of sockeye was especially disappointing. It was 50 per cent, less than the
Department's forecast. Drs. Clemens, in a forecast of the sockeye run to the Skeena (see
Report of 1928), wrote:—
"The run of 1929 will be derived from the seedings of 1924 and 1925. In 1924 the pack
consisted of 144,747 cases and the samplings of fish in that year showed that the five-year-old
fish made up 75 per cent, of the run. The report from the spawning-beds at both Lakelse and
Babine Lakes states that large numbers of sockeye reached the streams and in general the runs
were exceptionally good. The prospect of a large return of five-year-old fish in 1929 should
therefore be good. In 1925 the pack amounted to 81,146 cases and the run was made up of
53 per cent, of four-year-old fish. The spawning-beds were reported as having been very well
seeded. In view of these facts, it would seem that a large run, possibly producing a pack in the
neighbourhood of 140,000 cases, may be expected."
The above quotation again demonstrates how little dependence can be placed on forecasts
based on pack and spawning-bed records of brood-years. Years in which the catches and the
seeding of the beds were large may be, and in this case were, followed by a poor return. The
catches of the last few years on the Skeena are disturbing. It should be noted, however, that
the Department's attempts to estimate the extent of the runs are based upon the assumption
that conditions will remain relatively constant from year to year. As Drs. Clemens have pointed
out in previous years, conditions do not and cannot remain absolutely uniform from year to year.
In 1929 two factors at least have entered into the situation—namely, climatic conditions were
extremely unfavourable for fishing, and the fishing boundary was moved 3 miles down-stream.
It is impossible to evaluate these factors, but undoubtedly they to some degree reduced the catch
and increased the escapement.    Reports from the spawhing-beds indicate an abundant seeding, J 8 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
especially in the Babine area. It is evident that a more accurate system of assessing the escapement is required, and it is hoped that in the near future a very intensive study may be made in
this river system which may result in developing a working-plan whereby, among other things,
it will be possible to state the number of cases which may safely be taken in each year and at
the same time allow an escapement sufficient to maintain a maximum production.
The run of sockeye to the Skeena in 1930, the report states, will be derived from the seedings
of 1925 and 1926. In 1925 the pack consisted of 81,146 cases, and the samplings in that year
showed that the five-year-old fish constituted 47 per cent, of the run. In 1926 the pack amounted
to 82,360 cases and the four-year-old fish formed 70 per cent, of the run. In both years the
spawning-beds of both the Lakelse and Babine areas were reported very well seeded. There
would appear, therefore, to be reason to expect a fair run in 1930 and to believe that a pack
of approximately 75,000 cases may be made.
The catch of pink salmon on the Skeena—it was not a year in which they run in abundance—
produced a pack of 95,305 cases, over 50 per cent, greater than in the brood-year. The catch of
chums was distinctly small;  the catches in each of the last three years have been small.
Rivers Inlet.—The salmon-catch in Rivers Inlet produced a pack of 75,126 cases, consisting
of 70,260 cases of sockeye, 342 cases of springs, 1,120 cases of cohoes, 2,386 cases of pinks, and
989 cases of chums, etc.
Notwithstanding that the catch was somewhat larger than in the three preceding years, it
did not come up to the forecast, and again leaves considerable uncertainty as to conditions there.
The annual pack varies over a wide range and the relative proportions of the four-year- and the
five-year-old fish show marked variations from year to year. However, as Dr. Gilbert and the
Drs. Clemens have pointed out, the runs to Rivers Inlet occur in five-year cycles. In their report
for 1928 Drs. Clemens wrote:—
" The run of 1929 will be the product of the spawnings of 1924 and 1925. In 1924, according
to the report from the spawning-beds, there was an exceptionally large escapement and the
samplings in that year showed that five-year-old fish made up 56 per cent, of the run. The pack
consisted of 94,891 cases. The report from the spawning-beds in 1925 indicated an excellent
escapement, but in that year 77 per cent, of the run consisted of five-year-old fish and it is not
expected that the progeny of these fish will appear until 1930. The four-year-old fish formed
23 per cent, of the run which produced the large pack of 159,554 cases. There may therefore
be a return of a fair number of four-year-old fish in 1929. Taking these things into consideration,
and also that the fact that the year 1929 belongs to the 1909-14-19-24 cycle, there would seem
to be reasonable expectancy of a run which may produce a pack between 85,000 and 95,000 cases."
In forecasting the run to Rivers Inlet in 1930, Drs. Clemens state: "Since the year 1930
belongs to the cycle 1915-1920-1925, in which the five-year component has always been large—
from 77 to 95 per cent.—we may look for a very large pack. Without taking the other brood-
year, 1926, into account, the expectancy would be about 125,000 cases. In 1926 the pack was
small—65,581 cases—and the seedings only fair, so the four-year-old fish probably cannot be
counted upon to bring the total pack up to more than 150,000 or 160,000 cases."
The Nass River.—The 1929 catch of salmon on the " erratic Nass River " was again a very
small one. It produced a pack of but 29,185 cases, the smallest recorded there in many years.
It consisted of 16,077 cases of sockeye, 252 cases of springs, 10,342 cases of pinks, and 1,202 cases
of chums, etc. As stated in their report for 1928, Drs. Clemens were unable to make a forecast
of the 1929 run to the Nass.    They said:—
" We simply state that in the past the packs of this five-year cycle have been consistently
large, as the following figures show: 1909, 28,246 cases ; 1914, 31,327 cases ; 1919, 28,259 cases;
1924, 33,590 cases. In former years the late Dr. Gilbert pointed out on several occasions that
large runs in the Skeena and Rivers Inlet seemed to be intimately associated with large
percentages of five-year-old fish. It is interesting to note that in this cycle of the Nass the
four-year-old component of the runs is very small. We have no figure for 1909, but in 1914 the
four-year-olds constituted only 4 per cent, of the run; in 1919, 7 per cent.; and in 1924, 4 per
cent.; while over a period of seventeen years the general average of this group is 11-12 per cent.
Not only is the brood-year pack of 1919 larger, but, in addition, in that year Inspector Hickman
reported the spawning-beds more extensively seeded than usual. In any other river system,
except the Nass, these facts would indicate a very good return in 1929."
Vancouver Island.—The catch of salmon from the waters of Vancouver Island produced a
total pack of 294,854 cases.   As usual, it consisted largely of pinks and chum salmon.   The BRITISH COLUMBIA. J 9
pack was comprised of 10,340 cases of sockeye (those taken in the traps in Juan de Fuca Strait
being credited to the Fraser River), 35,504 cases of cohoe, 1,645 cases of springs, 74,001 cases
of pinks, and 162,246 cases of chum, etc.
Smith Inlet.—The run of salmon to Smith Inlet in 1929 was surprisingly small. The catch
produced a pack of but 11,014 cases, of which 9,683 cases were sockeye. It was much the smallest
pack recorded there. The run consisted of fish derived from the brood-years 1924 and 1925.
The seeding of the beds in 1924 was light and in 1925 heavy, as the following extracts from the
spawning-bed reports of Fishery Officer Stone show. In summing up his report in 1924 he
wrote:—
" In summing up the results of the inspection of this watershed, I am of the opinion that
a moderate run only need be expected from the spawning of this season. The entire lack of
those immense masses of sockeye which had possession of the spawning-beds in 1919-20 cannot
but have its effect in curtailing the extent of the run of fish that will return four and five years
hence."
His summary in 1925 reads : " In summing up the results of the inspection of the spawning-
beds at Smith Inlet, I am of the opinion that the remarkable showing of sockeye on the beds
will be reflected in a big run of fish from the eggs deposited this season. In size the run of the
sockeye reached a high standard.    The preponderance of males over females was very small."
The latter again shows that a good seeding of the spawning-beds may be followed by a poor
return.
MILD-CURED SALMON.
The production of mild-cured salmon in the Province in 1929 totalled 3,016 tierces, containing
averagely 825 lb., a total of 2,488,200 lb., valued at close to $500,000, 47 per cent, of which was
tierced on the Skeena.
REPORTS FROM SALMON-SPAWNING BEDS.
During the year, as in former ones since 1901, the Department investigated conditions on
the spawning-beds of the Fraser, Skeena, and Nass Rivers, and Rivers and Smith Inlets. The
following is a brief summary of the reports, all of which will be found in full in the Appendix
of this report:—
The Fraser River.—The inspection of the spawning areas of the Fraser was again made by
Mr. Babcock, his twenty-seventh annual inspection. In addition to personal inspection, valuable
data as to conditions were supplied by Major J. A. Motherwell, Chief Supervisor of Fisheries
for the Province.
In a study of conditions of the salmon-spawning areas of the Fraser River, it should,
Mr. Babcock states, be noted that the year came within the four-year cycle of former big runs.
For the first year since 1917 there was a considerable run of sockeye in the Fraser system in
early July and the escapement was larger than usual, and the fish that did escape in the early
part of the season, as in former years, ascended the river to its headwaters.
Sockeye in numbers made their appearance at Hell's Gate Canyon, above Yale, in July and
August. Water conditions there were favourable for their passage throughout the season.
Sockeye in numbers were also reported as passing the rapids in the Fraser, above the mouth of
Bridge River.
A greater number of sockeye reached Stuart and Chilko Lakes this year than in any year
since 1917.    The run to Quesnel and other headwater lakes was small.
The first sockeye reached Stuart Lake on July 17th and were in evidence every day up to
the 30th. The fish were large and in fine condition, but unfortunately the Indians caught and
smoked close to 9,000 of them, leaving few to spawn. This was the first year since 1919 in which
the Indians have caught enough to smoke any of them. In connection with their appearance
at Stuart Lake on July 17th, it is recalled that the first sockeye were noted at Hell's Gate on
July 7th, and it is believed they were the fish which reached the lake on the 17th, indicating
that they had made the ascent of over 2,000 feet elevation and travelled close to 450 miles in
ten days' time.
Inspection of the spawning tributaries of Stuart Lake indicated that they were but little
better seeded than in recent years, as the Indians appear to have caught most of the fish.
The number of sockeye that entered the Chilcotin River and passed to Chilko Lake was
much greater than in any year since 1917. The first fish were reported on July 27th and were
in evidence in the river up to August 24th and a few as late as September 7th.    The Indians J 10 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
caught close to 4,500. " A notable feature of the Indians fishing on the Chilko River this year,"
Mr. Babcock states, " was the fact that they dressed the fish at the place of capture, transported
them to their houses in automobiles and trucks, and smoked them there." Fishery Officer
Harvey, of the Dominion Service, detailed to the patrol of the river and lake, estimates that
70,000 sockeye reached the spawning areas of Chilko Lake this year. In view of the belief that
very few sockeye spawned in Chilko Lake four years ago, the return this year of 70,000 is
very surprising. It is also surprising, considering the run to Stuart and Chilko Lakes, that
the run to Quesnel Lake was very small. Only one or two thousand are believed to have reached
there.
Dominion Fisheries officials reported that upwards of 10,000 sockeye reached the entrance
to Shuswap Lake.    They spawned in Little River, the outlet of the main lake.
For the first time on record there was a pronounced decline in the number of sockeye that
reached the Birkenhead River, at the head of the Harrison-Lillooet Lakes section, this year.
Heretofore the run to this section, year after year, has shown but little variation. Heretofore
it was the only section in the Fraser basin where the run of sockeye had not diminished in
number. Superintendent Graham, who has for many years been in charge of the hatchery on
the Birkenhead and collected the eggs there, reported that the sockeye ran was very small; that
they spawned 95 per cent, of the fish that reached this river and collected but 18,000,000 eggs;
and that natural propagation in that section was " almost nil." The fish which reached the
Birkenhead were unquestionably the product of the spawning there in 1925, when the return was
large, the collection of eggs 40,000,000, and the river's beds abundantly seeded naturally.
In his summary of spawning conditions in the Fraser basin this year, Mr. Babcock.states:
" From the above it will be noted that while the number of sockeye that reached Chilko and
Stuart Lakes was much larger than in any year since 1917, owing to Indians fishing the number
that eventually spawned in any one lake section, with the exception of Chilko Lake in the Fraser
basin, showed no increase over recent years; and that the number which reached the Birkenhead
River, at the head of the Harrison-Lillooet section, and where they were not molested by Indians,
was far less."
The Skeena River.—The inspection of the sockeye-salmon. spawning areas in the Skeena
River basin was again made by Fishery Officer Gibson. In his summary he states that the
Babine Lake areas, the largest lake in British Columbia and the main spawning area of the
Skeena, were well seeded, " although the pack in the lower river was not a large one, obviously
there must have been a large escapement." He attributes the large escapement to an extension
of the weekly closed season, wet weather and clear water, and the 3-mile shortening of the
up-river fishing boundary. Due to the large escapement and spawning in the Babine, Officer
Gibson expresses the opinion that there will be a big return in 1933 and 1934.
The Nass River.—The inspection of the spawning areas of the Nass was again made by
Provincial Inspector of Fisheries C. P. Hickman. It was his twenty-second annual inspection.
He found conditions more favourable than anticipated from the poor catch and pack of sockeye
on the fishing-grounds.    There was a light seeding in the early part of the season.
Rivers and Smith Inlets.—The inspection of the spawning areas of the Rivers and Smith
Inlets runs was again made by Provincial Fishery Officer A. W. Stone. In summarizing the
results of his inspection of the spawning areas of the Rivers Inlet run, he expresses the opinion
that, due to cold wet weather during the fishing season, there was a larger escapement than was
anticipated and that many of the beds were well seeded, though others but lightly seeded.
In his report on the beds of the Smith Inlet run Officer Stone states : " The poor sockeye
run to Smith Inlet this year was foreshadowed in my report of 1924. The poor escapement in
1924 was followed by an extreme ' freshet'; combined they account for the very small pack
this year, the smallest pack in sixteen years." He found the beds so lightly seeded this year
that a larger return five years hence is not to be anticipated.
INDIAN FISHING ON SPAWNING AREAS.
On all the spawning areas of the rivers and lakes frequented by salmon the Indians were
again active. Reports made to the Department were to the effect that the Indians captured
above the commercial fishing limits and adjacent to spawning areas close to 225,000 salmon—
173,000 from the Skeena, 18,000 from the Fraser, and 34,000 from the Nass. Their capture is
a drain on the salmon runs that should be dispensed with by compensation in the way of other
foods, such as canned pilchards or other food product rich in oil and iodine. BRITISH COLUMBIA. J 11
CONTRIBUTION TO THE LIFE-HISTORY OF THE SOCKEYE SALMON.
The fifteenth annual contribution to the series of papers on the life-history of the sockeye
salmon, issued by the Department, which is contained in the Appendix of this report, is contributed by Drs. W. A. and Lucy S. Clemens. These detailed continuous records give the
constituents of the age-classes, sex, weights, and lengths of the sockeye in each of the runs to
the principal salmon-producing waters of the Province for the last sixteen years. They constitute
one of the most detailed continuous records of any fishery. The following is a brief digest of
the present paper:—
Of the runs of sockeye salmon to the four main .river systems of the Province in 1929, that to
the Fraser was the one which may be considered encouraging. The sockeye-catch in the Fraser
River system produced a pack that was 26,059 cases greater than that made in 1925—the brood-
year of the 1929 run—and the increase was made up entirely of the increased catch by Canadian
fishermen. But more important from the standpoint of the future, the spawning escapement to
the upper reaches of the Fraser basin was the largest since 1917.
The sockeye runs to the other three river systems all exhibited discouraging features. The
pack at Rivers Inlet was below expectancy, apparently due to failure of the run of five-year-old
fish. The pack on the Skeena River was much below expectancy, the result, probably, in part
at least, of adverse weather conditions; as the escapement is reported to have been large, there
is reason to believe that the maintenance of the run of the cycle is assured. Unfortunately the
same cannot be said of the Nass River. The run there was a failure, the pack small and
escapement light. This apparently indicates the failure of the 1929-1924-1919 cycle to maintain
itself. Last year the decline in the 1928-1923-1918 cycle was recorded; and the year before,
that of the 1927-1922-1917 cycle. It is evident that the Nass River sockeye situation demands
serious consideration.
General Character of Fraser Run in 1929.
As the run of 1929 belongs to the cycle of former " big " years, it was anticipated with
interest. The total pack for the entire system amounted to 173,467 cases, of which 61,569 cases
were packed in British Columbia and 111,898 in the State of Washington. The reports from
the upper spawning areas indicate an escapement very much better than any since 1917.
There were two noteworthy features in connection with the run this year: First, a large
number of fish appeared in the early part of'the season and apparently proceeded to the upper
regions of the Fraser, including Stuart Lake; second, a considerable number of three-year-old
individuals (grilse) appeared in the run. Reports of their appearance were received from the
Swif tsure Bank ; Sooke; Rosario Straits, and other waters in Washington; the fishing region
of the Fraser;   and from some of the spawning areas of the Upper Fraser.
These two occurrences appear not to be in any way connected with one another, but possibly
to be indicative of different happenings. The first appears to indicate the possibilities of an
increased run in 1933. Undoubtedly the larger run of this year is the result of the fairly large
escapement in 1925. Referring to the report of the spawning-beds in that year, we find that the
escapement to the Upper Fraser areas was larger than in any year subsequent to 1913. Improved
runs were noted in Seton Lake, Chilcotin River, and the tributaries of the Nechako River,
including Stuart, Takla, and other lake tributaries. The conclusion is reached that the great
spawning areas of the Upper Fraser merely await adsquate escapements to become as productive
as ever.
The second occurrence—namely, of the number of grilse—may possibly presage a good run
of four-year-old fish in 1930. In the early days of the Fraser fishery a large .number of grilse
always appeared in the year preceding the " big run." The practical disappearance of the grilse
with the decline of the upper river runs would seemingly indicate that the development of the
three-year-old fish was a characteristic chiefly of the upper basin races. In 1926 there was a
large run of sockeye to the Shuswap Lake area; somewhere between three and six hundred
thousand fish spawned there. It may be that the grilse of 1929 are the product of the spawning
in Adams River in 1926 and are the forerunners of a good return in 1930. That run will be
derived largely from the spawning of 1926. In that year the pack was larger than in 1922,
largely because of a large run late in the season that resulted in an increased escapement to
Adams River, already referred to, and there would seem to be good reason to expect a good
return from the spawning.    It will be of interest to see not only if the run does materialize, J 12 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
but if it occurs late in the season, as it did in 1920.    The cycle of 1918-1923-1926 has shown
consistent improvement since the low pack of 1918, and it may continue.
Characteristics of Rivers Inlet Run.
In their study of the sockeye ran to Rivers Inlet in 1928, Drs. Clemens pointed out that the
data from that system are readily interpreted by accepting the theory that the cycle is preeminently a five-year one. Fair uniformity seems to exist in the tabulations of the packs.
Within a given cycle packs are approximately the same size, and in like manner there is a fair
degree of consistency in the relative percentages of the two age-groups. Correlating the two, it
appears that (1) when the four-year-old fish are in the majority the packs are small, consisting
of 50,000 to 68,000 cases; (2) when the five-year-old fish slightly exceed the four-year-old fish,
the packs run from 85,000 to 95,000 cases ; and (3) when the five-year-olds are greatly in excess,
a pack of at least 120,000 cases is produced.
