BC Hydro is once again warning people to stay away from the banks of Courtenay’s Puntledge River.

Flows are being lowered for salmon migration today and tomorrow, before BC Hydro issues the next advisory to stay away from the river, starting Thursday through to next Monday. 

The latest public safety notice comes after BC Hydro issued one from Oct. 14th to 18th.

Spokesperson Stephen Watson says more wet weather is forecasted “and we need to continue to manage the Comox Lake Reservoir level.”

“The storm event (last) Friday to Sunday was close to what was forecasted,” he added. 

“The daily average water inflows into the Comox Lake Reservoir on Saturday was 126 cubic metres per second (m3/s). With a reprieve of nice weather yesterday and today, more storms are forecast starting tomorrow and into the weekend. The forecasted daily average may peak just below 100 m3/s (cubic metres per second) on Friday and Saturday.”

October to date precipitation is about 115 percent of normal. About 100 mm of precipitation may fall in the upper watershed from Wednesday to Saturday.

BC Hydro has been releasing about 65 cubic metres per second from the Comox Dam since Thursday last week, but dropped the flow to about 21 cubic metres today through Wednesday to provide better salmon migration and spawning conditions. 

“Given the storm activity to come, the lower river flows through Wednesday would be conducive for Chum salmon anglers to access the lower Puntledge River,” Watson explained.

The Chum salmon fishery generally runs from Oct. 1st to Nov. 15th.

Beginning Wednesday night, the discharge from the Comox Dam will be increased to about 90 cubic metres per second and BC Hydro may hold it at that amount through Monday. 

There will be a final weekly fish migration and spawning flow of 21 cubic metres per second next Tuesday and Wednesday depending on inflow conditions. 

“This may provide another opportunity for salmon anglers,” Watson said.

He added that the Comox Lake Reservoir lowered by about 40 cm last week with the higher water release in advance of the storm activity, and then through the storm and now with the reduced flows for salmon migration, the level increased by 60 cm to the current level of 134 metres above sea level. 

“It may hover around this level through early next week,” he continued.

BC Hydro will be adjusting the temporary river safety signage as needed.

“The high ocean tides are at the low end of the cycle this weekend, which is positive,” Watson said.

“The Puntledge River powerhouse is still tracking to be back in service on Nov. 4th. We may provide another operational update on Tuesday as the next week looks wet though with cooling temperatures.”