January 17, 2018
Guest post by Ryan Dickie In BC’s Peace region, winter has long been regarded as a time when work comes before play. But amidst the…
By Carla Mont September 20, 2016 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
It’s spawning season in British Columbia. Head to the province’s mighty rivers and streams, camera in hand, to witness one of Mother Nature’s greatest spectacles.
Ancient trees, waterfalls, and leafy trails make Goldstream a glorious park at any time of year, but in autumn it’s the salmon run that draws the faithful. Here, 30 minutes from Victoria’s city centre, adventurers and naturalists come together to rejoice in an annual spectacle. Where to perch? Riverside trails and observation platforms provide bird’s-eye views of the chum, coho, and chinook salmon fighting their way upstream, and of the bald eagles that swoop down to feast on them.
Best time to visit: October and early November
How to get there: Goldstream Provincial Park is 40 minutes northwest of downtown Victoria, on the Trans Canada Hwy (Hwy #1).
Stamp River Provincial Park is a landscape of lush forest and river rapids—a peaceful oasis that rewards an afternoon on the trails with waterfall vistas. Beginning in late summer, there’s even more visual splendour, as thousands of Pacific salmon circle the pool below Stamp Falls before climbing fish ladders en route to spawning beds. What’s a fish ladder? Low man-made steps that help the salmon maneuver natural barriers (like waterfalls), enabling them to “leap” through the air while battling upstream. It’s splashy action that draws crowds—and bears.
Best time to visit: Late August to view sockeye; coho, and chinook viewing right into December
Five species of salmon make their presence known in Campbell River, giving credence to the community’s “Salmon Capital of the World” designation. Campbell River has long lured sportfishers to Vancouver Island’s east coast, but naturalists are equally compelled to seek out the pink, coho, chinook, chum, and sockeye that vie for attention, come fall. There are options aplenty for viewing, but should you wish for a more in-depth look into the life cycle of the mighty salmon, head to the Quinsam River Hatchery, west of the city. It’s just one of the local hatcheries working to ensure a healthy, robust fish population.
Best time to visit: At Quinsam Hatchery, see pink salmon in September, chinook in October and November, and coho from October through December
North Vancouver’s Capilano River Hatchery draws more than 200,000 visitors a year. The hatchery was built to reinvigorate the dwindling salmon stocks vital to the Capilano River, and to the Squamish First Nation, who embrace the salmon for sustenance, social, and ceremonial purposes. Capilano River Hatchery has a record of success in coho and steelhead rejuvenation, and provides insight into the species and its place in nature’s circle of life.
Best time to visit: Salmon species in the fish ladder varies throughout the year, but Mid-May to January you may see steelhead, coho, chinook, chum, or pink; February through May is primarily steelhead
How to get there: The hatchery is in North Vancouver, approximately five minutes past the Capliano Suspension Bridge, and left on Capilano Park Road.
The Adams River is home to one of the largest sockeye runs in North America—a fact that draws nature lovers to Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park each October. It’s an awesome sight: the river teems with red-and-silver salmon as they make their final journey upstream. While 2016 is not a dominant year (a peak reached every four years; the next apex will be 2018), spectators are sure to thrill at the natural wonder, thanks to viewing platforms on site. Tip: Plan to join the Salute to the Sockeye in 2018. The festival is orchestrated by The Adams River Salmon Society and celebrates the sockeye during each dominant year.
Best time to visit: October
How to get there: The park straddles the Adams River, between Adams Lake and Shuswap Lake. The entrance to Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park is five kilometres (three miles) from Squilax on the Squilax-Anglemont Highway.
Featured image: @ginabegin via Instagram
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