The year 1929 belongs to the third series, in which the five-year-old fish have always been
slightly in excess of the four-year-olds and the packs have been approximately 85,000 to 95,000
cases. Hence the pack of 1929 of 70,260 cases has fallen below expectancy by from 15,000 to
20,000 cases. In addition, the percentages of the two age-classes are very different from those
of the other years in this cycle. Instead of having the percentage of five-year-old two-years-in-
lake type a little greater than that of the four-years-old two-years-in-lake, we find 19 and 81
per cent, respectively. Turning to Inspector Stone's spawning report to ascertain whether or
not the pack indicates the full extent of the 1929 run, Drs. Clemens find that he reports extensive
seeding of certain regions and very poor seeding in others. He is of the opinion that the pack
would have been larger had not the cold, wet weather interfered with fishing during the early
part of the season, thus permitting a greater escapement than would have occurred otherwise.
We may judge, therefore, that the run probably was somewhat greater than the pack indicates.
But they do not feel justified in concluding that the escapement as reported would have necessarily produced a pack as great as predicted, had the conditions been normal. But when we
consider the percentages of the four- and the five-year-old fish we must remember that these are
relative and not absolute. The point to emphasize is not the superabundance of the four-year-
olds, but the failure of the five-year-olds in the run, by reason of which the proportion of the
four-year-olds is exaggerated. In 1924 the pack of 94,891 cases was good and the escapement
also good. Since the 5's formed 56 per cent, of the ran, it seems reasonable to have expected a
return greater than that of the 19 per cent, shown. After the spawning season in 1924 there was
an unusualy high freshet, and when Inspector Stone made his inspection the following year he
found the streams and rivers scoured out to such an extent that he expressed the fear that untold
damage had been done to the eggs laid down in 1924, and that as a result the runs in 1928 and
1929 would be lessened. While the pack of 1928 was small, seemingly it was all that could be
expected from the brood-years irregardless of the freshet. But, on the other hand, the percentage of five-year-old fish in the ran of 1929 is so unexpectedly small that Drs. Clemens cannot
pass it over without attempting to find a reason for it. It would appear, they state, that
Inspector Stone's fears may have been well founded, and therein lies the explanation of the
failure of the five-year-old fish. Whether this explanation be right or not, the fact remains that
this component of the run has suffered depletion, and in 1934 additional prohibition measures
should be in force in order to permit a very much greater escapement to the spawning-beds.
In that way only can significant recuperation be hoped for.
When we examine, state Drs. Clemens, the pack of 159,554 cases and the spawning escapement of 1925, we find that they form the peak of the Rivers Inlet productivity. In commenting
upon the seeding of that year, Mr. Stone said there should be " an unexampled return."
Consequently the large percentage of four-year-old fish in the 1929 run is not surprising. The
rest of the progeny of that escapement in 1925 would return in 1930 as five-year-olds. Since .
the year 1930 belongs to the cycle 1915-1920-1925, in which the five-year class has always been
large—from 77 to 95 per cent.—we can look for a very large pack in 1930. Without taking the
other brood-year, 1926, into account, the expectancy would be about 125,000 cases. In 1926 the
pack was but 65,581 cases and the seeding only fair, so that the four-year-old fish probably
cannot be counted upon to bring the total pack to more than 150,000 or 160,000 cases.
In dealing with the lengths and weights of individuals of the various age-groups in the 1929
Rivers Inlet run, Drs. Clemens call attention to the fact that a number of years ago the late BRITISH COLUMBIA. J 13
Dr. Gilbert commented on the fact that the Rivers Inlet sockeye were decreasing in size, and
pointed out that the decrease was equally true of both sexes, and that although the tendency
was more marked in the lengths, nevertheless it also showed in their weights. In order to find
out to what extent this reduction in size might be taking place, Drs. Clemens made a tabulation
of the average lengths and weights, combining them in three six-year groups, from which it is
encouraging to note that the size reductions have not taken place steadily. As for length, a
small but significant decrease of from 0.4 to 0.7 inch occurred between the general averages of
1912-1917 and 1918-1923 groups. Between the latter group and that of the 1924-1929 there has
been no further reduction. As a matter of fact, there has been a slight increase in length.
The history of the average weights is similar, although not as striking as that of the lengths.
There has been a very small decrease, followed, in the five-year-old fish, by reversion towards
the greater weight. Comparing the averages of 1929 with those of the 1924-1929 period, except
for the length and w-eight of the four-year-old two-years-in-lake females and the weight of the
five-year-old two-years-in-lake females, there is maintenance or increase in size.
Drs. Clemens state that the four-year-old Rivers Inlet sockeye have always been outstanding
as an age-group in which the two sexes have been nearly identical in size. The general rule
among sockeye is that the females are smaller than the males. But in this particular group the
females are sometimes smaller, sometimes identical with, and sometimes larger than the males.
In 1929, for the first time since 1923 for length, and 1924 for weight, the four-year-old two-years-
in-lake females have been smaller than the males. These 1929 fish show that a similar condition
may also exist in the five-year-olcl two-years-in-lake group. In that group in 1929 the females
were 0.1 inch longer than the males. This is the first record of the kind for length, and there
is only one like record for weight—that in 1927.
Characteristics of the Skeena River Run.
In dealing with the sockeye ran to the Skeena in 1929, Drs. Clemens state that the pack
amounted to 78,017 cases. " That was much below our predicted pack, but it does not necessarily
indicate that the prediction was entirely astray and that the run to the Skeena was a comparative failure. Our attempts to estimate the extent of the runs are based upon the assumption
that conditions will remain relatively constant from year to year. It has been pointed out in
previous years that conditions do not and cannot remain absolutely uniform from year to year.
In 1929 two factors at least have entered into the situation—namely, climatic conditions were
extremely unfavourable for fishing and the fishing boundary was moved 3 miles farther downstream. It is impossible to evaluate these factors, but undoubtedly they acted in some degree
in reducing the catch and increasing the escapement. The reports from the spawning-beds
indicate an abundant seeding, especially in the Babine Lake area. Whether approximately
800,000 more fish reached the spawning-beds than would otherwise have done so cannot be
determined. It is evident that a more accurate system of assessing the escapement is required,
and it is hoped that in the near future a very intensive study will be made of the Skeena system,
which may result in the development of a ' working-plan ' whereby, among other things, it will
ultimately be possible to state the number of cases which may safely be taken in each year and
at the same time allow such an escapement as shall maintain the maximum of production."
The run of 1930, Drs. Clemens state, will be derived from the seedings of 1925 and 1926.
In 1925 the sockeye-pack totalled 81,146 cases and the five-year-old fish constituted 47 per cent,
of the catch. In 1926 the pack totalled 82,360 cases and the four-year-old fish formed 70 per cent,
of the run. In both years the spawning-beds of both the Lakelse and Babine Lake areas were
reported very well seeded. There would therefore appear to be reason to expect a fair run in
1930, a pack of approximately 75,000 cases.
The average lengths of all the age-groups, with the exception of those of the five-year-old
two-years-in-lake group, are low, especially those of the four-year-old two-years-in-lake group,
which are the lowest on record, with 22.9 inches for the males and 22.7 inches for the females.
The average lengths of both sexes of the 5's group were but very slightly below the average of
the past seventeen years.
The average weights of all the age-groups are fairly well maintained, except in the case of
the four-year-old groups, where that of the males is the lowest on record at 4.9 lb. J 14 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
Characteristics of the Nass River Run.
In dealing with the 1929 sockeye run to the Nass River, Drs. Clemens state that " while we
have ceased to be surprised at any excessive variations in the extent of the sockeye-salmon run
to the Nass River, nevertheless we cannot refrain from expressing gi-eat disappointment that
the pack was so small. It consisted of only 10,077 cases. As was pointed out last year, 1929
belongs to the one cycle which has consistently yielded good packs in the past. Comparing this
year's figures of 16,077 cases with those of the earlier years in this cycle—31,327 cases in 1914,
28,259 cases in 1919, and 33,590 cases in 1924—it is evident that the pack has decreased 50 per
cent. If the escapement to the spawning-beds had been excellent, this small pack would be of
minor importance. But Inspector Hickman reported that there was ' a fair run of sockeye
during the early part of the season,' and also that ■' the later run did not appear so good.'
Consequently we have two indications of a poor run.
" Although in recent years it has been impossible to make predictions with any degree of
certainty on the Nass, still one cannot fail to notice that the irregularities have always been in
one direction—that of failure to reach normal expectancy. Looking back over the records of
the last five years, which will be the brood-years of the next five years, there is not a single year
in which we can ever hope to see improvement of present conditions. It is more likely that the
packs will drop to even lower levels. In other words, if the present conditions continue, it is
probably only a matter of a very few years before the sockeye of the Nass River will cease to be
of any commercial value."
As far back as 1915 the late Dr. Gilbert suggested the possibility of the Nass run of sockeye
being composed of two races. His opinion, Drs. Clemens state, was based on two facts: First,
the run seems to be divided into early and late periods; and, secondly, that the late-running fish
were of a conspicuously large size. Meziadin and Bowser Lakes are the only two known extensive spawning areas of the Nass River sockeye, but the inaccessibility of these lakes make a
study of their populations most difficult. Each September Inspector Hickman visits the Meziadin
watershed, and he has tried each year, since 1922, to gather material to further the study of the
populations of these two lakes. He was able to take samplings of the Meziadin just below the
falls and, by fishing a gill-net in the Nass above its junction with the Meziadin River, has
attempted to intercept sockeye bound for Bowser Lake. Some years no sockeye have been netted
there and in other years only a few, although the net has been operated continuously for a week
each year. This is significant evidence that the Bowser Lake sockeye belong chiefly to the early
period of the run. On the other hand, Inspector Hickman's actual observations at Meziadin
Lake and Falls furnishes abundant evidence that sockeye of both early and late periods reach
Meziadin Lake. That evidence shows that a smaller percentage of Meziadin sockeye spend one
year in the lake, and a greater percentage stay two and three years than do the Bowser colony.
-The relative size of the individuals of the two populations show that the Meziadin fish are the
larger, and are probably older as well as greater in size. The records indicate that the majority
of these fish are six years old; similarly, the Bowser group correspond closely with those of the
four- and five-year-old group.
Up to date the amount of material which has been available for the study of these two
colonies is not sufficient to make conclusive generalization. However, Drs. Cleihens state, from
the material at hand it would appear that the majority of the Bowser Lake sockeye belong to
the early period of the Nass run; that their early history is characterized by one or two years
of fresh-water life; and that they are smaller and younger than the Meziadin sockeye. The
fish comprising this latter colony make their way to Meziadin Lake during both the early and
late periods of the run. The late-running fish usually spend the first two or three years of their
lives in the lake and they are conspicuously larger in size.
The full text of Drs. Clemens's paper, together with its thirty-three tabulations, will be
found in the Appendix of this report. It is the fifteenth contribution to the life-history of the
sockeye salmon that has been published in these i-eports.    They yearly become of more value.
FISH OIL AND MEAL PRODUCTION.
The production of fish oil and meal in the Province in 1929 shows a substantial reduction
in oil and an increased production of meal. The twenty-nine reduction plants produced 2,962,205
gallons of oil and 19,402 tons of meal, as against 4,058,901 gallons of oil and 15,290 tons of meal
in 1928. BRITISH COLUMBIA.        - J 15
The production from pilchard plants shows a decrease from 1928 of 1,364,278 gallons of oil
and an increase in meal production of 1,128 tons. The figures show that the number of fish
caught was larger than in 1928, but their oil content much less. The fish were very thin. Most
of the fish were taken in the open sea, very few being taken- in estuary waters.
HALIBUT LANDINGS IN 1929.
Halibut landings in the Province in 1929 totalled 29,629,700 lb., substantially the same as in
1928. Of that total, 20,599,200 lb. were landed by the United States fleet and shipped in bond
and 9,030,500 lb. by Canadian vessels. Prince Rupert led all other ports with landings of
28,588,600 lb.
THE HALIBUT INVESTIGATION.
The investigation of the life-history of the Pacific halibut and the condition of the fishery
was continued in 1929. The Commission has maintained its statistical observation of the fishery
and has made progress in its studies of the life-history of the halibut. Conclusions drawn from
the year's work confirm the previous recommendations made. They will be given in a series
of reports which it is anticipated will be published in 1930. They will include the past history of
the fishery, the rise and increase of the halibut fleets, its increase in efficiency and the spread
to new banks, marking experiments, and statistics of the fishery, etc. The reports show the
continued decline in the supply of halibut on the banks and the increasing seriousness of the
situation. The Governments of Canada and the United States have not acted on the recommendations contained in the International Fisheries Commission's Report for 1928.
PILCHARD AND HERRING INVESTIGATION.
During the year the Provincial Government joined with the Dominion Government in an
investigation to disclose the life of the pilchard and herring and the condition of those fisheries
within Provincial waters. The investigation is being conducted under the supervision of
Dr. W. A. Clemens, of the Biological Board of Canada, and John Pease Babcock, Assistant to
the Commissioner of Fisheries for the Province.    Dr. J. L. Hart has been made the Director.
Dr. Hart, with one or two temporary assistants, began the investigation in July. The work
of the year must be regarded as preliminary. It has been directed chiefly to ascertaining the
most profitable and speedy methods of procedure.
Pilchards.—Statistics of the catch of pilchards since 1917 have been tabulated. By extensive
microscopic examination it has been confirmed that the age of pilchards cannot, as in the case of
salmon, herring, and some other fishes, be determined by an examination of their scale-growth.
Tests have been made to determine length distribution in the catches. It is hoped by an extension of the latter study that it may be determined whether there has been any marked decrease
In the older fish in any fluctuations that may occur in future years. In the course of samplings
of the catches in 1929 the sex of the fish was recorded. As the number of fish sampled was
considerable and most of the fish were large-sized, it is interesting to note that close to 60 per
cent, of the fish were females.
Previous to 1925 the catch of pilchards by British Columbia fishermen was small owing to
the difficulty of finding a suitable method of marketing. It is evident from records of the catches
that those engaged in the fishery conducted a number of experiments. Finding that there was a
very limited market for fresh or canned pilchards, resort was made in 1925 to reduction of the
fish for the production of oil and meal content. Several plants were installed that year. Their
success led to rapid expansion. Many more plants were established and the fishing greatly
extended. By 1928 upwards of $4,000,000 was invested in plants and gear and upwards of 1,000
men engaged. Up to 1924 the total catch of pilchards by British Columbia fishermen did not
exceed 3,000,000 lb. The catch in 1925 totalled 32,000,000 lb. and thereafter was increased
rapidly. In 1926 it totalled 96,900,000 lb.; in 1927, 136,858,000 lb.; and in 1928 it reached
161,000,000 lb.
In 1925 and 1926 fishing was conducted in estuary waters on the west coast of Vancouver
Island. In 1927 limited catches were made in outside unsheltered waters. In 1928 and 1929
practically the bulk of the catch was made in those waters. As the pilchard-fishery of the
Cornwall coast of England has a similar history, it seems probable that the British Columbia
fishery will become more or less stabilized in this respect.. J 16 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
It is unnecessary to point out that definite conclusions cannot be drawn by a comparison
of the early records of any fishery. Only by continued study can the trend of a fishery be shown.
The investigation in hand is directed to that end.
Herring.—The investigation of the life-history of the herring and the condition of that
fishery in the Province is also being jointly undertaken by the Dominion and the Province.
As, fortunately, the pilchards appear in our waters much earlier than the herring and the
pilchard-fishing is usually over before the herring come in, the investigation will be made under
Dr. Hart and staff.
As has been previously indicated in the reports of this Department (1916), the most profitable approach of the investigation is that of determining the age-classes comprised in the catch
of given years. Such study promises to disclose not only the stability of the runs, but is also an
index of the success of spawning in given years. It is therefore to be regarded as fundamental
in determining the causes of fluctuation in abundance.
Age and distribution in the catches of the closely related European herring (Cluped
harengus) have been extensively studied by scale-reading, and W. F. Thompson, in his work
for the Province in 1916, has shown that the same methods of age-determination were applicable
to the British Columbia herring (Clupca pallasii). This method will be used in the present
investigation.
Though fishing for herring in Provincial waters has been slow, it may be stated to have
become stabilized in 1917. In that year the catch totalled 40,037,400 lb. In 1920 it advanced
to 100,135,000 lb. and remained close to that amount each year up to and including 1923. In the
years 1925 to 1929 it averaged 152,462,000 lb. The gain in the last few years may be due largely
to an increased use of gear, and not due to increased abundance. The desirability of having the
herring industry established on a basis that assures its continuance is evident. Accordingly the
present investigation has been undertaken in the hope of gaining such an understanding as will
enable us to adopt a system of exploitation which will assure its maintenance. And it is hoped
that in time it may also be possible to forecast approximate estimates in advance of the season. LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON. J 17
APPENDICES.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LIFE-HISTORY OP THE SOCKEYE SALMON.
(No. 15.)
By Wilbert A. Clemens, Ph.D., Director, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo,
and Lucy S. Clemens, Ph.D.
INTRODUCTION.
Of the runs of sockeye salmon to the four main river systems of the Province, that to the
Fraser River was the only one in 1929 which may be considered encouraging. The pack of this
river was 26,059 cases more than that of 1925—the brood-year of the 1929 run—and the increase
was made up entirely of increased catch by Canadian fishermen. But more important from the
standpoint of the future was the spawning escapement to the upper reaches of the Fraser basin,
reported as the best since 1917.
The runs to the other three river systems all exhibited discouraging features. The pack at
Rivers Inlet was below expectancy, apparently due to failure of the run of five-year-old fish.
It is suggested that severe freshets in 1925 were responsible.
The pack of the Skeena River run was much below expectancy, the result probably, in part
at least, of adverse weather conditions interfering with fishing operations. The escapement is
reported as large, so that in spite of the low pack there would seem to be reason to believe that
the maintenance of the cycle is well assured.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the Nass River. The pack was a comparative
failure and the escapement is reported as poor. This apparently indicates the failure of the
1929-1924-1919 cycle to maintain itself. Last year the decline of the 1928-1923-1918 cycle was
recorded, and the year before, that of the 1927-1922-1917 cycle. It is evident that the Nass River
sockeye situation demands serious consideration.
1.   THE FRASER RIVER SOCKEYE RUN OF 1929.
(1.)  General Characteristics.
In view of the fact that the run of 1929 belongs to the cycle of the former " big " years, it
was anticipated with interest. The total pack for the Fraser River system amounted to 173,467
cases, of which 01,569 cases were packed in the Province of British Columbia and 111,898 cases
in the State of Washington. The report from the upper spawning areas indicates an escapement
very much better than any since 1917. It is therefore evident that the run of 1929 was very
encouraging. The total pack was 26,059 greater than that of 1925. This increase was entirely
in the Canadian pack (Table I.).
There were two noteworthy features in connection with the run of this year. In the first
place, a large number of fish appeared in the early part of the season and, as far as can be
ascertained, proceeded to the upper regions of the Fraser, even to the Stuart Lake area.
In the second place, a considerable number of three-year-old individuals (grilse) occurred
in the ran. Reports of the appearance of these were received from Swiftsure Bank; Sooke;
Rosario Straits and other waters in Washington; the fishing region of the Fraser River; and
from some of the spawning areas of the Upper Fraser.
These two occurrences appear not to be in any way connected with one another, but possibly
to be indicative of different happenings. The first would seem to indicate the possibility of an
increased run in 1933. Undoubtedly the larger ran of this year is the result of the fairly large
escapement in 1925. Referring to the report of the spawning-beds in that year, we find that the
escapement to the Upper Fraser areas was larger than in any year subsequent to 1913. Improved
runs were noted in Seton Lake, Chilcotin River, and the tributaries of the Nechako River,
including Stuart, Takla, and other lake tributaries. The conclusion that the great spawning
areas of the Upper Fraser merely await adequate escapements to become as productive as they
ever were seems warranted.
