September 24, 2015 - 9:00 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Ever wonder where the best place is to watch the annual salmon run? Or when the best time is to see the most salmon?
The annual salmon run is upon us and while there are many rivers and streams you may get to see the fish in, there are a few areas which cater to salmon watchers.
Some salmon will travel thousands of kilometres in a typical four-year lifetime and by that last year will return to where they were born to reproduce.
Adult salmon will swim upstream to the same area where they were hatched and once at the spawning grounds the female fish will dig a shallow nest for her eggs. She will release anywhere from two to 10 thousand eggs and then the male salmon will release milt, which contains millions of sperm.
The pair will continue the process as they move upstream until they run out of energy, usually within a day or two.
The fertilized eggs will hatch in three to four months and then will eventually make their way downstream to the ocean.
WHEN TO SEE THE SALMON
Salmon spawning runs in a four year cycle, with dominant years in 2014, 2018 and 2022. In those years it is possible to see more than a million fish return to spawn. Sub-dominant years, like 2015, you may still see more than 100,000 return to spawn.
In post-dominant years, like 2016, the number can be in the hundreds while pre-dominant years, 2017 for example, may see more than 10,000 salmon return to spawn.
At the Adams River, pink salmon only return in September of odd years while chinook spawn through September and October. Sockeye return during the first few weeks of October and then coho return in late October and early November.
WHERE TO WATCH THE SALMON
The Adams River is well known for the salmon run that comes through the area. The Adams River Salmon Society runs an internationally recognized interpretive centre and dominant year celebrations. Located along the Adams River in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park in the North Shuswap region, the area offers a paved wheelchair accessible walkway, platform lookouts and trails along the river.
The society operates an interpretive centre which is open Friday through Tuesday during September and October. Souvenirs, local art and area information are available, as well as information about the salmon.
In the Central Okanagan you can get a glimpse of the salmon at Hardy Falls Regional Park in Peachland or the spawning channel at Mission Creek Park in Kelowna. A parks interpreter is on hand during the first part of September at Hardy Falls and through the beginning of October at Mission Creek.
In the North Okanagan two popular places to see salmon are the Shuswap River in Enderby and Coldstream Creek in Vernon.
In Penticton the fish can often be seen heading up the Okanagan River Channel towards their spawning grounds.
HOW TO WATCH THE SALMON
The Adams River Salmon Society recommends approaching river banks slowly and quietly. Don’t throw anything in the river, including rocks or sticks, and keep dogs on leash and out of the water. Do not walk in the water either, it can disturb spawning grounds.
Polarizing lens on sunglasses will help cut down on the glare from the water and try to find viewing sites from higher up, such as from bridges or tops of banks, to increase visibility.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015