This past weekend we had another fall outing as a family, this time to the local fish hatchery. In British Columbia there are numerous hatcheries and most are open year-round. Fisheries and Oceans Canadahave a good page listing all hatcheries. Right now is the time of year to see spawning salmon. The season runs from late Summer through late Fall, with different types of salmon running at different times. We did the self guided tour which includes a look at the open tanks from above as well as an underwater viewing area, our family’s favourite part. Right now the salmon you find at our hatchery are Chinook and Steelhead. The Chinook can be massive fish, ranging in size from 18 to 50+ lbs. In our part of the world we label larger Chinook, over 30lbs, as Tyee, which loosely translates to; chief, king or big boss. I can see why they would be given this name as we saw some pretty impressive Tyee. Our hatchery does do guided tours but you need a group and to call ahead to book a time.
We learned something new this time, that we can come back to see the salmon fry April 1 to June 1. Annika was expecting to see baby fish this time but when we reviewed the life cycle and the spawning process with her and I think she understood. Next Spring we will be coming back to see the salmon fry.
I have always loved this activity, as a kid we would go the Goldstream Provincial Parkin Victoria to see the salmon run every year, which is a wonderful sight. It is nice to see them in their natural environment like they have been doing for thousands of years, instead of in tanks, but they both have there advantages. The up close look for the kids was really special.