2 J 18 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
The second occurrence—namely, of numbers of grilse—may possibly presage a good run of
four-year-old fish in 1930. In the early days of the Fraser River fishery a large number of grilse
always appeared in the year preceding the " big " run. The practical disappearance of the grilse
w-ith the decline of the upper river runs would rather indicate that the development of three-
year-old fish was a characteristic chiefly of the upper river races. In 1926 there was a large
run to the Shuswap area, where somewhere between three and six hundred thousand fish
spawned. It may be that the grilse of 1929 are the product of the Adams River spawning of
1926 and are the forerunners of a good return there in 1930.
The run of 1930 will be derived largely from the spawning of 1926. In that year there was
an increase in pack over that of 1922, largely because of the appearance of a large run late in
the season. There was a large escapement to Adams River, already referred to, and there %vould
seem to be every reason to expect a good return from that spawning. It will be of interest to
see not only if the run does materialize, but if it appears late in the season, as did that of 1926.
The cycle of 1918-1922-1926 has shown consistent improvement since the low pack of 1918 and
it is hoped that the upward trend will continue.
(2.) Age-groups.
The material for this year's study consisted of data and scales from 1,512 sockeye salmon
selected from May 1st to September 13th in forty-nine samplings. Unfortunately, the individuals
of the 3o age-group (grilse) were not selected at random. While data are given for 262 such
individuals, the collector estimates that they constituted about 3 per cent, of the run. Mr. C. F.
Todd gave an estimate of approximately 2 per cent, at the cannery. In order that the results
of this year may be reasonably comparable with those of other years, we have arbitrarily set
the percentage of grilse at 2V2 per cent. The approximate number of 3, individuals should therefore be thirty-two and the total sampling should be considered as 1,286.
The 4   age-group was the predominant one as usual, being represented by 991 individuals,
or 77 per cent.    The 5   group was the second largest with 153 individuals, or 12 per cent.
The 5  group contained 100 individuals, or 8 per cent.    The 3, group or grilse have been estimated
as forming 2% per cent., as stated above, and their number should therefore be thirty-two.
It has seemed of interest to tabulate the records of grilse from the year 1911 to 1929:—
Year.
1911—negligible.
1912—approximately 21.5 per cent.
1913—3 individuals among 2,580 examined.
1914—0 „ „        1,500
1915—none recorded.
1916—approximately 10 per cent.
1917—none recorded.
1918—
1919—
1920—3 individuals among 1,950 examined.
(3.) Lengths and Weights.
The average lengths of both males and females in the 4 and 5^ age-groups—namely, 23.7,
22.9, 25.5, and 24.3 inches respectively—are practically the same as that of their progenitors.
In the 4o group they are identical with the average of the past ten years and in the 5 group
almost so. The average lengths of the two sexes in the 5o age-groups—namely, 24.8 and 23.7
inches—are the highest on record.
The average weights of the males and females of the 4n age-group are 6 and 5.3 lb. respectively ; of the 5^ group, 7.2 and 6.3; and of the 5 group, 6.7 and 5.9. The average weights of
the 4 group are slightly above those of their progenitors, while those of the 5Q group are slightly
below.   The average weights of the 5   group are the highest on record.
The average lengths of the males and females of the grilse are 18.6 and 18.2 inches respectively, while the weights are 3.1 and 2.9 lb. respectively.
(4.) Distribution of the Sexes.
Taking the total number of individuals as 1,286, the total number of males was 624 and of
females 662, percentages of 49 and 51 respectively. While the great majority of grilse are males,
it is to be noted that in the sampling of 262 there were thirty-one females; that is, 12 per cent,
of the grilse were females.
Year.
1921— 5
individuals
among
1,028 examined
1922— 8
,,
„
892
1923— 4
,,
,,
947
1924—15
„
,,
1,563
1925— 7
,,
,,
1,229
1'926—24
,,
,,
1,124
1927— 0
,,
„
1,371
1928—11
,,
,,
1,004
1929—32
»
,,
1,286         „ LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON. J 19
Table I.—Fraser River Packs, 1910-29, arranged in accordance with the Four-year Cycle.
B.C 1910—   150,432 1914—198,183 1918— 19,697 1922— 51,832 1926— 85,689
Wash                 248,014                        335,230 '50,723 48,566 44,673
Total                 398,446                        533,413 70,420 100,398 130,362
B.C 1911—     58,487 1915— 91,130 1919— 38,854 1923— 31,655 1927— 61,393
Wash                 127,761                          64,584 64,346 47,402 97,594
Total                 186,248                        155,714 103,200 79,057 158,987
B.C 1912—   123,879 1916— 32,146 1920— 48,399 1924— 39,743 1928— 29,299
Wash                 184,680                          84,637 62,654 69,369 61,044
Total                 308,559                        116,783 111,053 109,112 90,343
B.C 1913—   719,796 1917—148,164 1921— 39,631 1925— 35,385 1929— 61,569
Wash              1,673,099                        411,538 102,967 112,023 111,898
Total              2,392,895                       '559,702 142,598 147,408 173,467 J 20
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
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REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
Table IV.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Percentages of the Year-classes from 1919 to 1929.
Year.
4
2
h
53
63
\
4!
3
2
4
3
1919 ...
70.6
69.6
7S.1
70.5
67.1
68.2
67.9
66.1
84.6
71.4
77.3
20.3
21.2
14.6
9.3
10.8
18.7
24.9
20.3
7.5
1S.8
11.9
3.4
6,2
4.1
4.5
3.9
9.2
3.4
5.2
3.0
5.3
7.8
0.9
0.2
0.7
2.0
1.2
0.5
0.2
1.6
0.8
0.5
0.4
3.1
1.9
0.5
6.3
6.7
0.5
2.2
'2.0
1.9
2.0
0.1
1.8
0.9
2.0
5.6
9.9
2.0
0.0
2.5
2.2
0.7
0.1
0.9
0.4
0.8
0.6
2.1
1.0
2.5
1920	
1921	
1922	
0.9
1924	
0.0
0.1
1925	
0.8
1926	
0.2
1927	
192S	
1929	
0.3
0.1
Table V.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Average Lengths of Principal Classes from 1919 to 1929.
Year.
4
5
B
3
6
S
l
4
l
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M,
F.
1919	
24.1
24.1
23.7
24.0
24.3
23.8
23.'5
22.6
24.1
23.4
23.7
22.8
23.2
23.0
23.0
23.3
22.8
22.9
22.3
23.1
23.0
22.9
26.1
25.7
25.9
25.8
25.8
24.9
25.8
24.6
26.1
2 5. '5
2 5.'5
25.1
24.6
24.6
24.1
24.8
23.9
24.6
24.0
24.6
24.7
24.3
24.2
24.3
23.5
24.2
23.7
24.0
23.2
21.7
24.2
24.8
22.7
23.2
22.7
22.9
'22.7
22.0
22.4
22.0
23.4
23.7
25.8
25.7
25.4
26.3
24.3
25.5
25.3
27.1
26.2
23.5
24.3
24.9
23.7
24.6
26.0
24.8
22.6
23.3
23.0
23.3
21.9
22.5
23.4
23.4
19.1
22.2
21.8
22.6
22.7
20.4
21.7
22.5
22.2
18.7
23.0
25.0
25.5
25.5
25.2
25.2
25.4
25.1
19. S
25.0
24.3
1920	
24.3
1921 : 	
1922	
24 2
1923	
24.1
1924	
24.4
1925	
1926	
24.6
1927	
24.5
1928	
1929	
24.0
Table VI.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Average Weights of Principal Cl-asses from 1919 to 1929.
4,
52
5
3
6
3
3x
4
i
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
1919	
6.1
6.4
6.6
5.8
5.2
6.1
6.0
6.0
5.1
5.7
5.8
5.2
.4.9
5.5
'5:5
5.3
7.2
7.0
7.8
7.6
6.2
7.3
7.4
7.2
6.5
6.1
6.9
6.6
5.7
6.8
6.9
6.3
5.7
6.1
6.0
6.1
5.4
4.5
6.'5
6.7
4.5   6.5
5.3
5.5
6.5
'5.7
5.5
8.0
6.5
5.3
5.9
6.2
5.3
6.1
5.9
6.4
4.S
'5.2
5.3
4.6
5.4
5.2
5.4
5.0
6.8
7.9
7.3
7.3
7.2
8.0
6.5
6.1
1920	
1921	
1922	
'5.4
5.2
5.3
4.8
4.S
5.7
5.9
7.2
7.3
7.4
6.5
8.6
7.5 '
6.9
1923	
6.5
1924	
1926.    	
6.6
1927...:	
6.S
192S	
6.6
1929	
6.0
2.  THE RIVERS INLET SOCKEYE RUN OF 1929.
(1.)   General Characteristics.
The pack of Rivers Inlet area for the year 1929 consisted of 70,260 cases. This figure is
somewhat less than was expected.
Last year we pointed out that the data of this river system are most readily interpreted
by accepting the theory that the cycle is pre-eminently a five-year one.    Two tabulations were LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON. J 23
made and served as the basis of the discussion which can be found in full in the report for 1928.
For the purpose of reference we are giving the tables again with a brief statement of their
meaning.
Table A.
Series 1. 1907,   87,874 cases; 1912, 112,884; 1917,   61,195; 1922,   53,584;  1927, 64,461.
Series 2. 1908,   64,652 cases; 1913,   61,745; 1918,   53,401; 1923, 107,174;  1928, 60,044.
Series 3. 1909,   89,027 cases; 1914,   89,890; 1919,   56,25S; 1924,   94,891;   1929, 70,260.
Series 4. 1910, 126,921 cases; 1915, 130,350 ; 1920, 125,338; 1925, 159,554.
Series 5. 1911,   88,763 cases; 1916,   44,936; 1921,   48,615; 1926,   65,581.
Table B.
Series 1.
1912
(5
years)
79%
1917...
....67%
1922...
....18%
1927...
—17%
(4
years)
21%
33%
82%
83%
Series 2.
1913
..20%
80%
1918
43%
57%
1923
....24%
•76%
1928
42%
58%
Series 3.
1914
65 %
35%
1919
54%
46%
1924
56%
44%
1929
.   19%
81%
Series 4.
1915
87%
13%
1920
....95%
5%
1925
....77%
23%
Series 5.
1916
.76%
24%
1921
51%
49%
1926
-.40%
60%
In Table A the pack data have been arranged in series with five-year intervals; each series,
or cycle, extends horizontally across the page. Table B is similarly arranged with a substitution
of the relative percentages of the four- and five-year-old fish for the packs.
Fair uniformity seems to exist in series 2, 3, and 4. The former tabulation shows that
within a given cycle packs are of approximately the same size, and, in a like manner, the latter
table shows that there is a fair degree of constancy in the relative percentages of the two age-
groups. Correlating the two sets of data, it appears that (1) when the four-year-old fish are in
the majority the packs are small, consisting of 50,000 to 65,000 cases (series 2) ; (2) when the
five-year-old fish slightly exceed the fours, the packs amount to 85,000 to 95,000 cases (series 3) ;
and (3) when the five-year-olds are greatly in excess, then a pack of at least 120,000 cases is
produced (series 4).
The year 1929 belongs in the third series, in which the five-year-old fish have always been
slightly in excess of the four-year-olds and the packs have amounted to approximately 85,000
to 95,000 cases. Hence this year's pack of 70,260 cases has fallen below expectancy by from
15,000 to 20,000 cases. In addition, the percentages of the two age-classes are very different
from those of the other years in this cycle. Instead of having the percentage of the 5 's a little
greater than that of the 4^'s, we have 19 and 81 per cent, respectively. Turning to Inspector
Stone's report of the spawning-beds to ascertain whether or not the pack indicates the full
extent of the 1929 run, we find that he reports extensive seeding in certain regions and very
poor seeding in others. He is of the opinion that the pack would have been larger had not the
cold, wet weather interfered with the fishing during the early part of the season, thus permitting
a greater escapement than would have taken place otherwise. We may say, then, that the run
probably was somewhat greater than the pack indicates. However, we do not feel justified in
concluding that the escapement as reported would have necessarily produced a pack as great
as predicted, had the fishing conditions been normal.
When we consider the percentages of the four- and five-year-old fish we must remember
that these are relative and not absolute. The thing to emphasize is not the superabundance
of the 4's, but the failure of the 5's, by reason of which the proportion of the 4's is exaggerated.
In 1924 the pack (94,891 cases) was good and the escapement was good. Since the five-year-old
fish formed 56 per cent, of the run, it seems reasonable to have expected a return greater than
19 per cent. After the spawning season in 1924 there was a freshet of unusual magnitude, and
when Mr. Stone made his annual inspection the following year he found the streams and rivers
scoured out to such an extent that he expressed the fear that untold damage had been done to
the eggs and that the runs of 1928 and 1929 would be greatly impaired. While the pack of
1928 was small, seemingly it was all that could be expected from the brood-years irregardless
of the freshet. J 24
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
On the other hand, the percentage of five-year-old fish in this run of 1929 is so unexpectedly
small that we cannot pass it over without attempting to find a reason for it. It would appear
that Mr. Stone's fears may have been well founded and therein lies the explanation of the failure
of the five-year-old fish. Whether this explanation be right or not, the fact remains that this
component of the run has suffered severe depletion, and in 1934 additional prohibitive measures
should be in force to allow a very much greater escapement to the spawning-beds. In that way,
and in that way only, can significant recuperation be hoped for.
When we examine the pack (159,554 cases) and spawning escapement of 1925, we find that
they form the peak of Rivers Inlet productivity. In commenting upon the seeding, Mr. Stone said
there should be " an unexampled return." Consequently the large percentage of 4's in 1929 is
not surprising. The rest of the progeny of this escapement will return as five-year-olds in 1930.
Since the year 1930 belongs to the cycle 1915-1920-1925, in which the five-year component has
always been large (from 77 to 95 per cent.), we can look for a very large pack. Without taking
the other brood-year, 1926, into account, the expectancy would be about 125,000 cases. In 1926
the pack was small (65,581 cases) and the seeding only fair, so that the four-year-old fish
probably cannot be counted upon to bring the total pack up to more than 150,000 or 160,000 cases.
(2.)  Age-groups.
The material for the study of the 1929 run consisted of eleven samplings gathered over a
period of five weeks extending from June 24th through July 31st. The total number of fish under
consideration is 1,402. These are divided among the four age-groups which are characteristic
of the runs to Rivers Inlet. The dominant groups are the 4o and 59, which are made up of fish
that have lived one year in the fresh water and two or three in the sea, thus maturing at the end
of their fourth and fifth years respectively. Two other age-groups, the 5 and 6 , are also
present. These fish migrate to sea at the end of their second year, and mature after two or
three years in the ocean at the respective ages of five and six.
Ninety-five per cent, of the entire run of 1929 is accounted for by the dominant groups.
The other two age-groups are never present in large numbers. Table VII. indicates how varied
the relative proportions of the 4o's and 5 's have been over a period of years. The proportions
for this present year are quite extreme—namely, 81 per cent, of 4's and 19 per cent, of 5's. As we
have pointed out in the foregoing paragraphs, when the four-year-old fish greatly outnumber the
5's the packs are small.
(3.)  Lengths and Weights.
Complete enumeration of the lengths and weights of the individuals of the various age-
groups of the 1929 Rivers Inlet sockeyes is found in Tables VIII. and IX. A number of years
ago Dr. Gilbert called attention to the fact that these Rivers Inlet fish were decreasing in size.
He pointed out that the decrease was equally true for both sexes, and that although the tendency
was more marked in the lengths, nevertheless it also showed in the weights. In order to find
out to what extent this reduction in size might be taking place, we have made a tabulation of
the average lengths and weights, combining them in three six-year groups, as follows:—
1912-1917.
1918-1323.
1924-1929.
Four-year males....
Four-year females
Five-year males....
Five-year females.
Four-year males....
Four-year females
Five-year males.—
Five-year females.
Inches.
22.9
22.8
25.7
. 24.9
Lb.
5.3
5.1
7.2
Inches.
22.5
22.4
25.0
24.4
Lb.
5.2
5.1
6.8
6.3
Inches.
22.4
22.5
25.2
24.7
Lb.
'5.0
5.0
7.0
6.6
It is encouraging to notice that the size reductions have not taken place steadily. As for
lengths, a small but significant decrease of from 0.4 to 0.7 inch occurred between the general
averages  of 1912-1917  and  1918-1923 groups.   Between this  latter  group. and that of the LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON. J 25
1924-1929 there has been no further reduction. As a matter of fact, there has been a slight
increase in length. The history of the average weights is similar, although not as striking as
that of the lengths. There has been a very small decrease, followed, in the five-year-old fish,
by reversion toward the greater weight. Comparing the averages of. 1929 with those of the
1924-1929 period, we find, except for the lengths and weight of the 42 females and the weight
of the 5o females, maintenance or increase in size.
The" four-year-old Rivers Inlet sockeyes have always been outstanding as an age-group in
which the two sexes have been nearly identical in size. The general rule among sockeyes is that
the females are smaller than the males. But in this particular group the females are sometimes
smaller, sometimes identical with, and sometimes larger than the males (Tables X. and XL).
This is the first year since 1923 for length, and 1924 for weight, in which the 4 Rivers Inlet
females have been smaller than the males. These 1929 fish show that a similar condition may
also exist in the 5 group. Here we find the females 0.1 inch longer than the males. It is the
first such record for length and there is only one like instance (in 1927) for weight.
(4.) Distribution of Sexes.
Table XII. indicates the sex distribution in the principal age-groups of the Rivers Inlet
sockeyes. Without exception, the males are more numerous than the females among the
four-year-old fish and less numerous among the five-year-olds. The relative proportions of the
4^ males and females in 1929 are interesting because they are respectively the lowest (57) and
highest (43) percentages recorded for the group. The table shows that in this group there is
a decided tendency toward equalization in the numbers of the two sexes. In the runs of
earlier years the 4o males always formed 75 per cent, of the group, while in the last five years
they have averaged" 63 per cent. The relative numbers of the two sexes in the 5^ group have not
varied within such broad limits, but here, too, there is an indication of shifting proportions.
This year the group is composed of 36 per cent, males and 64 per cent, females. Considering
1929 as a potential brood-year, it is fortunate that the number of 4, males is comparatively
small, because this age-group forms 81 per cent, of the entire run. Had the four-year-old males
been present in their usual proportion, the undesirable condition of males greatly exceeding
females would have been produced. As it is, the total number of males of both classes (710)
is not very much larger than that of the females (627) and the percentages are 53 and 47
respectively. J 26
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
Table VII.—Percentages of 4
and 5o Age-groups, Rivers Inlet Sockeyes, in Runs of
Successive Years.
Run of the Year.
Percentage,
Four and Five
Years old.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
79%
21%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
20%
80%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
65%
35%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
87%
13%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
76%
24%
6 yrs.
4 yrs.
67%
33%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
43%
57%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
54%
46%
•5 yrs.
4 yrs.
95%
5%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
51%
49%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
18%
82%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
24%
76%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
56%
44%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
77%
23%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
40%
60%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
17%
83%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
42%
58%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
19%
81%
Brood-year from which
derived.
