Kokanee Creek is thickening with gorgeous surface and anchor ice as temperatures plummet and remain below freezing this week. Yet, dippers seem undeterred. Dippers appeared to delight in the variety of expanding new ice perches.
This dipper dove off of a sheet of surface ice, and resurfaced with several Kokanee eggs.
This dipper waded and dove off ice in the upper regions of the spawning channel and emerged with what I first thought was a worm, until I saw the eyeball and then assumed it was a fry. Turned out to be an alevin. During the winter, fertilized eggs develop in spawning channel gravel, eventually hatching into tiny alevins. Alevins are still larvae and cannot feed themselves. The alevin’s orange yolk sack provides all their nutrients. It doesn’t become a fry until it’s developed enough to be able to feed itself.
So, as we slide into 2022, I am left wondering: are the fertilized eggs or the alevin the dipper’s cavier?