Fishing with Rod
By far the most intriguing fish story of the marina and the eastern portion of Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm is the sighting of numerous schools of small silver fish. Residents along Alderside report tens of seals and many gulls all feeding on small silver fish at the surface. Cabin owners in Indian Arm are reporting high numbers of schooling silver fish. In Reed Point Marina the staff has pointed out large schools of small, silver fish swimming along with their large mouths open and silver gill covers flashing. But what are all these small schooling silver fish in the area?
We know that herring are beginning to spawn in higher numbers in Indian Arm, False Creek and Howe Sound, but these fish we are seeing do not look, nor act, exactly like herring. For one thing we do not see the large herring scales in the water often spotted when predators are chasing and eating herring. Herring tend to migrate out of the spawning area as they grow up. These fish are now residing in the eastern portion of Burrard Inlet.
The Mossom Creek (Salmon) Hatchery has a salmon sea pen anchored just off Ioco. While a Department of Fisheries technician was working on the sea pen this spring he noticed some small silver fish. Being with fisheries, he had a small dip net. He scooped one up. Take a look at the picture. (incl. at end of mail) Almost all experts agreed that this is a Pacific Sardine. We all know sardines, from the canned variety. But to make the story more complicated in British Columbia we do not call them sardines, we call a Pacific Sardine a Pilchard.
From the 1920's to the 1940's Pilchards were abundant and we fished them heavily on the coast. Perhaps too heavily and they disappeared. But from the 70's onward they have been making a comeback and we have limited fishing of them. This is really exciting to have Pilchards appearing in Port Moody. It may be the first time that they have been reported in Port Moody.
Now there are also other silver fish in Port Moody waters, some with the flashing gills. From their looks, they are almost certainly to be Northern Anchovies! Right here in the marina. With their sub-terminal, shark-like mouth they are easy to identify. If you happen to catch or photograph one, I will offer a small reward for any boater capturing or photographing any of these silvery specimens for a definitive identification.
What do all these schools of silver fish mean? We are not sure, but we do know that Reed Point Marina provides all sorts of horizontal habit for fish development, feeding and safe salmonid migration out of the harbour. The diving birds, such as cormorants and mammal predators, like the harbour seals, tend to stay out of the marina. The presence and abundance of the small silver "food fish' as we call them (for they are eaten in large numbers by all larger fish, especially salmon) herald improving conditions for the salmon and cod to thrive. Keeping our marina clean also goes a long way to supporting the comeback of food fish and salmon in the Salish Sea.
Reed Point Marine Education Centre