1912 (112,884 cases)	
1913 (61,745 cases)	
1914 (89,890 cases)	
1915 (130,350 cases)	
1916 (44,936 cases)	
1917 (61,195 cases)	
1918 (53,401 cases)	
1919 (56,258 cases)	
1020 (121,254 cases)	
1921 (46,300 cases).....	
1922 (60,700 cases)	
1923 (107,174 cases)	
1024 (94,891 cases)	
1925 (159,554 cases)	
1926 (65,581 cases).....:....
1927 (64,461 cases)	
1928 (60,044 cases)	
1929 (70,260 cases)	
1907 (87,874 cases).
1908 (64,6-52 cases).
1909 (89,027 cases).
1910 (126,921 cases).
1911 (88,763 cases).
1912 (112,S84 cases).
1913 (61,745 cases).
1914 (89,890 cases).
1915 (130,350 cases).
1916 (44,936 cases).
1917 (61,195 cases).
1918 (53,401 cases).
1919 (56,258 cases).
[   1920 (121,254 cases).
J
I   1921 (46,300 cases).
1922 (60,700 cases).
1923 (107,174 cases).
1
[. 1924 (94,891 cases).
1925 (159,554 cases). LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
J 27
Table VIII.—Rivers Inlet Sockeyes, Run of 1929, Grouped by Age, Sex, and Length,
and by their Early History.
NUMBEE OF
Individuals.
Length in Inches.
4
2
5
2
5
3
6
3
Total.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
19 y>       	
3
12
45
106
ll'o
85
63
51
65
40
22
7
4
1
4
28
73
124
90
79
39
14
7
1
1
2
1
12
10
13
15
7
10
7
4
3
1
1
4
6
10
17
21
19
29
32
14
9
3
3
1
1
4
4
1
2
2
4
4
2
1
1
5
1
4
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
'0
1
5
2
5
20                       	
4
20%	
21            	
17
74
21%           	
185
22
249
22%                    	
183
23
23%                     .       .
114
24
113
24%              	
91
25                        	
61
25V,                   	
50
26                        	
47
27                   	
23
18
27%                  	
og                         	
9
28%
1
29                  	
29%                    	
1
618
460
92
167
26
13
6
20
1,402
Ave. lengths
22.6
22.2
25.2
25.3
23.1           22.6
26.1
25.4
Table IX.—Rivers Inlet Sockeyes, Run of 1929, Grouped by Age, Sex, and Weight,
and by their Early History.
Weight in Pounds.
Number of Individuals.
M.
Total.
3%	
4	
4%	
5	
5%	
6	
6%	
7	
7%	
8	
8%	
9	
9%	
10	
10%	
11	
11%	
Totals	
Ave. weights
9
107
162
132
78
68
40
15
6
1
618
5.0
93
150
119
64
20
6
460
2
14
16
15
10
10
92
4.8
|      6.(
13
17
24
17
36
25
14
6
5
1
167
26
6.7
5.2
4.8
7.6
20
7.1
1
16
204
331
288
2 -
182
3
135
3
79
4
70
3
44
2
24
2
10
11
1
5
1
1
1,402 J 28
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
Table X.—Average Lengths in Inches of Rivers Inlet Sockeyes for Eighteen Years.
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
1912	
23.2
22.9
23.0
22.9
22.9
22.5
22.3
22.4
22.9
22.5
22.4
22.3
22.2
22.8
22.1
22.3
22.6
22.8
23.0
22.8
22.8
22.8
22.3
22.5
22.3
22.6
22.4
22.3
22.3
22.2
22.9
22.4
2:2.8
22.2
25.8
25.9
25.9
26.0
25.8
25.0
24.9
24.8
26.0
25.2
24.6
24.6
24.9
25.5
25.1
24.6
26.1
25.2
24.6
1913	
25.2
1914	
25.2
1915	
25.1
1916 . .                                  	
25.0
1917	
24.4
1918	
24.5
1919	
24.4
1920            	
25.0
1921	
24.2
1922	
24.2
1923	
24.1
1924                 	
24 3
1925	
24 8
1926                                 	
24 6
1927	
24 2
1928	
25.2
1929	
25.3
Table XI.—Average Weight in Pounds of Rivers Inlet Sockeyes for Fifteen Years.
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
1914	
5.4
5.3
5.5
5.0
4.9
4.9
5.2
6.0
5.0
4.9
4.6
5.2
5.3
4.8
5.0
5.2
5.1
5.0
4.9
5.1
4.8
4.9
5.9
4.8
4.8
4.4
5.2
5.8
■5.0
4.8
7.3
7.3
7.6
6.6
6.7
6.3
6.9
7.4
6.5
6.6
6.9
6.9
7.3
7.5
6.6
6.8
1915	
6.6
1916	
6.7
1917	
6.2
1918	
6.7
1919                                                 	
5.9
1921	
6.0
1922	
7.0
1923                           .            	
5 9
1924	
6.1
1925                      	
6 2
1926	
6 3
1927    ...            	
7.6
1928	
6 7
1929	
6.7
Table XII.—Relative Numbers of Males and Females, Riven
of the h2 and 52 Groups, 1915 to 1929.
Inlet Sockeyes,
Average Percentages.
Per Cent.
Total
Males.
Per Cent.
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
Total
Females.
1913    	
74
75
74
79
74
65
66
71
74
66
63
68
63
57
26
25
26
21
26
35
34
29
26
34
37
32
37
43
40
42
49
45
48
38
38
33
31
34
32
36
30
36
60
58
51
55
52.
62
62
67
69
66
68
64
70
64
45
52
S3
66
58
49
51
61
62
'50
41
51
62
51
53
1916	
48
1917	
47
1918           	
34
1919	
42
1920	
1921    	
'51
49
1922           	
39
1923    	
38
1924	
1925               	
50
'59
1926    	
49
1927               	
38
1928	
1929	
49
47 LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON. J 29
3. THE SKEENA RIVER SOCKEYE RUN OF 1929.
(1.)  General Characteristics.
The pack of the Skeena River amounted to 78,017 cases. This was much below our predicted pack, but it does not necessarily indicate that our prediction was entirely astray and that
the run to this river system was a comparative failure. Our attempts to estimate the extent of
the runs are based upon the assumption that conditions will remain relatively constant from
year to year. It has been pointed out in previous years that conditions do not and cannot remain
absolutely uniform from year to year. In this year two factors at least have entered into the
situation—namely, climatic conditions were extremely unfavourable for fishing and the fishing
boundary was moved 3 miles down-stream. It is impossible to evaluate these factors, but
undoubtedly they acted in some degree in reducing the catch and increasing escapement. The
reports from the spawning-beds indicate an abundant seeding, especially in the Babine area.
Whether approximately SOO.OOO more fish reached the spawning-beds than would otherwise have
done so cannot be determined. It is evident that a more accurate system of assessing the escapement is required, and it is hoped that in the very near future a very intensive study will be made
of this river system, which may result in the development of a " working-plan " whereby, among
other things, it will ultimately be possible to state the number of eases which may safely be
taken in each year and at the same time allow such an escapement as shall maintain the
maximum of production.
The run of 1930 will be derived from the seedings of 1925 and 1920. In 1925 the pack consisted of 81,146 cases, and the samplings in that year showed that the five-year-old fish constituted 47 per cent, of the run. In 1926 the pack amounted to 82,360 cases and the four-year-old
fish formed 70 per cent, of the run. In both years the spawning-beds of both the Lakelse and
Babine areas were reported very well seeded. There would appeal', therefore, to be reason to
expect a fair run in 1930 and to believe that a pack of approximately 75,000 cases may be taken.
(2.) Age-groups.
Scales and data were secured from 1,817 fish collected from July 2nd to August 15th in
fourteen samplings. The four-year-old fish (4 ) were again predominant, amounting to 1,133
individuals, or 62 per cent. The five-year-old fish (5 ) consisted of 456 individuals, or 30 per
cent. The 5. and 6 groups were present in percentages of 6 and 2 respectively (Tables XIV.,
XV., and XVI.).
(3.) Lengths and Weights.
The average lengths of all the age-groups, with the exception of those of the 5 group, are
low, especially those of the 4 group, which are the lowest on record, with 22.9 inches for the
males and 22.7 inches for the" females. The average lengths of "both sexes of the 5^ group are
but very slightly below the average of the past seventeen years.
The average weights of all the age-groups are fairly well maintained, except in the case of
the 4 groups, where that of the males is the lowest on record at 4.9 lb. and that of the females
low at 4.7 lb.    (Tables XVIL, XVIII., XIX., and XX.).
(4.)  Proportions of the Sexes.
In the 4  group the males were very slightly in excess in numbers over the females, but so
nearly equal were the numbers that on a percentage basis they have been considered equal.    In
the 5   group the females slightly outnumbered the males with a percentage of 54.    In the 5
and 6   groups the males occurred in greater numbers than did the females.    The total number
of males was 908 and of females 909 (Table XXL).
(5.)  Additional Material.
In addition to the fish recorded above, seven individuals were reported—namely, one female
of the 6 age-group, length 24 inches, weight 5 lb.; and six male grilse (3 age-group), lengths
15 to 17 inches, weights 1% to 2 lb.   The latter were taken in a 2%-inch net. J 30
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
Table XIII.—Percentages of 4o and 5   Age-groups, Skeena River Sockeyes,
in Runs of Successive Years.
Run oJ the Year.
Percentage,
Four and Five
Years old.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
43%
57%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
50%
'50%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
75%
25%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
64%
36%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
60%
40%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
62%
38%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
59%
41%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
69%
31%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
'82%
18%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
24%
76%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
19%
81%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
34%
66%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
75%
25%
8 yrs.
4 yrs.
47%
53%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
30%
70%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
31%
69%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
43%
57%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
33%
67%
Brood-year from which
derived.
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
(92,498 cases)...
(59,927 cases)...
(130,166 cases).
(116,553 cases)..
(60,923 cases)...
(65,760 cases)...
(123,322 cases).
(184,9415 cases).
(90,869 cases)...
(41,018 eases)...
(96,277 cases)...
(131,731 cases).
(144,747 cases).
(81,146 cases)...
(82,360 cases)...
(83,996 cases).-
(34,559 eases) —
(78,017 cases) —
1907 (108,413 cases).
. 1908 (139,846 eases).
1909 (87,901 cases).
1910 (187,246 cases).
1911 (131,066 cases).
1912 (92,498 cases).
1913 (52,927 cases).
1914 (130,166 cases).
1915 (116,553 cases').
1916 (60,923 cases).
1917 (65,760 cases).
1918 (123,322 cases).
1919 (184,945 cases).
1920 (90,869 cases).
1921 (41,018 cases).
1922 (96,277 cases).
1923 (131,731 cases).
1924 (144,747 cases).
1925 (77,784 cases). LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
J 31
Table XIV.—Percentages of the Principal Year-classes, Skeena River Sockeyes,
from 1916 to 1929.
One Year
in Lake.
Two Years in Lake.
Year.
Four Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Six Years
old.
1916.                                                                                             	
34
57
51
27
15
69
70
56
23
51
62
62
'51
62
38
29
34
60
71
22
16
29
69
45
26
28
39
30
13
9
9
9
6
6
12
8
7
3
9
9
7
6
_j
18
1917..                                                                                              	
1918 ;	
6
1919                                                                                      	
4
1920                                                              	
8
1921..                                                                                             	
3
1922                                                                                        	
2
1923                                                                 	
7
1924                                   	
1
1925	
1
1926	
3
1927                	
1
1928	
3
1929   <.                  	
2
_
Table XV.—Skeena River Sockeyes, 1929, grouped by Age, Sex, and Length, and by
their Early History.
Length in Inches.
Number of Individuals.
M.
M.
M.
M.
Total.
19	
20	
20%	
21	
21%	
22	
22%	
23	
23%	
24	
24%....	
25	
25%	
26	
26%	
27	
27%	
28	
28%	
Totals	
Ave. lengths
1
3
1
15
7
32
25
44
53
61
110
93
134
86
111
106
73
71
31
45
10
10
3
572
22.9
561
1
2
2
6
19
14
51
47
51
29
13
9
5
10
34
48
61
55
40
2S
9
2
1
1
15
16
9
6
1
2
249
297
66
35
21
22.7
|    25.5
24.7
23.8
22.1
16
24.3
1
4
22
59
99
183
248
228
244
193
143
135
98
86
39
17
12
6
1,817 .
J 32
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
Table XVI.—Skeena River Sockeyes, 1929, grouped by Age, Sex, and Weight, and by
their Early History.
Number of
Individuals.
Weight in Pounds.
4
2
5
2
5
3
€
3
Total.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M,
F.
M.
F.
3	
16
91
133
153
94
60
21
3
1
1
15
88
208
150
64
28
6
1
3
6
19
34
58
47
40
26
11
4
1
1
9
33
5S
64
61
35
30
5
1
1
8
15
15
11
9
4
O
4
9
11
9
2
1
1
4
5
5
2
2
1
1
4
6
2
1
1
1
1
3%       	
32
4  	
184
4%     	
372
372
5%      	
266
6	
205
6%  	
161
7	
96
7%	
76
8	
34
8%	
12
9	
5
9%	
io !	
1
Totals	
572
561
249
297
66
35
21
16
1,817
Ave. weights....
4.9
4.7
6.8
6.2
5.6
4.9
6.8
5.7
Table XVII.—Average Lengths of Skeena River Sockeyes, 4^
for Eighteen Successive Years.
and 5. Age-groups,
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
1912                                              	
24.6
23.5
24.2
24.2
23.9
23.6
24.1
24.3
23.8
23.8
23.6
23.7
24.1
23.6
23.8
23.9
23.3
22.9
23.5
22.9
23.4
23.5
23.6
23.2
23.3
23.4
23.2
23.1
23.2
23.1
23.3
22.8
23.4
23.3
22.8
22.7
26.4
25.5
26.2
25.9
26.2
25.5
25.9
25.7
26.2
25.2
25.3
25.5
26.2
25.6
25.6
25.7
25.3
25.5
25.2
1913                                            	
24.7
1914                           	
25.1
1915	
25.0
1916              	
25.0
1917               	
24.7
1918     	
25.0
1919                  	
24.8
1920   	
25.3
1921	
24.2
1922 	
24.4
1923    	
24.5
1924    	
25.2
1925              	
24.7
1926 :	
24.8
1927     :	
24.8
1928         	
24.7
1929	
24.7 LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
J 33
Table XVIII.—Average Lengths of Skeena Sockeyes, 5,
for Fourteen Successive Years.
and 6   Age-groups,
Year.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
Six-year
Males.
Six-year
Females.
1916   	
24.1
23.9
23.9
24.3
24.1
24.2
•    23.8
23.9
24.7
24.1
24.6
24.1
23.5
23.8
23.8
23.8
23.4
23.4
23.4
23.4
23.3
23.2
23.6
23.3
23.8
23.5
* 22.8
22.8
26.2
25.4
25.2
25.8
26.2
24.9
24.6
25.6
25.8
25.8
26.0
25.2
25.6
25.5
24.8
1917	
25.0
1918    ... .:    	
24.7
1919	
24.7
1920   	
25.1
1921   	
24.2
1922   	
24.1
1923 :	
24.4
1924	
24.8
1925                              	
24.8
1926   	
25.0
1927	
24.9
1928                        	
24.7
1929	
24.3
Table XIX.—Average Weights of Skeena River Sockey&s, 4
for Sixteen Successive Years.
and 5  Age-groups,
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
1914    	
5.9
5.7
5.4
5.3
5.8
6.1
5.6
5.7
5.4
5.3
5.6
5.1
5.3
5.4
5.0
4.9
5.3
5.2
5.1
5.0
5.3
5.5
5.1
5.1
5.1
4.9
5.0
4.7
5.1
5.1
4.6
4.7
7.2
6.8
7.1
6.4
6.9
7.0
7.2.
6.4
6.5
6.3
7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.4
6.8
6.3
1915   	
6.2
1916                                                                                 	
6.3
1917    	
6.0
1918   	
6.4
1919    	
6.2
1920    	
6.4
1921                                                                                 	
5.7
1922    	
5.7
1923    	
5.7
1924	
6 3
1925	
5.8
1926	
5 8
1927                          	
1928             	
5 8
1929	
62
Table XX.—Average Weights of Skeena River Sockeyes, 5
for Fifteen Successive Years.
and 6  Age-groups,
Year.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
Six-year
Males.
Six-year
Females.
1915    	
5.9
5.8
5.5
5.7
6.1
6.3
5.8
5.5
5.3
5.9
5.5
5.9
5.4
5.0
5.6
5.2
5.4
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.1
5.1
5.1
4.8
5.1
4.9
5.2
5.0
4.6
4.9
6.6
7.1
6.3
6.6
6.9
7.3
6.0
6.2
6.3
6.6
6.9
6.9
6.0
6.5
6.8
6.0
5.9
5.8
6.1
6.3
6.3
5.6
5.7
5.4
5.8
5.4
6 2
1916    	
1917    	
1918    	
1919    	
1920 	
1921	
1'922	
1923	
1924	
1925    	
1926	
1927	
5.8
5.8
5.7
1928    	
1929    	 J 34
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
Table XXI.—Percentages of Males and Females in each of the Different Year-groups,
Skeena River Sockeyes, in a Series of Years.
Year.
42
52
E
3
6
3
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
1912	
54
69
60
55
70
65
63
53
41
44
"52
60
50
57
40
45
48
50
46
31
40
45
SO
35
37
47
59
56
48
40
50
43
60
55
52
50
42
47
47
45
43
48
46
46
37
44
41
37
43
42
43
41
45
46
58
53
53
55
57
52
54
54
63
56
59
63
57
58
57
59
55
54
56
65
61
52
43
50
52
56
46
45
48
47
43
65
44
35
39
48
57
50
48
44
54
Ho
52
53
57
35
54
58
56
45
41
43
53
40
46
47
49
56
50
57
1913	
1914	
1915	
1916	
46
1917	
42
1918         	
44
1919	
1920       	
55
59
1921	
57
1922	
47
1923	
60
1924	
54
1925	
1926	
53
51
1927	
44
1928	
1929	
50
43
--'-*--ejQ^S?
4.   THE NASS RIVER SOCKEYE RUN OF 1929.
(1.)   General Characteristics.
While we have ceased to be surprised at any excessive variations in the extent of the
sockeye-salmon run of the Nass River, nevertheless we cannot refrain from expressing great
disappointment that the 1929 pack should be such a small one. It consisted of only 16,077 cases.
As we pointed out last year, 1929 belongs to the one cycle which has consistently yielded good
packs in the past. Comparing this year's figure of 16,077 cases with those of the earlier years
in this cycle (31,327 cases in 1914, 28,259 cases in 1919, and 33,590 cases in 1924), it is evident
that the pack has decreased 50 per cent. If the escapement to the spawning-beds had been
excellent, this small pack would be of minor importance. But Inspector Hickman writes that
there was " a fair run of sockeye during the early part of the season," and also that " the later
run did not appear so good."    Consequently we have two indications of a poor run.
Although in recent years it has been impossible to make predictions with any degree of
certainty on the Nass, still one cannot fail to notice that the irregularities have always been
in one direction—that of failure to reach normal expectancy. Looking back over the packs of
the last five years, which will be the brood-years for the runs of the next five years, there is
not a single year in which we can even hope to see improvement of present conditions. It is
more likely that the packs will drop to even lower levels. In other words, if the present conditions continue, it is probably only a matter of a very few years before the sockeyes of the
Nass River will cease to be of any commercial value to British Columbia. The only remedy
would be drastic curtailment, if not complete cessation, of sockeye-fishing for a period of years.
