by Eric Ettlinger
Ready . . . set . . . wait! That’s been the spawner season so far in Lagunitas Creek in west Marin. The creek has been quiet since heavy rains in October got the coho and Chinook salmon spawning runs off to an early start. Less than an inch of rain has fallen since my last update nearly a month ago, and in that time only six coho salmon have been observed. Five of those fish were recently seen in the same pool where four coho were seen in late October, so these may not even be new individuals. A lone female coho with a worn tail (a clear sign of having excavated a redd, or gravel nest) was seen this week near a tiny redd in an upstream section of Lagunitas Creek. A second redd was seen lower in the creek, and resembled the redds presumably built by Chinook salmon in October. Increased water releases by MMWD in mid-November and again over the last few days haven’t done much to encourage more salmon to migrate upstream.
The salmon appear to be waiting for more rain before they restart their spawning runs, and it looks like rain will finally return late next week. Tentative forecasts are predicting four inches of rain from Wednesday through Saturday. Hopefully I’ll have more salmon sightings to report in another couple of weeks.