A trip to the Chehalis Estuary camera site

Chehalis River + Eagle PointJust after noon today Tom Cadieux (Dept. of Fisheries) took David and me in his boat to look at where we could put the cameras to watch the eagles by the Chehalis.

The day started out with blue sky and better than average temperatures. I left Pitt Meadows at 11AM to meet them for lunch at the Sasquatch Inn, situated where Morris Valley Rd. meets the Lougheed Highway near Harrison Bay. The Chehalis hatchery is about 7km up Morris Valley Rd., and where we launched the boat is about 5km farther East, off Lougheed, at Harrison Mills where the Kilby historic farm and store are (great place to visit!).

Tom's boat is an inboard with a water-jet instead of an exposed prop; looked to be about 19 foot, maybe a bit larger.

We launched into the Harrison river at the same place where I took pictures of the release of an eagle in 2005 during the Fraser Valley Eagle Festival (this year November 17/18 )

From there we went upstream just past the bridge North of Harrison Mills and into the area where the Chehalis delta should have been dry land. I say "should have been" because both David and Tom remarked that we should have been walking where we were floating at this time of the year.

Tom's depth-finder showed 4 feet of water as we left the main channel. From there we slowly advanced with yours truly peering over the bow for logs and rocks over what I've since measured on the Google map as about 2km of water from that point to where we grounded in about 1 foot of water near the mouth of the Chehalis - near where we'll likely put the cameras.

The unfortunate thing is that we didn't have a copy of the Google photo, so were left trying to find the channel by simply looking where the current was coming from.

At the point where we ended up, we watched a couple of dozen eagles and myriads of gulls on the beach and perched on the various dead-heads around the area. To that point we had seen quite a number of dead salmon carcasses on the bottom and a few still floating in the current - some of them "huge".

David decided where he wanted the cameras and it seems that we may have help from a helicopter in getting the equipment into the area - at least I sure hope so as I don't relish humping the stuff from a boat through the water Smile

I expect that we'll get them in some time next week - don't know exactly when.

From the Chehalis estuary, we got back into the main Harrison channel and went upstream toward Harrison Lake. Along the way we saw lots of people fishing from the shores as well as a tour boat with dozens of people on board. We were looking for a spot to possibly put another underwater camera - this time to watch for sturgeon; the giants of the Fraser watershed. Tom has seen them near a rock wall about 3km up the Harrison - and wonder of wonders - there is what appears to be a small pump station nearby where we may be able to get some power - and the Eagle Point spot where we'll have our wireless base station is well within sending distance if I can put a link about 100' up the slope. Here's hoping!

The weather started to turn to the typical rain of this time of year and we headed back to Harrison Mills where Tom was going to do some work on his trailer before pulling the boat out of the water again. I hopped on the Honda and left - and ended up stopping even before I got to the Lougheed Highway to put my rain-gear on - and was back in Pitt Meadows shortly after 3PM.

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