(2.) Age-groups and Seasonal Changes during the Run.
The material for the study of the 1929 run consisted of sixteen samplings taken at random
between the dates July 10th and August 16th. The total number of fish present in these
samplings was 1,982. From the point of view of numbers this compares very favourably with
former years, but unfortunately these fish do not represent as accurate a cross-section of the
run as we have had heretofore. Through unavoidable circumstances there was a delay of two
and a half weeks in starting the scale-collections, so that they are limited to approximately five
weeks, whereas in the past they have extended over a period of from seven to eight weeks.
In addition, the intervals between the collections are not spaced as regularly as in previous years.
Consequently the analysis of this material for 1929 does not give us a complete picture of
the run. LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON. J 35
A glance at Tables XXIV. and XXVI., in which the age-groups are enumerated, shows that
only four of the usual eight age-classes are present. Each year we have drawn attention to the
fact that the Nass run is composed of eight age-groups which occur in definite seasonal succession.
The sea-types (3 's and 4^^'s)—that is, those fish which go to sea as fry and return at the end
of the third or fourth year—appear only during the early weeks of the run, chiefly in June.
On the other hand, the oldest fish, the 6 's, 6 's, and 7's, are restricted to the later part of the run.
' ' 3     '     4    ' ' l
The other three age-groups—namely, the 5 's, 5,'s, and 4 's—are present throughout the run.
The 5. class is always dominant, but its strength varies from time to time, while the greatest
numbers of the 5 's and 4o's are usually found during the second and third weeks of July.
(See Table XXX.)
Looking again at Tables XXIV. and XXVI., it is not at all surprising that the 3 and 4
groups are absent, since no scale-collections were made during June; the particular month in
which the sea-types are to be found. They are not represented even by a single individual in
this 1929 material. The other-two groups which are absent are the 64's and 74's. Here only
one representative, a 6 female having a weight of 7% lb. and a length of 27 inches, is found.
The absence of these larger fish cannot be accounted for by lack of material. They run late, and
since'we have nearly twice as many samples as usual of the August part of the run, we would
expect to find an increased rather than a diminished number of them. We can offer no explanation of their absence; we can simply state that, for some reason unknown to us, they are not
present in the run of 1929. It is interesting to note that this fact is in accordance with Inspector
Hickman's observation at Meziadin Falls, that the large, late-running fish were very scarce.
Turning now to Table XXII., we find the percentages of the principal age-groups as follows:
4 's, 25 per cent.; 5o's, 9 per cent.; 5 's, 60 per cent.; and 6 's, 6 per cent. These percentages,
except possibly that of the last group, are very close to what they might have been, had the
material been collected as in previous years. Since we are dealing with approximately the
same number of fish as in former samplings, the absence of sea-types is probably made up by an
increase in the numbers of the 4 's, 5 's, and 5 's.    But the total number of fish involved in this
2   .'      2     ' 3
shifting cannot be great, for the sea-types have never been present in numbers exceeding a
hundred. Consequently the effect on the percentages, which would be to raise them, has been
so slight that it can be practically disregarded. In the case of the 6 group, we undoubtedly
have a percentage which is higher than the one which might have resulted had the number of
August scale-collections been less, and more in accordance with those of other years.
In comparing these 1929 percentages with those of the other years in this cycle—namely,
1914, 1919, and 1924—we are struck at once by their dissimilarity. This is especially true of
the 4 group, where we have 25 per cent, against 4 per cent., 7 per cent., and 4 per cent. In
additfon, as one would expect, the percentage of the 1929 five-year-old fish is smaller than those
of 1914, 1919, and 1925. There is considerable correspondence between the 1928 and 1929
percentages. In both of these years the four-year-old fish are more abundant and the five-year-
old fish less numerous than the general averages of the groups over a period of years
(Table XXIII.).
(3.)  Lengths and Weights.
The size relationships of the Nass River sockeyes are dealt with in Tables XXV. and XXVII.
Two racial characteristics should be pointed out in this connection. One of them is this: that
each age-group has maintained its average length and weight from year to year, whereas in the
other river systems there has been a slight lowering of the averages. In 1928 there was a small
decrease in the lengths and weights of most of the Nass age-classes, but this year's figures show
that the principal groups are more nearly holding their own. In fact, the average length and
weight of the 5 's, the dominant group, is above the general average. Tables XXVIII. and XXIX.
have been compiled to illustrate the second racial size characteristic—namely, that there is a
definite relation between ultimate age and size in the Nass sockeyes. They fall naturally into
graded series, with the youngest fish, which are also the smallest, at one end of the series and the
oldest and largest fish at the other end. In the Fraser and Skeena Rivers and in Rivers Inlet
we do not find this correspondence. The number of years spent in sea-feeding, rather than
ultimate age, seems to be the factor linked with size in these other river systems. For example,
the 8 's, 42's, and 5 'a, which have lived three years in salt water, are all practically the same
size. Likewise, the 4j's, 52's, and 63's, which have had four years in the sea, are all about the
same size. J 36 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
(4.) The Meziadin and Bowser Lake Sockeye Colonies.
As far back as 1915 the late Dr. Gilbert suggested the probability of the Nass run being
composed of two races. His opinion was based on two facts: First, that the run seemed to
be divided into early and late periods; and, secondly, that the late-running fish were of a
conspicuously larger size.
Meziadin and Bowser Lakes are the only two known extensive spawning areas of the Nass
River sockeyes, but the inaccessibility of these lakes makes a study of their populations most
difficult. Each September Inspector Hickman visits the Meziadin watershed, and he has tried
each year, since 1922, to gather material to further the study of the populations of these two
lakes. He is able to take samplings of the Meziadin fish below the falls, and by fishing a gill-net
in the Nass River above its junction with the Meziadin he has attempted to intercept sockeyes
bound for Bowser Lake. Some years no sockeyes have been netted and other years only a few,
although the net has been operated continuously for a week each year. This is rather significant
evidence that the Bowser Lake sockeyes belong chiefly to the early period of the run. On the
other hand, Inspector Hickman's actual observations at Meziadin Lake and Falls furnish
abundant proof that sockeyes of both the early and late periods reach Meziadin Lake.
The analysis of the material which Mr. Hickman has gathered from year to year is
summarized in Tables XXXI. and XXXII. The scales are badly absorbed on the margins and
consequently can be read only for the number of years spent in fresh water. Concerning ourselves first with Table XXXL, we notice that in general a smaller percentage of Meziadin
sockeyes spend one year in the lake and greater percentages stay two and three years than of
the Bowser colony. We may make the generalization, then, that the sockeyes of the Bowser
remain a shorter length of time in the lake than do those of the Meziadin.
The relative size of the individuals of the two populations is compared in Table XXXII.
It shows that the Meziadin fish are the larger. These fish are probably older as well as greater
in size. In 1926 we pointed out that, although we cannot read the ultimate age of these fish
from their scales, we can arrive at their approximate age by comparing their average lengths
with the average lengths of the various age-groups in the runs of the Nass proper (Table XXIV.).
The Meziadin averages fall consistently in line with those of the 6 group and we may therefore
conclude that the majority of these fish are six years old. Similarly, the Bowser averages
correspond closely with those of the four- and five-year-old groups.
Last September Inspector Hickman was unsuccessful in his attempt to obtain Bowser Lake
samplings. In Table XXXIII. are enumerated the lengths of the seventy-four sockeyes which
he took at Meziadin Falls.
Up to date the total amount of material which has been available for the study of these two
colonies is not sufficient to make conclusive generalizations. However, from the material at
hand it would appear that the majority of the Bowser Lake sockeyes belong to the early period
of the Nass run, that their early history is characterized by one or two years of fresh-water life,
and that they are smaller and younger than the Meziadin sockeyes. The fish comprising this
latter colony make their way to Meziadin Lake during both the early and late periods of the run.
The late-running fish—that is, those fish which are dealt with in these paragraphs—usually
spend the first two or three years of their lives in the lake, and they are conspicuously large
in size. LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
J 37
Table XXII.—Percentages of Principal Age-groups present in the Nass River Sockeye Run
from 1912 to 1929.
Percentage of Individuals that spent
Year.
One Year in Lake.
Two Years in Lake.
Four Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Six Years
old.
1912 (36,037 cases)
1913 (23,574 cases)
1914 (31,327 cases)
1915 (39,349 cases)
1916 (31,411 cases)
1917 (22,188 cases)
1918 (21,816 cases)
1919 (28,259 cases)
1920 (16,740 cases)
1921 (9,364 cases)..
1922 (31,277 cases)
1923 (17,821 cases)
1924 (33,590 cases)
1925 (18,945 cases)
1926 (15,929 cases)
1927 (12,026 cases)
1928 (5,540 cases)..
1929 (16,077 cases)
8
15
4
19
9
10
30
7
8
10
6
11
4
23
12
'8
30
27
12
41
14
17
15
16
22
14
7
2
12
63
71
45
59
66
71
45
91
77
91
67
63
81
61
60
10
8
S
4
9
2
2
13
4
3
Table XXIII.—Percentage of Principal Age-groups in Nass River Sockeye Run
from 1912 to 1926 combined into Five-year Periods.
One Year in Lake.
Four Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Two Years in Lake.
Five Years
old.
Six Years
old.
1912-
1917-
-16	
-21           ...                             	
11
13
11
22
13
7
1
62            1
63
77
1
5
7
1922-
-26	
5 Table XXIV.-
-Nass River Sockeyes, 1929, grouped by Age, Sex, and Length,
and by their Early History.
Length in Inches.
Number of
Individuals.
4
52
53
6
3
Total.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
21   	
1
1
9
4
30
42
57
30
37
15
5
3
8
32
78
49
48
26
4
5
2
2
2
To
15
26
12
12
8
1
3
1
1
9
IS
22
13
23
2
1
1
1
4
3
19
30
56
100
133
100
67
13
1
1
2
4
13
23
S6
143
183
130
61
16
7
2
6
6
11
7
'8
5
1
1
6
9
7
13
7
10
3
5
4
1
1
2iy>	
1
22	
19
001/,
41
23	
126
118
24	
221
241/.	
255
25	
326
287
26             	
269
26% --.	
146
27	
10S
27y2         	
'32
28             	
'15
28%             	
13
29	
1
29% .....
1
30                          	
1
Totals    	
234
252
96
91
528
668
47
65
1,981
Average lengths	
24.1
23.5
26.1
25.2
25.9
24.9
27.2
26.2
Table XXV.—Nass River Sockeyes, Average Lengths of Principal Classes
from 1912 to 1929.
4
2
5
2
5
3
6
3
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
1912 (inches)	
24.6
24.1
24.6
24.0
24.5
23.4
25.0
24.9
24.0
24.3
24.2
24.3
24.7
24.4
24.9
24.9
24.3
24.1
23.3
23.5
'22.7
23.5
23.3
23.2
24.3
24.1
23.4
23.5
23.4
23.7
23.8    -
23.8
24.1
24.2
23.5
23.5
26.5
25.6
26.1
25.9
26.4
25.5
25.7
26.2
26.3
25.5
25.6
25.9
26.2
25.9
26.1
25.3
26.0
26.1
25.1
24.8
25.1
25.2
25.0
24.7
24.7
25.2
25.0
24.3
24.6
25.3
24.9
24.7
25.3
25.2
25.1
25.2
26.2
26.0
26.3
26.5
26.5
25.3
25.9
26.5
26.7
26.2
25.7
26.2
26.3
25.9
26.1
26.3
2*5.5
25.9
25.4
25.2
25.5
25.9
25.6
24.7
25.0
25.8
25.9
25.6
25.0
25.5
25.4
25.0
25.3
25.9
24.6
24.9
27.0
26.0
26.9
26.6
27.9
26.5
27.2
27.9
27.4
27.9
28.0
27.2
28.0
26.9
27.9
27.6
28.1
27.2
25.6
1913        „        	
v  26.6
1914        ,,                               	
25.6
1915        „        	
25.3
1916        „            .          	
25.7
1917                                         	
25.5
1918        „                               	
25.2
1919        „           	
26.7  '
1920        ,,            .         	
25.9
1921        ,,                       	
26.2
25.9
1923                                         	
26.5
1924       „                      	
25.4
1925        ,,                   	
25.4
1996                                       	
27.0
1927        „          	
26.5
1928                                       	
26.2
1929        ,,                    	
26.2 LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
J 39
Table XXX7I.—Nass River Sockeyes, 1929, grouped by Age, Sex, and Weight,
and by their Early History.
Weight in
Pounds.
Number or
Individuals.
4
2
52
5
3
6
3
Total.
-
M.
F.
M.
F.
si.
F.
M.
F.
4                         	
8
12
40
64
61
32
15
2
12
3S
85
74
31
10
2
3
13
18
22
17
8
8
7
2
11
19
23
16
17
3
i
5
5
34
98
141
133
7S
31
2
1
19
76
167
223
131
88
13
2
1
1
7
8
11
12
6
1
1
1
4
13
14
17
7
4
3
1
1
22
74
209
'357
469
376
248
145
60
20
9
4 y,    	
5    	
5%	
6    	
6%	
7	
7 %	
S	
8Vo       	
9	
9V,	
m         '.
2
Totals	
234
252
96
91
528
668
47
65
1,981
5.7
5.2
7.1
6.6
6.7
5.9
7.6
6.8
Table XXVII.—Nass River Sockeyes, Average Weights
from 1914 to 1929.
of Principal Classes
4
2
5
2-
5
6
3
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
6.2
5.6
6.0
5.3
6.3
6.0
5.6
6.0
5.9
5.8
5.9
5.9
6.0
6.2
5.6
5.7
5.0
5.2
5.3
5.3
5.8
5.5
5.2
5.4
5.4
5.2
5.4
5.4
5.4
5.8
5.0
5.2
7.4
6.9
7.2
6.8
7.2
6.6
7.4
6.9
6.8
6.7
7.2
6.8
6.9
7.1
7.0
7.1
6.5
6.4
6.3
6.2
6.3
5.9
6.3
6.1
6.2
6.1
6.1
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.2
6.6
7.2
7.0
7.2
6.3
7.2
6.7
7.4
6.9
6.8
6.6
6.8
6.7
6.7
6.9
6.2
6.7
6.5
6.6
6.2
■5.8
6.4
6.1
6.7
6.3
6.3
6.0
6.1
6.0
6.0
6.2
S.'5
5.9
7.9
7.2
8.1
7.3
8.3
7.8
7.9
7.7
8.1
7.2
8.0
7.4
7.8
7.8
8.1
7.6
6.8
1915         „        	
6.6
1916         ,,	
6.4
1917         „         	
6.4
1918         „        	
6.7
1919         ,,        	
6.7   '
1920         ,,        	
7.0
1921         ,,        	
6.6
1922         ,,            ..            	
6.6
1923         „        	
6.8
1924         	
6.5
1925         ,,        	
6.3
1926         „        	
7.1
1927         ,,        	
7.0
192S         „        	
6.6
1929         ,,        	
6.8 J 40
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
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J 41
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r- J 42
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
Table XXX.—Number of Individuals of each Class of Nass River Sockeyes running at
Different Dates in 1929.
Date.
4
2
52
53
6
3
%
Number of
Individuals
examined.
July  10              	
64
66
56
53
38
39
25
17
18
22
11
18
12
9
20
18
10
8
17
14
10
20
12
16
15
15
12
8
5
11
9
5
48
45
49
58
69
62
79
84
81
81
91
85
92
88
88
96
1
5
2.
6
2
6
6
10
7
9
13
15
16
8
6
1
123
12    	
124
15               	
124
18	
190
22	
123
25	
123
29         	
123
31	
123
Aug.     1	
124
2	
125
5	
123
9	
124
12	
124
13	
124
14	
125
16	
125
486
187
1,196
112
1
1,982
Table XXXI.—Percentages of Meziadin and Bowser Lake Rims,
Different Number of Years in Fresh Water.
1
baes in Lake
One
Year.
Two
Years.
Three
Years.
No. ot
Specimens.
Meziadin, 1922    	
13
2
6
10
40
33
18
16
27
•22
SO
84
76
93
94
89
60
64
79
80
55
78
20
3
24
5
1
3
3
4
18
10
Meziadin,  1923	
Meziadin,  1924	
63
160
Meziadin, 1926     	
43
85
Meziadin,  1929 —.-	
74
Bowser, 1922	
15
41
Bowser, 1924             	
34
45
Bowser, 1926 	
11
9 LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
J 43
Table XXXII.—Average Lengths of the Meziadin and Bowser Lake Sockeyes
for the Years 1924-29.
Meziadin Lake.
BOWSEE Lake.
Year.
M.
F.
M.
F.
1924                                            	
26.8
28.1
27.1
27.0
25.7
26.3
25.8
25.3
25.5
23.8
25.9
24.7
23.6
1925             	
23.3
19-56	
24.8
1927	
23.7
1928... .                                       	
1929               	
Table XXXIII.—The Lengths of Individuals comprising the Meziadin Run of 1929.
Inches.
Number of Individuals
from Meziadin Lake.
Length in Inches.
Number of Individuals
from Meziadin Lake.
M.
F.
M.
F.
23Y- 	
1
2
1
1
4
3
11
6
4
8
9
5
2
1
27%
28 ....
7
1
2
3
1
1
24	
1
24 i/o 	
28%
29
29%
25
251/, 	
Totals 	
OfiVr, ...   	
Average   lengths
27	
27.0
25.3
' J 44 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
THE SPAWNING-BEDS OP THE FBASEE EIVEE.
Hon. S. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit the following report of my twenty-seventh yearly inspection of the salmon fishing and spawning areas of the Fraser River, made during the season of
1929 :—
In a study of conditions on the fishing and spawning grounds of the Fraser River system
in 1929 it should be noted that the year came within the four-year cycle of former big runs.
For the first year since 1917 there was a pronounced run of sockeye in the Fraser system in
early July, and the catches made in that month were much the largest made in any July since
1917. The fish were larger and in other respects resembled those in the July runs of former
big years. As will be shown later, the early escapement was also larger and the fish which
escaped capture, as in former big years, ascended the Fraser to its headwaters.
Sai.mon-catch in the Fraser River System.
The catch of all species of salmon in the Provincial waters of the Fraser River system in
1929 produced a total pack of 426,473 cases, as against 258,224 cases in 1928, 284,378 cases in
1927, 274,951 cases in 1926, and 276,855 cases in 1925. It was the largest pack made in those
waters since 1913. The pack consisted of 61,569 cases of sockeye,* 10,004 cases of springs,
40,520 cases of cohoes, 158,208 cases of pinks, and 144,159 cases of chums, etc.
The pack of sockeye was 26,184 cases greater than that made in the brood-year of this year's
run, 1925. The pack of 1929 made in our waters was not, however, as has been stated, the
largest made in recent years. It was exceeded by the pack in 1926 by 24,120 cases and it only
exceeded the pack of 1927 by 176 cases.
The pack of pinks—it was a " pink " year—totalled 158,208 cases, the largest made in the
last sixteen years.    It was 55,672 cases larger than in its brood-year, 1927.
The chum-pack of 144,159 cases was 48,947 cases less than the record high pack of 1928,
notwithstanding that it greatly exceeds all other years.
The catch of sockeye made in the State of Washington waters of the Fraser River system in
1929 produced a pack of 111,898 cases, substantially the same as in the brood-year 1925.
