Sheridan Lake spawning channel celebrates 30 years

Remi Currie reaches for the water as he attempts to touch some rainbow trout in Sheridan Lake’s spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Remi Currie reaches for the water as he attempts to touch some rainbow trout in Sheridan Lake’s spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Zak Van Laer watches at the mouth of the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel for rainbow trout to come leaping up the fish ladder. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Zak Van Laer watches at the mouth of the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel for rainbow trout to come leaping up the fish ladder. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout throws itself up a fish ladder near Sheridan Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout throws itself up a fish ladder near Sheridan Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Gil Vidler was one of the founding members of the Friends of Sheridan Lake Society and allowed the lake’s spawning channel to be built on his property 30 years ago. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Gil Vidler was one of the founding members of the Friends of Sheridan Lake Society and allowed the lake’s spawning channel to be built on his property 30 years ago. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Lynn Gerwing, the current president of the Friends of Sheridan lake Society, said she was thrilled by how many people came out to the 30th celebration of the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Lynn Gerwing, the current president of the Friends of Sheridan lake Society, said she was thrilled by how many people came out to the 30th celebration of the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Lynn Gerwing, the current president of the Friends of Sheridan lake Society, said she was thrilled by how many people came out to the 30th celebration of the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Lynn Gerwing, the current president of the Friends of Sheridan lake Society, said she was thrilled by how many people came out to the 30th celebration of the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Members of the Friends of Sheridan Lake Society grill hot dogs on Sunday. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Members of the Friends of Sheridan Lake Society grill hot dogs on Sunday. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout spawns in Sheridan Lake’s manmade spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Chloe and Cole Matthews look for fish in the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Chloe and Cole Matthews look for fish in the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Remi Currie watches the surface of the water for some rainbow trout in Sheridan Lake’s spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Remi Currie watches the surface of the water for some rainbow trout in Sheridan Lake’s spawning channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Gil Vidler was one of the founding members of the Friends of Sheridan Lake Society and allowed the lake’s spawning channel to be built on his property 30 years ago. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Gil Vidler was one of the founding members of the Friends of Sheridan Lake Society and allowed the lake’s spawning channel to be built on his property 30 years ago. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout throws itself up a fish ladder near Sheridan Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout throws itself up a fish ladder near Sheridan Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout throws itself up a fish ladder near Sheridan Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout throws itself up a fish ladder near Sheridan Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A rainbow trout throws itself up a fish ladder in the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A rainbow trout throws itself up a fish ladder in the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Zak Van Laer watches at the mouth of the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel for rainbow trout to come leaping up the fish ladder. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Zak Van Laer watches at the mouth of the Sheridan Lake Spawning Channel for rainbow trout to come leaping up the fish ladder. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

For 30 years, rainbow trout at Sheridan Lake have had a helping hand in their efforts to spawn, thanks to a man-made spawning channel.

Last Sunday, dozens of people turned out to celebrate those efforts, with a 30th-anniversary party at the channel. The event included guest speaker, Mike Ramsay of the B.C. ministry of forests, lands and natural resources, as well as members of the Friends of Sheridan Lake Society, which built the channel in 1991.

“We’re celebrating 30 years of hard work. We’re a non-profit organization that’s run strictly by donation and it takes a village to make it run,” said Lynn Gerwing, president of the Friends of Sheridan Lake.

The channel was the brainchild of Gil Vidler, former owner of the Sheridan Park Resort, who was concerned there was no natural stream or spawning grounds for the trout, many of which were unable to lay their eggs and died. With the help of the community and an $11,000 grant from the Habitat Conservation Fund, the group built a trial spawning channel on the grounds of Sheridan Lake Resort.

They initially built a straight fish run using wooden boards but the fish weren’t comfortable and tried to jump out, leaving hundreds of fish dead on the lawn, Vidler said. The society realized they would have to build a natural-looking run and moved construction to the grounds of the Sheridan Park Resort instead.

“We brought in an excavator and had him dig out this meandering stream here,” Vidler said. “We had eight dump truck loads of granite brought in from the Lone Butte quarry and we placed all the rocks in the channel by hand. Then we put in some gravel because the fish need gravel to make a nest and lay their eggs in.”

To run water through the man-made stream, Vidler said they installed a 10-horsepower electric pump attached to an intake in the lake that sucked water into a septic tank. The water is pumped underground all the way to the head of the spawning channel which runs into the lake.

The first year they turned it on was a great success, he said. The community has since visited the Sheridan Lake spawning channel every spring to watch the trout spawn. The lake is stocked regularly by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., which last year added 125,000 trout in the spring and 225,050 in the fall.

Gerwing said the spawning channel runs for about four to six weeks before the temperature rises above 18C and the water has to be shut down because it’s too warm. They then collect the fry using ice cream pails and nets.

Zak Van Laer, 12, said he is a frequent visitor to the channel.

“I think the spawning channel is brilliant because it gives an opportunity to us and the fish. We get to see what the fish are doing and they get to do what they need to do,” Zak said. “It’s insanely cool and remarkable that they can jump up these rapids.”



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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