The Lakelse Watershed possesses very high fisheries values and is one of the premier watersheds of the Skeena drainage system. It provides diverse habitat capable of sustaining sockeye, coho, pink, chum, chinook, and steelhead populations. Earlier reports on the Lakelse watershed indicated that it supported about 35% of the total Skeena River commercial fishery catch for all species. Steelhead, coho, and cutthroat trout support major sport fisheries.
Resident species present in the system include rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden, bull trout, mountain whitefish, and the following coarse fish: prickly sculpin, largescale suckers, redside shiners, northern pike minnow, peamouth chub, and threespine stickleback. The fish community contributes to the ecology, nutrient regime and structural diversity of the drainage and provides strong cultural, economic and symbolic linkages, as well as supporting aboriginal, recreational, and commercial fisheries.
Salmon are a large part of this area’s culture and community. High fishery values are base on the outstanding spawning and rearing habitat that is present. Lakelse River is a world reknowned angler’s paradise with easy wading, many pools, and stretches of swift water.
Lakelse Watershed Stewards Society has worked very hard over the last several years to promote and encourage habitat preservation, restoration, and projects related to the Lakelse Sockeye Salmon populations which are now considered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a species of concern. Human impacts, linear development, habitat degradtation, loss of riparian areas, and other factors have contributed to a significant decline in this stock population.
Since 2005, LWSS has been a partnering stakeholder in the Lakelse Sockeye Salmon Recovery program . Other agencies on this team include: Terrace Salmonid Enhancement Society, Kitselas First Nation, Ministry of Environment, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Ministry of Forests.
Projects and Funding
Since 2005, LWSS has been involved in a number of resource based projects with funding received from groups such as the the Pacific Salmon Commission, DFO’s Public Involvement Program, and thePacific Salmon Foundation.
Projects have included:
Ground water augmentation, habitat restoration, and enhancement on Scully Creek (groundwater).
Culvert / bridge replacement on Salmon Creek.
Informational brochures on Lakelse Sockeye Salmon.
Information kiosks and notice boards at various community locations around Lakelse Lake.
Fry Outplant Project – Williams Creek Egg Takes and Fry release.
Work with various related agencies and groups continues as Lakelse Watershed Stewards Society endeavors to persevere in public education and awareness; on the ground projects which will restore or enhance fish habitat; and participate with others in studies which will preserve this highly valued aspect of Lakelse Watershed.