The combined catch of sockeye in the Fraser River system in 1929 produced a pack of
173,467 cases. It was 26,059 cases larger than in the brood-year 1925 and was the largest made
since 1917.
The July sockeye-catch in Provincial waters of the system produced a pack of 32,282 cases,
out of a total seasonal pack of 61,569 cases. Of the 32,282 cases July pack, 12,428 cases were
packed up to the 13th instant. The July sockeye-catch in the State of Washington waters of
the Fraser system was also larger than for many years—notwithstanding the statement made
that, as an early run was not anticipated, many traps were not ready to operate until about
the 15th. Had they been fishing, the American pack would have been larger and our pack
presumably smaller.
The August catch of sockeye in Provincial Fraser waters produced a total pack of 32,142
cases. The run was light in September and produced a pack of but 4,782 cases. There was
no late run in October and November such as occurred in 1926 and 1927.
The Spawning Areas of the Fraser River Basin.
As in the preceding twenty-six years, the inspections of the sockeye-salmon spawning areas
of the Fraser River basin were made in August, September, and October. In addition to the
information gained from personal observation, more valuable data were obtained through Major
J. A. Motherwell, Dominion Chief Supervisor of Fisheries in the Province. He kindly furnished
me with copies and extracts from the spawning-bed reports of his many assistants stationed
throughout the Fraser basin. I am also indebted to members of the Provincial Police and to
the many white and Indian residents on the Fraser and its many tributaries. The information
obtained from such sources enabled me to form a more comprehensive view of conditions in
most sections than was possible from my own observations, as owing to other duties I was
* The figures given here for sockeye are somewhat larger than those given in the Canners' Pack Statement—due to the fact that the latter does not credit the Fraser with the sockeye taken in traps in Juan
de Fuca Strait and packed at Esquimalt, all of which were seeking the Fraser. SPAWNING-BEDS OF FRASER RIVER. J 45
unable to cover the field as closely as in other years. I cannot give too much credit to Major
Motherwell and his staff for assistance rendered.
Sockeye in numbers made their appearance at Hell's Gate Canyon, above Yale, in July and
August. Water conditions there then and throughout the season were much more favourable
than usual. None were delayed this year. But few sockeye were seen in Hell's Gate in
September and October.
Reports made to Major Motherwell show that sockeye in considerable numbers made their
appearance at the rapids in the Fraser, just above the mouth of Bridge River, in July and in
August. The number that made their appearance at that point this season was greater than
for many years. The July and August runs consisted of large fish in fine condition. Throughout the season water conditions were favourable for their passage.
Owing to the increased run at the above rapids a greater number of Indians fished there
than usual. They came from Bridge River, Lillooet, D'Arcy, Shalalth, 22-Mile, and Hat Creeks.
They caught and smoked during the season upwards of 3,000 sockeye and 1,092 springs.
Conditions of Spawning Areas.
A greater number of sockeye reached the lakes in the headwaters of the Fraser basin this
year than in any year since 1917. The run to Stuart and Chilko Lakes was especially notable.
On the other hand, the run to Quesnel was small.
Stuart Lake.—For the first time since 1917 a considerable number of sockeye entered Stuart
Lake, and the Indians at the lake's outlet and at the mouths of several of the lake's tributaries
made good catches. The first sockeye reached the lake July 17th and sockeye were in evidence
every day until the 30th. The Indians caught 1,400 on the night of the 29th. A smaller run,
consisting of smaller fish that were in poor condition, entered the lake August 2nd and ran until
the 29th, but at no time was the run large. Indians fishing at the outlet of the lake and at the
mouths of lake tributaries caught and smoked close to 8,000 sockeye. In addition to those which
they smoked, it is estimated they used in a fresh state fully 1,000 fish, making a total catch of
close to 9,000 fish. This was the first year in the last ten years in which the Indians have
caught more than they used in a fresh state. In most of those years they did not catch any
sockeye, due to the fact that there were no sockeye in those waters. On my reaching Stuart
Lake on August 23rd the Dominion officer showed me their well-kept records and also some of
the fish smoked by the Indians. They were large fish and typical in every way of the fish in
the run of former big years.
In reviewing conditions at Stuart Lake, it is interesting to note that the first sockeye were
reported as passing Hell's Gate Canyon on July 7th. If, as we believe, they were the same fish
that reached the lake on the 17th, they made the run of close to 450 miles and climbed 2,200 feet
in elevation in ten days.    Elsewhere it has been shown that that rate of travel may be expected.
Inspection of the spawning tributaries of Stuart Lake by the Dominion fishery official failed
"to disclose any considerable number of sockeye on their spawning-beds, indicating that the
Indians at the outlet and at the mouth of the tributaries caught most of the fish in the runs,
and that the beds were but little, if any, better seeded than in recent years.
Chilko Lake Section.—The number of sockeye which entered the Chilko River this year was
much larger than in any year since 1917. The first fish were reported at Farrells Bridge on
July 27th. The Indians fishing there and at Hanceville Rapids, Alexis Creek, and Siwash Bridge
between July 27th and August 24th caught close to 4,500. A few were being caught on
September 7th. The Dominion fishery official on the Chilko reported that fewer Indians engaged
in fishing this year, notwithstanding the increased run, than last year, when their catch reached
a total of close to 1,900. For years prior to 1928 the Indians did not catch enough sockeye to
smoke any of them. A notable feature of the Indians fishing in Chilko River this year was the
fact that they dressed the fish at the place of capture and then, instead of smoking them there
as usually is the case, they transported them to their houses in their own automobiles and
there smoked them.    Some of them used auto-trucks and others sedan cars to carry their fish.
Dominion Fishery Officer Harvey, who is assigned to patrol the Chilko River and Chilko
Lake, estimates that 70,000 sockeye reached that lake this year and spawned there. In view
of the belief that very few sockeye spawned in Chilko Lake four years ago, the return there
this year of 70,000 to 80,000 fish was surprising, as surprising as the run to Stuart Lake.    The J 46 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
runs of sockeye to Stuart and Chilko Lakes this year show at least that a remnant of the big-
year runs may still reach the Upper Fraser and could be greatly augmented by the suspension
for a period of years of both commercial and Indian fishing.
Quesnel Lake.—Very few sockeye reached Quesnel Lake this year. Very few were seen to
enter the lake. None are reported as having spawned in Mitchell River, the main tributary,
and only 1,000 reported as having been seen in the Horsefly River, the other large tributary.
Considering that for years after depletion was manifest the run to the Quesnel was much larger
and more constant than to either Stuart or Chilko, their failure to run there as abundantly this
year as to the two last named is the more surprising.
Bowron Lake.—Upwards of 1,000 sockeye are believed to have entered Bowron Lake this
year and to have spawned in the river at the head of the lake. It was the best run for years,
but not comparable with early years.
Seton Lake.—The first sockeye known to have entered' the creek leading to Seton Lake
this year were seen on August 13th. There was a scant run up to October 21st. The number
estimated to have been seen there during the season totalled 700, of which 400 are said to have
entered the lake and the others to have spawned at the outlet of the lake.
Shuswap Lake.—Dominion Fishery Overseer Shotton, who has been stationed in the Shuswap Lake area for many years, reported that approximately 10,000 sockeye reached that section
this year. The run, he states, was much smaller than in each of the preceding four years. The
run consisted of small fish. They spawned in Little River below the main lake. Few were
reported from Adams River, where considerable numbers have spawned in the last few years,
and even less in any other of the many tine spawning-streams of Shuswap Lake.
For the first time in many years Officer Shotton reported that a number of sockeye entered
the North Thompson River this year, but unfortunately most of them were caught by Indians
and they so seriously injured the remainder with their spears that few of them survived to
spawn.
Birkenhead River.—For the first time on record there was a pronounced decline in the
number of sockeye that reached the Birkenhead River, at the head of the Harrison-Lillooet Lakes
section, this year. Heretofore the run to this section, year after year, - has shown but little
variation in its large numbers—the only section in the entire Fraser basin where the run has
maintained its numbers has previously shown no decrease. Superintendent Graham, who has
been for many years in charge of the hatchery on the river, and the collection of eggs there,
reported that the run was small, that they collected eggs and milt from 9,> per cent, of the total
run and obtained but 18,000,000 eggs, and that natural propagation in that section was
" almost nil."
The fish that reached the Birkenhead this year were unquestionably the product of the
spawning there in 1925, when 40,000,000 eggs were collected and the beds of the river abundantly
seeded naturally. The following record supplied by Major J. A. Motherwell shows the record
of sockeye-eggs collected on the Birkenhead from 1925-29, together with the number of eggs
shipped from the station for other waters and the number of fry planted at the station:—
Statement showing Collections and Distributions of Sockeye Eggs and Fry, 1925-29,
Pemberton Hatchery.
1925-26.
Collection in 1925  40,418,000
Distributions in 1926—
Eggs—
Skeena River. Hatchery   10,080,000
Eagle River,  Shuswap Lake     2,002,500
Morris Creek, Harrison River      2,040,000
Gates Creek, Anderson Lake     1,000,000
Fry—
Birkenhead River, Lillooet Lake   21,600,000
Adie Lake, Lillooet Lake        660,000
Gates Lake, Anderson Lake     1,020,000 SPAWNING-BEDS OF FRASER RIVER. J 47
1926-27.
Collection, 1926   45,350,000
Distributions, 1927—
Eggs—
Skeena River Hatchery  15,001,000
Morris Creek, Harrison River     3,000,000
Eagle River, Shuswap Lake      2,700,000
Gates Creek, Anderson Lake      1,000,000
Fry—
Birkenhead River, Lillooet Lake  18,935,000
Adie Lake, Lillooet Lake        500,000
Gates Lake, Anderson Lake       720,000
Gates Creek, Anderson Lake      1,295,000
1927-28.
Collection, 1927  37,000,000
Distributions, 192S—
Eggs-
Francois Lake, Fraser Basin     5,004,000
Horsefly River, Quesnel Lake _     2,502,000
Skeena River Hatchery      6,000,000
Fry—
Birkenhead River, Lillooet Lake   17,849,000
Adie Lake, Lillooet Lake        500,000
Gates Lake, Anderson Lake      1,360,000
Anderson Lake         816,000
1928-29.
Collection—
At Hatchery, 1928   35,010,000
Received from Cultus Lake, 1928        200,000
Received from Harrison Lake, 1928      1,001,000
Distributions—
Eggs—
Skeena River Hatchery  10,010,000
Horsefly River     3,003,000
Gates Creek, Anderson Lake        300,000
Fry—
Birkenhead River  18,800,000
Adie Lake, Lillooet Lake         510,000
Anderson Lake        680,000
Gates Lake, Anderson Lake     1,360,000
1929-30.
Collection    18,000,000
The above statement shows that of the 40,418,000 sockeye-eggs collected from the Birkenhead
River in 1925—the brood-year of the 1929 run—15,122,500 eggs were shipped to other waters for
distribution.
The runs of sockeye to Cultus, Pitt, and other minor waters in the extreme Lower Fraser
basin showed little variation from those of recent years.
From the above it will be noted that while the number of sockeye that reached Chilko and
Stuart Lakes was much larger than in any year since 1917, owing to Indians fishing the number
that eventually spawned in any one lake section, with the exception of Chilko Lake in the
Fraser basin, showed no increase over recent years; and that the number which reached the
Birkenhead River, at the head of the Harrison-Lillooet Lakes section, and where they were not
molested by Indians, was far less. I am indebted to Major Motherwell for the following statement showing the number of
salmon-eggs collected from the Fraser and other waters this year:—
Salmon-egg Collections, British Columbia Hatcheries, 1929.
Anderson Lake Hatchery—Sockeye  8,505,000
Babine Lake Hatchery—Sockeye   7,830,000
Cowichan Lake Hatchery—
Spring     432,000
Cohoe   743,900*
Kennedy Lake Hatchery—Sockeye   7,095,000
Pemberton Hatchery—Sockeye   18,000,000
Pitt Lake Hatchery—Sockeye  5,315,000
Rivers Inlet Hatchery—Sockeye   20,074,000
Skeena River Hatchery—Sockeye   7,859,000
Cultus Lake Hatchery—
Sockeye (from Harrison)   191,000
Sockeye (from Cultus)   8,710,285*
Respectfully submitted.
John Pease Babcock,
Assistant to the Commissioner.
Victoria, B.C., December 20th, 1029.
* As at December 14th. SPAWNING-BEDS OF RIVERS INLET. J 49
THE SPAWNING-BEDS OF BIVEES INLET.
Hon. S. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit my report upon the inspection of the spawning-beds at
Rivers Inlet for the year 1929.
Unusual interest was given to this inspection, since it would demonstrate to what extent
the exceptional " freshet " which occurred in the late fall of 1924 may have had upon the
deposit of eggs spawned in that year. How serious it was to the progeny of that portion of the
run comprising the four-year sockeye was only too clearly illustrated last year, when not only
a comparatively poor pack was put up, but the escapement to the spawning-beds proved to be
far from satisfactory.
With a commercial pack this year of approximately 69,000 cases, there did not appear to
be a very promising outlook that the spawn deposited on the beds in 1924, of that portion of the
run comprising the five-year sockeye, would show any improvement, unless the cold, wet fishing
season had sent the fish down below the nets and the greater number had escaped to the
spawning-beds. The inspection showed that while some of the tributaries were well seeded,
others showed very poor results.
Following the usual practice to inspect the early-running streams first, a start was made at
the headwaters of the lake. Leaving Rivers Inlet Cannery on September 8th, we proceeded
through and made camp at Indian River, one of the three tributaries at this point. The
following day the inspection of the Cheo River was undertaken. In contrast to the wonderful
showing of sockeye in the brood-years 1924-25 the run fell far below expectation; beyond a
few sockeye observed on the gravel-beds between the mouth and the log-jam 3 miles up, the
river was practically empty. Above the log-jam a fair run of sockeye consisting of small fish
were busy spawning, males outnumbering the females two to one. With the exception of the
log-jam referred to, the river was clear of all obstructions.
In the examination of the Washwash River I am able to record very satisfactory conditions.
In contrast to the poor showing on the Cheo, this river contained a big run of sockeye. There
were few fish to be seen between the mouth and the numerous log-jams a little way up, but
beyond the obstructions the spawning-beds right up to the falls, 2 miles up, were literally covered
with spawning fish, mainly sockeye. A big run of spring salmon also covered the beds near the
falls, while carcasses littered the bars in all directions. It is one of the best showings not only
of the run of sockeye, but also of the spring-salmon run, and compares very favourably with the
return in the brood-years 1924-25. The males outnumbered the females two to one, and in size
large and small sockeye were about equally represented. It is to be'noted here that the small
" grilse " are becoming more numerous each year, the total run being represented by at least
10 per cent, of this class of fish. The lower portion of this river near the mouth is in a deplorable state; log-jams cast up in all directions offer a severe impediment to the movement of the
fish up-stream.
The Indian River, although restricted in spawning area, contained a fair run of sockeye.
From the mouth up to the small log-jam none were to be seen, but above this obstruction were
noted in very fair numbers, males outnumbering the females two to one. In size they did not
bear a higher average than those seen on the Cheo. The small " grilse " were again in evidence
in increased numbers in this river. No obstructions other than the one referred to impeded the
movement of the fish up-stream.
The extremely low stage of the lake may have had an influence in the unsatisfactory state
of the Cheo and Indian Rivers, and that later, with a downfall of rain and rise of the lake, would
have the effect of sending more on to spawning-beds. Evidence was not wanting to show there
were a lot of sockeye still out in the lake, by the continual breaking of water.
As it was too early to examine the other tributaries of the lake at this time, I returned to
the cannery and later proceeded to Smith Inlet to inspect the spawning-beds there. On my
return three weeks later, I learned from some of the Indians that since my visit to the spawning-
beds at the head of the lake, another run of sockeye had taken possession of the beds, so
I considered it advisable to once more examine them. The Indian and Cheo Rivers, however,
did not show any improvement, but the Washwash bore every evidence of having received a
late run of sockeye. They were spawning near the mouth in very large numbers and appeared
to be much larger fish, males and females being about equally represented.
4 Sunday Creek, which lies about 5 miles from the head of the lake, contained a fair run of
sockeye spawning along the gravel shore at the mouth. Exceptionally large sockeye predominated the run, the males and females being about evenly represented. Passing through the
" Narrows'" I found the spawning-beds covered with a fair number of both cohoe and sockeye
salmon.
Examining the Sheemahant River, one of the most extensive spawning areas on the lake,
difficulty was experienced in estimating the run owing to the discoloration of the water, but in
passing up through the many rapids a fair number could be seen above the riffles depositing their
ova, while close inshore many were observed breasting the current. The small creek 10 miles
up contained a fair run of sockeye, but few had reached the falls 18 miles distant. A number
of log-jams obstructed the river in several places, but did not prevent the fish from passing
through. In size they showed a better average than the run to both the Indian and Cheo Rivers,
males and females being about equally represented.
At Genesee Creek conditions could not be more satisfactory. On my way through to the
head of the lake a week earlier I called in here, and the thousands schooled up at the entrance,
and in the creek right up to the hatchery fence, presaged a run of unusual extent. It was
demonstrated in no uncertain manner on my return. The " freshet" which had occurred a few
days earlier had permitted thousands of sockeye to pass over the fence and on to the spawning-
beds above. Here they were milling around and utilizing every available foot of gravel. Several
deep pools contained black masses of fish all in the green stage. Males outnumbered the females
at least three to one, and in size represented a greater average than those seen in the early-
running salmon-streams at the head of the lake. Hatcherymen had made a very successful
collection of eggs, when the " freshet" put a stop to their activities and compelled them to wait
patiently until a later run arrived. In this they were not disappointed, for notwithstanding
the big run that had already gone through, fresh numbers arrived, permitting them to fill their
requirements for the hatchery. In extent the run of sockeye to this creek measures up to the
high standard attained in 1914, and more so than 1925. Small " grilse " were again in evidence
in increased numbers.
The usual muddy condition of the Machmell River, another large tributary of the lake, again
prevented an accurate estimate of the run of sockeye, but a few scattered bodies lying on the
bars testified to the spawning-beds having received a fair run, even if small. It is to the Nookins
(or Nechants), a tributary to the Machmell River, that the sockeye prefer to go. In examining
this stream I found a fair number had taken possession of the spawning-beds in Mink Creek
a little way up, but the water was too milky in the main river to accurately estimate the run.
They could be seen, however, close inshore breasting the current. Males outnumbered the
females two to one, the majority being fish of under average size. The extremely favourable
conditions noted here in the brood-years 1924-25 were entirely lacking, and I therefore do not
look for a big return from this season's spawning. No log-jams obstructed the passage of the
salmon up-stream.
Contrary to expectation, the run of sockeye to Asklum, situated about 10 miles down the
lake from Genesee Creek, contained one of the poorest showings seen in years. The exceptionally
fine spawning in 1924-25, the brood-years, warranted a better return, and I can only conclude
that the " freshet " in the late fall of 1924 damaged the eggs to such an extent that the progeny
comprising the five-year cycle were of a negligible quantity. With the exception of the spawning-
beds near the mouth, where a fair number spawned, few sockeye were observed on the way up
to the falls 5 miles distant. Large and small sockeye were about equally represented, males
outnumbering the females two to one. Small " grilse" were again in evidence in the river.
No log-jams interfered with the movement of the fish up-stream.
