Volunteers need to spot fish

Volunteers are needed to help document the spawning of native Peamouth Minnows in Bellevue.

A one-hour workshop to teach observers what they need to know will be held from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 14 at Bellevue City Hall. Those interested should register with the Stream Team at streamteam@bellevuewa.gov or 425.452.5200.

Peamouth are easy to spot during spawning Volunteers visit the stream for 15 minutes twice a week for about two months to document spawning events and record other wildlife observed. All Peamouth Patrol Volunteers receive a phone call as soon as the fish are spotted to make sure everyone gets a chance to see them when they arrive.

Most people would imagine a minnow to be small, but peamouth are often up to a foot long. They live in Lake Washington year round, but spawn along the shoreline and in local streams in the spring.

The spawning events occur a couple times each spring when the fish show up by the thousands. The whole event sometimes lasts only 24 hours so volunteers are needed to make sure the event isn't missed.

Not much is known about peamouth minnows. While they may only be in streams briefly, they are here in huge numbers. City officials are trying to get a better understanding of their role in Kelsey Creek.

Their eggs hatch in just a week providing an abundance of prey for wildlife and other fish. The arrival of peamouth brings out different ducks, blue heron, bald eagle, and even river otter.

Officials say peamouth can help monitor for possible stream blockages. Peamouth are terrible at jumping barriers so finding out how far upstream they go is valuable information.