China Poot Creek, Kachemak Bay

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China Poot Creek, Kachemak Bay

by | Jul 27, 2020

China Poot Creek is located on the southeastern shore of Kachemak Bay, on the Kenai Peninsula, about 19 miles (31 km) northeast of Seldovia and 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Homer, Alaska. A historical Dena’ina village was located here called Tsayehq’at, meaning “place below rock”. Local lore ascribes the current name to Henry “China” Poot who fished and trapped here. The name was first reported in 1911 by G.C. Martin of the U.S. Geological Survey.

China Poot Lake, also called Leisure Lake, is at an elevation of 176 feet (51 m) and discharges into China Poot Creek which flows for 0.9 miles (1.5 km) into China Poot Bay. The lake is oligotrophic, characterized by low phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations and low chlorophyll-a. The lake has no natural sockeye salmon population due to an impassable waterfall located approximately 326 feet (100 m) from the creek mouth at China Poot Bay.

Since 1980, the lake has been stocked with about 2 million salmon fry per year by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to enhance commercial and sport fisheries. In 1985, nutrient fertilization of the lake was begun to stimulate algae growth that would increase zooplankton abundance to bolster fry growth and survival. In 1993, this operation was assumed by the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. Salmon fry rear in the lake for one to two years before migrating to saltwater as smolt. In the marine environment, they grow rapidly, returning to the creek in two or three years as 4-6 pound (1.8-2.7 kg) adults. Adult returns are managed as a terminal fishery, aggregating in China Poot Bay and at the base of the waterfall. Most are caught by sport, personal use (dip net), and commercial fishermen. Read more here and here. Explore more of China Poot Creek here:

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