In contrast to the poor run at Asklum, the spawning-beds at Quap River, 6 miles farther
down the lake, contained one of the biggest runs seen in years. The recent " freshet" had
permitted the fish to pass over the hatchery fence, so that the main run, which under ordinary
circumstances would have been held below the fence, were all above.
Passing up through to the head of the river, distant 5 miles, thousands upon thousands of
sockeye lined the beds, while several large schools numbering thousands lay dormant in deep
pools, all in the green stage. Grizzly bear were having a great feast upon the salmon, as was
evidenced as I passed round a log-jam and came upon three of them busy pawing them out of
the creek.    On my return I made an examination of the shore-line at the mouth of the river, but SPAWNING-BEDS OF RIVERS INLET. J 51
few sockeye were to be seen owing to the milky condition of the lake-water. That a late run
came in after my visit there, I learned from Mr. Frank Tingley, Superintendent of the Dominion
Hatchery, who stated that he had no difficulty in filling the hatchery with its full quota of
20,000,000 eggs. In size the fish represented a high average, males outnumbering the females
at least two to one.
Crossing to the Dalley River, situated directly opposite, I found the spawning-beds full of
sockeye. Littered all over the bars, where the high water had left them, were large numbers
of dead fish, testimony to a very big run having arrived earlier. As I passed through to the
falls 4 miles distant the same conditions prevailed; thousands of sockeye lined the beds. Even
at this late stage of the spawning season numerous schools lay in the deep pools, all in the green
stage. Large and small sockeye were evenly distributed, males outnumbering the females two
to one. No log-jams impeded the movement of the salmon up the river. This stream was
apparently not so affected by the small " grilse," since only an occasional few were seen.
The run is identical with the fine showing which returned in the brood-years 1924-25.
Proceeding to the Hatchery Creek, a very fair run of sockeye had taken possession of the
spawning-beds inside and many were to be seen spawning along the gravel-bars outside. They
were fine specimens of the sockeye race and measured up to the high standard attained by those
seen at Genesee and Quap Rivers, males and females being equally represented.
Passing down the Owikeno River, sockeye were to be seen breaking water in every direction
and also around the Indian rancherie farther down. Indians informed me that according to
their experience they considered it one of the biggest runs known for a number of years. In
making their catches last year they had to make several drifts before obtaining sufficient for
their winter's need, but it was not so this year. One cast of the net and their net was full.
In size the sockeye were on the average small, the males outnumbering the females two to one.
Proceeding down over the rapids spring salmon could be seen breaking all over this portion of
the river, while farther down near the entrance chum salmon were much in evidence.
In summing up the results of the inspection of the spawning-grounds at Rivers Inlet, I am
of the opinion that only fair returns may be expected from the spawning this year from the
Indian, Cheo, Sheemahant, Nechants, and Asklum Rivers, but that abundance of sockeye may
be expected from the Washwash, Genesee, Quap, Dalley, Hatchery Creek, and the spawning-beds
situated at the head of the Owikeno River, and the gravel-beds surrounding the Indian rancherie,
as a result of the extensive seeding. Cold, wet weather during the fishing season favoured the
escapement to the spawning-beds, otherwise there would have been a greater depletion than has
been shown. Providing climatic conditions are favourable to successful seeding, I look for a
return equal in extent to that which returned this year.
In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation for courtesies extended by Mr. Frank
Tingley,  Superintendent of the Dominion Hatchery,  and the men at the spawning camps.
Respectfully submitted.
Arthur W. Stone,
Provincial Fisheries Overseer.
Rivers Inlet, B.C., November 12th, 1929. THE SPAWNING-BEDS OF SMITH INLET.
Hon. S. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit my report upon the inspection of the spawning-grounds
at Smith Inlet for the year 1929.
That the poor run of sockeye to Smith Inlet this year was foreshadowed was clearly shown
in my report for 1924. No tests had been made over a period of years to ascertain the percentage
of four- and five-year sockeye, as in the case of Rivers Inlet, but it was generally admitted that
the run to this watershed was pre-eminently a five-year cycle. An interesting observation was
made by Mr. Frank Nason, manager of the B.C. Packers' plant at Smith Inlet, that after studying
facts and figures over a number of years regarding the size of the Smith Inlet sockeye he had
come to the conclusion that they were predominately a five-year fish, and this is borne out to a
very great extent by what actually transpired, regarding not only the size of the total sockeye-
pack, but the consequent escapement to the spawning-beds this year.
In 1924 a poor escapement was followed by an extreme "freshet," and the combination of
the two circumstances, I have every reason to believe, accounted for the smallest pack of sockeye
in the sixteen years of my experience of that watershed having been put up. That the progeny
of the year 1925, from which is derived the four-year sockeye, had little bearing in relation to
the extent of the run is manifest. Not only were the sockeye of exceptional size generally, but
had there been an extensive run of four-year fish the wonderful showing of sockeye on the
spawning-beds in 1925 would have been reflected in a big return; this was not so, because,
according to Mr. Nason, the only small fish packed at his cannery were those from Rivers Inlet.
Favourable weather conditions were experienced in the inspection; consequently every
facility was afforded to examine them under ideal circumstances.
Leaving Smith Inlet Cannery on September 24th, we made camp at the Docee River, the
overflow to the lake. An examination of this stream showed that the run of spring salmon was
very good and compared favourably with other good years. In the clear water thousands were
to be seen breasting the current, from the entrance right up to the lake. In size they averaged
from 30 to 60 lb. in weight.
Proceeding up to Quay Creek, a distance of about 7 miles, I found the spawning-beds to be
entirely absent of sockeye. None were to be seen inside or outside. On making camp at the
Geluch River (or "Smoke-house Creek," as it is termed), situated at the head of the lake, it
was found to be at its lowest stage; consequently no difficulty was experienced in obtaining
an accurate estimate of the run. Passing up through to the falls next day a few sockeye were
to be seen spawning, but in such small numbers as to be negligible. In one or two deep pools
small schools were congregated, all in a green stage. Beyond this there appeared to be an utter
absence of sockeye and I was beginning to think the run to this tributary was a failure,' when
in poling along the shore-line of the lake outside, thousands could be detected in the clear water
schooled up, waiting for the necessary rain and rise of the lake to go on the spawning-beds.
All appeared to be fine specimens of the sockeye race and of the same high average as those
caught in the nets during the fishing season. Males outnumbered the females at least two to
one. With the addition of those seen in the lake when they eventually arrive on the spawning-
beds, a fair seeding may be expected, but it will not approach the exceptionally heavy return
experienced here in the brood-years 1924-25, which I estimate to be at least 50 per cent.
The Delabah River, another fine sockeye-stream situated about 1% miles from the head of
the lake, on the north shore, was at an extremely low ebb. The lack of rain had reduced it to
that stage where the sockeye, even if they had sufficient energy to move on to the spawning-beds,
would find it difficult. About fifty swimming around at the entrance was the only evidence of
life in this river, and it appeared as if this spawning area, too, would be a failure; but in rowing
along the shore-line of the lake outside, four distinct schools were seen in the clear water,
representing thousands of sockeye. Examining them closely, they were all fish of exceptional
size and no doubt belonging to the five-year cycle. Males outnumbered the females two to one.
The log-jam a little way up the river is assuming greater dimensions each year and requires
attention. The gravel-bars are being thrown up to such an extent that the fish will find it
difficult to find sufficient spawning-gravel except when the river is high, which is not often.
The contrast to the wonderful showing of sockeye noted here in the brood-years 1924-25 was
never more exemplified than this year.    The run is at least 50 per cent, lower. SPAWNING-BEDS OF SMITH INLET. J 53
Returning down the lake, I had a look once more at the Docee River and noted several
schools of cohoe salmon intermingled with the springs, while farther down in the lagoon other
schools were coming in.
In summing up the results of the inspection of this watershed, I am of the opinion that
a run of sockeye of about the same dimensions is all that can be anticipated from the spawning
of this season. There was nothing to indicate from the numbers schooled up outside of the
Geluch and Delabah Rivers that an exceptional seeding will take place when they arrive on
the spawning-beds later.
In conclusion, I wish to express my thanks to Mr. Frank Nason, manager of the Wallace
Fisheries Cannery at Smith Inlet, for courtesies extended to me.
Respectfully submitted.
Arthur W. Stone,
Fisheries Overseer.
Rivers Inlet, B.C., November 12th, 1929. THE SPAWNING-BEDS OF THE SKEENA EIVEE.
Hon. 8. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—In obedience to your instructions, I beg to submit the following report on the sockeye-
spawning beds of the Skeena River for the year 1929 :—
I left Prince Rupert on the morning of August 31st and arrived at Terrace later the same
day. The following morning I proceeded to Lakelse Lake and met Mr. Raven, the assistant at
the hatchery. Lakelse Lake, on the east side of the Skeena River, and Kitsumgallum Lake, on
the opposite side of the river, are the earliest spawning areas of the Skeena watershed. Lakelse
Lake, the most important from a spawning view-point, is about 5 miles long and is reached by
a good automobile-road from Terrace, the distance being approximately 13 miles. This lake
abounds in cut-throat and rainbow trout and excellent fly-fishing can be had during the season.
The four principal creeks on Lakelse are Williams, Schullabuchan, Granite, and Hot Springs,
the largest being Williams, a swift-running water of about 30 miles in length. An up-to-date
hatchery, located on Granite Creek, is operated by the Dominion Fisheries Department and is
ably managed by Mr. Hearne, the Superintendent. Mr. Heame was away during my visit and
I am indebted to Mr. Raven for the following information:—
Sockeye were first noticed in the lake on June 10th, but artificial spawning by the hatchery
crew did not begin until July 30th. By September 1st approximately 8,000,000 sockeye-eggs had
been collected and it was anticipated that they would get a few thousands more. A visit to the
creeks was rather disappointing, very few sockeye being seen; but, of course, it was rather late
in the season to form an estimate of the run. In the lake at the mouths of Williams and
Schullabuchan Creeks a good many sockeye were still to be seen breaking water, probably owing
to a late run. Lakelse River, at the outlet of the lake, was teeming with pinks, the river being
practically full of this variety.
In summing up the Lakelse area, I would say that the sockeye run this year was poor and
disappointing, being below the average. One redeeming feature, however, was the apparent
absence of "grilse" (or "runts," as they are commonly called), and also the decrease in the
number of net-scarred fish in comparison with other years.
Returning to Terrace, I arrived at Burns Lake on the morning of September 3rd, and after
outfitting, etc., reached Donald's Landing on Babine Lake on September 6th.
Babine Lake, incidentally the largest lake in British Columbia, is the main spawning area
of the Skeena River sockeye. The lake is 113 miles long and is 26 miles north of the town of
Burns Lake. The white population on the entire lake, which includes the Hudson's Bay store
and hatchery, is less than a dozen people. The Indian population is a large one, however, which
is increased during the sockeye run by Indians from Stuart and Bear Lakes.
On September 7th I visited 15-Mile Creek, which, as the name indicates, is about 15 miles
from the head of the lake. This creek for a distance of about three-quarters of a mile from the
lake is an ideal spawning-creek, the water being at an even depth the entire width of the creek
and without a boulder or other obstruction to mar its beauty. There were quite as many sockeye
in this creek as there were last year, which, as I stated then, was the best I bad ever seen. The
quality even surpassed that of last year, the sockeye being of a medium size and the runts not
exceeding 2 per cent. 15-Mile Creek has always been noted for its runts and it was indeed
gratifying to note the extraordinary decrease in the number of the little male sockeye this year.
Near the mouth of the creek there were nine Stuart Lake Indian families fishing in the lake.
They were catching in the neighbourhood of sixty sockeye per family each night. The average
is two nets per family, the families consisting of nineteen adults and twenty-seven children.
Their nets are 4%-inch extension measure, 18 meshes deep and 200 feet long. They are staked
out at night and pulled in in the morning, the remainder of the day being spent in cleaning and
drying the fish and repairing the nets. A Fishery Guardian is stationed at this creek, his duties
being to prevent the Indians fishing during the weekly close season, fishing too near the mouth
of the creek, and interfering in any way with the fish in the creek. Mr. Mulvany, the Guardian,
informed me there was a big ran to this creek on August 30th and that the Indians began fishing
on September 1st. A cheek-up of the Indian smokehouses and racks at a later date showed that
approximately 8,000 sockeye had then been caught. In looking over the fresh-caught sockeye it
was noted that about 75 per cent, were males, although no such difference was seen in the creek,
the males being only slightly in excess of the females there. SPAWNING-BEDS OF SKEENA RIVER. J 55
September 8th was spent in inspecting Grizzly Creek, a small creek running into Beaver
River at the head of the lake. Beaver River is not a sockeye-creek owing to its muddy bottom,
but the sockeye go on through to Grizzly Creek, which is the earliest sockeye-spawning creek on
the lake. There were not many live sockeye to be seen here, but, judging by the number of dead
and decayed fish, the majority had alreadly fulfilled their mission. In proof of this, on the
gravelly patches where no sockeye were to be seen I uncovered some eyed eggs. The fish here
were a little larger than in 15-Mile Creek, the sexes being in better proportion. Grizzly Creek
is entirely free from molestation by the human element, but the tracks of bears, both black and
grizzly, were to be seen all up and down the creek.
I returned to 15-Mile Creek on September 9th and inspected the creek up to the big falls,
a distance of 2% miles from the lake. Beyond the three-quarters of a mile stretch near the lake
this creek is nothing but a series of falls, five in number, varying from 6 feet in height and
culminating in a 40-foot drop at the big falls. A few sockeye were seen beyond the 12-foot falls,
but none beyond the 18-foot falls. Many sockeye were seen in the few gravelly patches and
among the boulders in the lower stretch, but it is obvious that a great many eggs must be lost
owing to the rocky nature of the creek.
Leaving 15-Mile Creek at noon, I camped at Fulton River that night, but did not make the
inspection at that time. On the morning of September 10th I left Fulton River and arrived at
Babine Indian village that night. Next morning, in company with Mr. Guest, Fishery Guardian
at that point, I inspected Babine River at the outlet of the lake for a distance of about 12 miles.
It is on this 12-mile stretch of the slow-running river that the Babine Indians rely for their
fish-supply, and naturaly it is a busy place during September. The entire Babine Indian population move down here and are located in thirty smoke-houses and tents, scattered here and there
on both sides of the river. Seventy-five families, averaging two nets per family, were busily
engaged harvesting the sockeye. The Dominion Government, through the Indian Department,
supplies each family with a new net every two years. The nets supplied are 5 and % extension
measure, 25 meshes deep and 200 feet long. I was informed that the Indians did not receive
their new nets until August 26th. I was also informed that there was a big run of sockeye this
year. The Indians would have been very happy but for the fact that there was also a record
run of pinks to the Babine. The Indians do not care much for the pinks, and as the pinks do
not enter the lake to spawn, the nets are naturally soon full of this variety. All the smokehouses were well filled' and would average 2,000 sockeye per family, exclusive of pinks or springs.
It was noticed, however, that at least 50 per cent, of the sockeye had been speared. Several
Indians were seen in boats on the lower and swifter water, very active in this method of catching
sockeye. Although the boats are tied to the banks of the river, it is obvious that very few of
the large sockeye will escape. It is a pity that this method is resorted to, but at that it is not
surprising when one considers that the food of the Babine Indian consists of fish, preferably
sockeye, three times a day. The sockeye are larger in size in Babine River than in 15-Mile or
Grizzly Creeks, particularly so in the lower stretch of the river. Mr. Guest informed me that
a few sockeye were caught in Babine River during the first week in May, which is something
very unusual for Babine. From my own observations of Babine River, I would say that the
sockeye run this year was a big one and equal to the best year I have seen.
The following day I arrived at the Dominion Government Hatchery, where I met Mr. Eaton,
the Superintendent. This hatchery is ideally situated at the foot of Morrison Lake and the head
of Hatchery Creek. This is a fair-sized creek about 2 miles in length. It is a wonderful
sockeye-stream with an unlimited spawning area and was again well up to expectations. The
sockeye here are of a good average size, many fine specimens of both sexes being seen. The males
appeared to be a little more numerous than the females. Scarcely a runt was seen and there
were very few net-scarred fish. The hatchery crew began spawning operations on September 9th
and three days later had obtained 2,000,000 eggs. Although the majority were still green,
Mr. Eaton did not anticipate any difficulty in filling his hatchery, which has an 8,000,000 capacity.
Mr. Eaton informed me that in the fall of 1927 he planted 750,000 eyed eggs in Salmon and
Talho Rivers, and that during the early summer months this year a big escapement of sockeye-fry
was seen leaving Morrison Lake. Five hundred thousand eyed eggs were planted in these creeks
last year and it is expected that a good escapement will follow next year.
Leaving the hatchery, I returned to Fulton River and made an inspection the following
morning.    Five Indian families have a permanent camp at the mouth of this creek.    They have J 56 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
one big smoke-house among them which contained approximately 4,000 sockeye, their total catch.
These Indians cultivate vegetable-gardens and are not such intensive fishers as the Babine
Indians. Fulton River is about 5 miles in length and flows from Fulton Lake. It is by far the
largest stream flowing into Babine Lake and has many fine spawning-beds. Two falls close to
Fulton Lake, the largest having a 40-foot drop, are an effective barrier to the sockeye entering
the lake. There was a splendid showing of sockeye on the whole stretch of this river, but the
males appeared to be greatly in excess of the females in number. The good luck still held on
my trip, as again there were few runts seen and only a few net-scarred fish.
I next called in at Pierre Creek, which also had a fine showing of sockeye. Pierre is an
earlier-spawning creek, many spent and decayed fish being seen in the deep pools and on shallow
gravelly bars. The males and females were more evenly balanced and there were some good
large specimens of both sexes. Although Pierre is smaller than the average creek on Babine,
it has a spawning area 5 miles in extent. This being the last point of interest, I returned to
Burns Lake via Donald's Landing, arriving there on September 18th.
In summing up the Babine area, I am pleased to say that all the creeks, without exception,
will be well seeded this year and will undoubtedly result in big runs in 1933 and 1934, particularly 1934, as the sockeye appear to be mostly five-year fish. Although the sockeye-pack
was not a large one on the Lower Skeena, it is obvious that there must have been a large
escapement to the spawning-grounds. The fishing is intensive from July 1st to 31st, so this large
escapement can only be attributed to two or possibly three factors, namely: (1) Extended
weekly close season; (2) wet weather and clear water, causing the fish to swim deep; (3) 3-mile
shortening of the fishing boundary.
On September 20th, en route to Prince Rupert, I made the usual visit to Agwillgate Canyon,
on the Bulkley River at Hazelton. A few sockeye are still caught by the Indians at this
canyon, but nothing in comparison to the number caught in past years. This, no doubt, is the
result of the Indians associating with the whites and being forced to become more industrious.
While at Hazelton I was reliably informed that there also had been a very good run of sockeye
up the Bulkley River and tributaries. Kispiox River, like Lakelse and Babine Rivers, was
teeming with pinks.
I wish to state that I was accompanied on the trip by Mr. J. P. McMillan, of the
B.C. Packers. He accompanied me throughout the whole trip, which made the inspection
much more enjoyable. I understand it is the intention of the B.C. Packers from now on to
gain first-hand information as to conditions on the spawning-grounds, and I hope that Mr. McMillan will be their representative again next year.
In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation to the Hatchery Superintendents, Fishery
Overseers and Guardians for information received and hospitality shown.
I have, etc.,
Robert Gibson,
Fishery Overseer.
Prince Rupert, B.C., November 1st, 1929. SPAWNING-BEDS OF NASS RIVER. J 57
THE SPAWNING-BEDS OF THE NASS EIVEE.
Hon. S. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, X7ictoria, B.C.
Sir,—Having received instructions to make the annual inspection of the salmon-spawning
areas of the Meziadin Lake district of the Nass River, I herewith submit the following report:—
Leaving Victoria on August 30th, I arrived at Stewart on the night of September 2nd.
I there met Mr. A. E. Young, who makes the annual trip of inspection for the Dominion
Fisheries Department. We proceeded to get our outfit together, made arrangements for pack-
horses, and engaged two capable assistants for the trip. Leaving Stewart on September 7th,
we made American Creek and stayed there for the night. On Sunday, September 8th, we packed
on the trail and eventually reached the head of Meziadin Lake on Monday night. The next
morning we assembled the canvas canoe and inspected the sockeye-spawning grounds at the
head of the lake and its southerly shore as far as 5-Mile Point. Many spawning fish were to
be seen on all of the usual beds. There was evidence of there having been a good early run of
sockeye; many dead spent fish were to be seen floating in the lake and also on the lake-shore.
The water in the lake was exceptionally high and remained so until our departure. On the
11th we inspected the northerly shore-line and spawning sockeye were to be seen in abundance.
Conditions here were very good.
On September 12th we broke camp at the head of the lake and went down the lake in the
canvas canoe. On the journey down many salmon were to be seen breaking, these being the
fresh ones just arriving in the lake. No salmon were to be seen in either Hanna River or
McLeod Creek, the sockeye always passing by these streams until they reach the head of the
lake. The principal feeders to Meziadin Lake are the Beaver River and Surprise Creek, which
waters are glacial. However, there are two small spring streams, one at each side of the lake,
which are no doubt the attraction for the sockeye. AVe arrived at the Falls Cabin in the evening.
On September 13th we inspected the upper and lower falls in the Meziadin River. Many sockeye and a few cohoe were congregated" below both falls and salmon were passing through the
fishway freely. On account of the large volume of water passing over the falls, the salmon at
the lower fall were having greater difficulty in making the ascent, there being more salmon
here than below the upper fall.    This congestion was not serious, as they eventully all passed up.
On September 14th we went to the main Nass River above the Meziadin and set the net
with the intention of obtaining specimens of sockeye passing farther up the Nass. On reaching
the Nass we found it about half-flood, which made it practically impossible to fish the net
effectively. We fished the net continually until the 21st, flood conditions prevailing all of the
time.    Our results were a few cohoe and steelhead, with no sockeye.
Mr. Young told me that he had received word from Mr. T. Boyd, Dominion Inspector of
Fisheries, that there was something wrong with the fishway and that salmon were not passing
through. I also received the same information from Indians at the mouth of the Nass. I have
to report that the fishway is in first-class condition, there being no log-jams or any sign of
deterioration. There was the usual growth of vegetation and brush around the crib-work, which
we removed. The cement-work shows no sign of crumbling and the basins are in good shape.
There is nothing to prevent salmon from passing up without any difficulty.
During the time we were at the falls a fresh run of large sockeye arrived. This was not
a large run ; the majority of them passed up in a few days* Cohoe salmon were coming in,
but not in large numbers. Unless there is an increase in the run later on, the cohoe run will
not be up to its usual standard.
On September 19th we inspected the spring-salmon spawning-grounds at McBride Rapids.
As the spring salmon arrive earlier in the season it is only possible to observe the tail-end of
the run. There were still some spawners on the grounds and a few dead spent fish were
floating around.    From observations this run was not up to expectations.
In the slack waters between McBride Rapids and the falls there is a splendid natural
retaining area, about 2 miles long and 1 mile wide in places. Large schools of young salmon
were to be seen rippling on the surface of the water in the evening. There is a large quantity
of water-grass growing in the shallows out from the shore, which affords the young salmon
protection from their enemies. Trout below McBride Rapids did not appear to be as plentiful
as usual. ;
J 58 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
After having completed our work at the falls we left on our return journey on Sunday,
September 22nd. Taking the northerly shore on our way up the lake, large quantities of
spawning sockeye were seen. At the head of the lake we dried out the canvas canoe for packing.
The pack-train arrived from town on the night of the 23rd and we got on the trail for home on
the 24th, arriving in Stewart on the 26th.
During the trip weather conditions were splendid—brilliant sunshine every day. The sun
in the daytime was very hot, which accounted for the high stage of the water owing to the
melting ice on the glaciers. Trail conditions were greatly improved, the Government having
built a new piece down the Beaver River and slashed out the old trail to Meziadin Lake. A new
bridge is being built over Surprise Creek, which will be completed this fall.
Summary.—A summary of spawning conditions in the Meziadin watershed of the Nass
River basin this year shows that there was a fair run of sockeye during the earlier part of the
season, as was indicated by the number of spawning fish seen on the beds on September 10th
and 11th. The later run did not appear so good, for while there were several hundred congregated at the falls on September 13th, they had practically all passed up by the time we left the
falls on September 22nd. This included a fresh run of large-sized sockeye which arrived while
we were in the field. The cohoe run, while just commencing, was not up to its usual standard,
neither were there any signs to show that there had been a good run of spring salmon to the
spawning area at McBride Rapids.
The fishway is in splendid condition, there being no sign of decay in the cement-work or
dry-rot in the crib-work. Sockeye-scales were collected at Meziadin Falls, but none were
obtained from the main Nass River. The stage of water in the lake was very high, and the
Nass was in half-flood owing to the warm days and bright sunshine melting the glacial ice.
On the whole, the sockeye escapement was far better than last year, but about two-thirds of
the run of 1924.
Respectfully submitted.
C. P. Hickman,
Inspector of Fisheries. TACK OF BRITISH COLUMBIA SALMON, 1929.
J 59
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C J 62
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
STATEMENT   SHOWING   THE   SALMON-PACK   OF   THE   PROVINCE,   BY
DISTRICTS AND SPECIES, FEOM 1914 TO 1929, INCLUSIVE.
Fraser River.
1929.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
61,569
3,305
6,699
144,159
158,208
40,520
12,013
29,299
1,173
3,909
193,106
2,881
27,061
795
61,393
7,925
10,528 .
67,259
102,536
24,079
10,658
85,689
12,783
20,169
88,495
32,256
21,783
13,776
35,385
7,989
25,701
66,111
99,800
36,717
5.152
39,743
2,9S2
4,648
109,495
31,968
21,401
1,822
31,655
3,854
4,279
103,248
63,645
20,173
15
51,832
10,561
6,300
17,895
29,578
Cohoes	
Bluebacks and Stcelheads..
23,587
817
Totals	
426,473
258,224
_|
284,378
274,951
270,853
212,059
226,869
140,570
1921.  | 1920.
1
1919.
191S.
1917.
1916. ■
1915.
1914.
39,631
11,360
5,949
11,233
8,178
29,978
1,331
48,399
10,691
4,432
23,884
12,839
22,934
4,522
38,854
14,519
4,296
15,718
39,363
39,253
15,941
19,697
15,192
24,853
86,215
18,388
40,111
4,395
148,164
10,197
18,916
59,973
134,442
25,895
4,951
32,146
17,673
11,430
30,934
840
31,330
3,129
91,130
23,228
5,392
18,919
138,305
43,514
31
198,183
11,209
15,300
74,826
Pinks	
6,272
Cohoes	
43,504
Totals	
107,650
136,661
167,944
208,857
402,538
127,472
320,519
349,294
Skeena River.
1929.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
78,017
4,324
4,908
95,305
37,678
13
34,559
6,420
17,716
209,579
30,194
241
83,996
19,038
19,006
38,768
26,326
582
82,360
30,594
63,527
210,081
30,208
754
81,146
23,445
74,308
130,079
39,168
713
144,747
12,028
25,588
181,313
26,968
214
131,731
12,247
16,527
145,973
31,967
418
■96,277-
14,176
39,758
Pinks	
301,655
24,699
1,050
Totals	
220,245
298,709
187,716
407,524
348,859
390,858
338,863
477,915
1921.
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
41,018
21,766
1,993
124,457
45,033
498
89,364
37,403
3,834
177,679
18,068
1,218
184,945
25,941
31,457
117,303
36,559
2,672
123,322
22,931
22,573
161,727
38,759
4,994
65,760
16,285
21,516
148,319
38,456
1,883
60,293
20,933
17,121
73,029
47,409
3,743
116,533
15,273
5,769
107,578
32,190
1,798
130,166
11,740
8,329
Pinks	
71,021
16,378
Steelhead Trout  	
Totals	
234,765
332,887
398,877
374,306
292,219
223,158
279,161
237,634 STATEMENT  SHOWING SALMON-PACK OF THE PROVINCE.
J 63
STATEMENT   SHOWING   THE   SALMON-PACK   OF   THE   PROVINCE,   BY
DISTRICTS AND SPECIES, PROM 1914 TO 1929, INCLUSIVE—Continued.
Rivers Inlet.
1929.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
70,260
342
989
2,386
1,120
29
60,044
468
3,594
16,546
868
7
65,269
608
1,122
671
'2,094
9
65,581
685
11,727
12,815
7,286
11
*192,323
496
11,510
8,625
4,946
94,891
545
4,924
15,105
1,980
116,850
599
3,242
10,057
1,526
53,584
323
311
24,292
1,120
82
75,126
81,527
69,773
98,105
217,900
117,445
132,274
79,712
1921.
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
48,615
364
173
5,303
4,718
97
125,742
1,793
1,226
25,647
2,908
56,258
1,442
7,089
6,538
9,038
53,401
1,409
6,729
29,542
12,074
61,195
817
16,101
8,065
9,124
44,936
1,422
20,144
3,567
15,314
130,355
1,022
5,387
2,964
7,115
89,890
566
5,023
Pinks  	
5,784
7,789
Totals	
59,272
133,248
80,367
103,155
95,302
85,383
146,838
109,052
Smith Inlet.'
Nass River.
* Including 40,000 eases caught in Smith Inlet and 20,813 cases packed at Namu.
f Previously reported in Queen Charlotte and other Districts.
1929.
192S.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
9,683
18
60
275
S53
113
12
33,442
108
178
230
167
19
6
22,682
270
79
2,990
732
2,605
8
17,921
73
39
164
689
31
33,764
33
22
44
134
1
11,435
47
11,864
13
5,818
21
273
78
24
19
Chums	
Bluehacks and Steelheads..
I
Totals	
11,014
34,150
29,366
18,917
33,998
11,776
11,'9'79
5,862
1929. 1 1928.
1
1927.
1926.    1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
16,077
352
1,212
10,342
1,202
5,540
1,846
3,538
83,183
10,734
36
12,026
3,824
3,307
16,609
3,966
OR
15,929
5,964
15,392
50,815
4,274
37S
18,945
3,757
22,504
35,530
8,027
945
33,590
2,725
26,612
72,496
6,481
1,035
17,821
3,314
25,791
44,165
7,894
595
31 277
2,062
11,277
75,687
Pinks	
Steelhead Trout	
235
.
Totals	
29,185
104,877 J  39,828
92,749
89,008
142,939
99,580
124,071
1921.
1920.    1919.    1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
9,364
2,088
.2 176
16,740
4,857
12.145
28,259
3,574
24,041
29,949
10,900
789
21,816
4,152
40,368
59,206
17,061
1,305
22,188
4,496
24,938
44,568
22,180
1,125
31,411
3,845
11,200
59,593
19,139
1,498
39,349
3,701
11,076
34,879
15,171
113
31,327
3,385
25,569
25,333
9,276
Pinks	
29,488 I 43,151
8,236 |  3,700
413 j   560
Steelhead Trout	
Totals	
51,765 | 81,153
1
97,512
143,908
119,495
126,686
104,289
94,890 J 64
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OP FISHERIES, 1929.
STATEMENT   SHOWING   THE   SALMON-PACK   OF   THE   PROVINCE,   BY
DISTRICTS AND SPECIES, PROM 1914 TO 1929, INCLUSIVE—Continued.
Vancouver Island District.
1929.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
10,340
1,645
162,246
74,001
35,504
11,118
14,248
2,269
303,474
41,885
23,345
5,249
24,835
6,769
220,270
52,561
58,834
10,194
25,070
5,222
174,383
86,113
51,551
5,383
10,895
5,664
127,520
51,384
59,747
4,832
15,618
283
165,161
63,102
30,593
2,510
12,006
138
120,520
30,149
21,342
7,097
15,147
886
108,478
36,043
Cohoes	
Steelheads and Bluebacks..
18,575
5,495
Totals	
294,854
390,470
373,463
347,722
260,042
277,267
191,252
185,524
Queen Charlotte and other Districts.
1929.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
35,331
1,020
111,263
136,758
56,938
575
59,852
2,806
341,802
438,298
58,455
009
60,533
7,826
252,230
36,481
47,433
973
62,383*
3,650
348,682
380,243
47,183
973
49,962
5,002
305,256
120,747
40,269
1,520
40,926
4,245
195,357
141,878
26,031
497
24,584
2,711
148,727
146,943
29,142
732
47,107
4,988
Chums	
Pinks	
Cohoes	
Steelheads and Bluebacks..
80,485
113,824
31,331
409
Totals	
341,873
901,822
405,476
844,114
522,756
408,934
352,839
278,144
1921.
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
18,350
4,995
21,412
14,818
18,203
2,790
64,473
15,633
30,946
247,149
33,807
3,721
54,677
14,766
165,717
110,300
35,011
.   702
51,980
8,582
90,464
201,847
42,331
1,009
32,902
6,056
112.364
112,209
30,201
865
45,373
11,423
160,812
143,615
70,431
712
98,600
D.48S
40,849
83,626
48,966
985
87,130
7,108
Chums	
Pinks	
Cohoes	
70,727
111,930
43,254
Totals    	
80,508
305,728
381,163
404,793
294,597
432,366
313,894
320,168
Total
PACKED   ES
Districts in 1914
TO  1929,
INCLUSIVE.
1929.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
426,473
220,245
75,126
11,014
29,185
204,854
341,873
258,224
298,709
81,527
34,150
104,877
390,470
. 901,822
284,378
187,716
69,773
29,366
39,828
373,463
405,476
274,951
407,524
98,105
18,917
92,749
347,722
844,139*
276,855
348,859
217,900
33,998
89,008
263,904
522,756
212,059
390,858
117,445
11,'7'76
142,939
277,267
604,745
226,869
338,863
132,274
11.979
99,580
191,252
352,839
140,570
Skeena	
477,915
79,712
Smith Inlet    	
5,862
124,071
Vancouver Island...
Other Districts	
185,524
278,144
Grand totals
1,398,770
2,035,629
1,360,634
2,065,190
1,719,282
1,745,313
1,341,677
1,285,946
1921.
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
Fraser	
Skeena	
107,650
234,760
59,272
336,661
332,787
157,522
167,944
398,877
80,367
210,851
374,216
103,155
402,538
292,219
95,302
127,472
223,158
85,383
320,519
279,161
146,838
349,294
237,634
109,052
Smith Inlet	
Nass River	
51,765
69,528
80.568
81,153
84,170
395,223
97,512
267,293
381,163
143.908
389,815
404,793
119,495
325,723
294,597
126,686
104,289
94,890
Other Districts	
432,366
313,894
320,169
Grand totals
603,548
1,187,616
1,393.156
1,626,738
1,557,485
995,065
1,164,701
1,111,039
* Including 17,921 cases of sockeye packed at Smith Inlet. STATEMENT SHOWING SALMON-PACK OF THE PROVINCE.
J 65
STATEMENT SHOWING THE SOCKEYE-PACK OF THE ENTIRE FRASER
RIVER SYSTEM FROM 1914 TO 1929, INCLUSIVE.
1929.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
Fraser Hiver, B.C	
61,569
111,898
29,299
61,044
61,393
97,594
85,689
44,673
35,385
112,023
39,743
69,369
31,655
47,402
51,832
48,566
State of Washington	
173,467
90,343
158,987
130,362
147,408
109,112
79,057
100,398
1921.
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
39,631
102,967
48,399
62,654
38,854
64,346
19,697
50,723
148,164
411,538
32,146
84,637
91,130
64,584
198,183
335,230
State of Washington	
Totals	
142,598
111,053
103,200
70,420
559,702
116,783
155,714
533,413
STATEMENT SHOWING THE SOCKEYE-PACK OF THE PROVINCE,
BY DISTRICTS, 1914 TO 1929, INCLUSIVE.
1929.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
■61,569
78,017
'70,260
16,077
10,340
45,014
20,299
34,559
60,044
5,540
14,248
59,852
61,393
83,996
65,269
12,026
24,835
60,533
85,689
82,360
65,581
15,929
25,070
62,383
35,385
81,146
192,323
18,945
14,757
49,962
39,743
144,747
94,891
33,590
15,618
41,014
31,655
131,731
116,850
17,821
12,006
24,584
51,832
53,584
31,277
15,147
47,107
Totals 	
281,277
203,542
308,052
337,012
_]
392,518
369,603
334,647
1921.
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
39,631
41,018
48,615
9,364
6,936
18,350
48,399
89,064
125,742
16,740
6,987
64,473
38,854
184,945
56,258
28,259
6,452
54,677
19,697
123,322
53,401
21,816
6,243
51,980
148,164
65,760
61,195
22,188
9,639
32,902
32,146
60,923
44,936
31,411
9,223*
36,150
91,130
116,553
130,350
39,349
198,183
130,166
31,327
Other Districts	
98,660
Totals	
163,914
351,405
369,445
276,459
339,848
214,789
476,042
536,696
* Vancouver Island's pack not previously segregated.
STATEMENT SHOWING THE PILCHARD INDUSTRY OF THE PROVINCE,
1920 TO 1929, INCLUSIVE.
Year.
Total Catch.
Canned.
Used in
Reduction.
Oil.
Meal.
Bait.
Cwt.
88,050
19,737
20,342
19,492
27,485
318,973
969,058
1,368,582
1,610,252
1,753,739
Cases.
91,929
16,091
19,186
17,195
14,898
37,182
'26,731
58,501
65,097
98,797
Cwt.
Gals.
Tons.
Bbls.
9,937
1921  	
1922 	
3,125
3,625
1924                     	
1925
220,000
940,000
1,310,000
1,560,000
1,680,920
495,653
1,898,721
2,610,120
3,997,656
2,633,378
2,083
8,481
12,145
14,502
15,630
4,045
1926
1927 .
1,737
2,149
1,808
1928	
1929	 J 66
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1929.
PRODUCTION OF FISH OIL AND MEAL, 1920 TO 1929  (OTHER THAN
FROM PILCHARD).
From Whai.es.
From other Sources.
Year.
Whalebone
and Meal.
Fertilizer.
Oil.
Meal.
Oil.
1920	
Tons.
503
326
485
292
347
340
345
376
417
Tons.
1,035
230
910
926
835
666
651
754
780
Gals.
604,070
Tons.
466
489
, 911
823
1,709
2,468
1,752
1,948
3,205      .
3,772
Gals..
55,669
1921               	
44,700
1922                     ; 	
283,314
706,514
645,657
556,939
468,206
437,967
571,914
712,597
75,461
1923             	
180,318
1924	
241,376
1925	
354,853
1926..    .                                	
217,150
1927	
250,811
1928	
387,276
1929	
328,827
VICTORIA,   B.C. :
Printed by Chables F. Banfielu, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
1930.
1825-730-1132

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