Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sockeye Season

Every four years an amazing event takes place at the nearby Adams River. And if this activity involves fish and still has the ability to impress the Hammond family you know you are on to something special! This would be due to the fact that for 20 years my husband Jay was a regional fisheries biologist in our province, and let's just say that gave new meaning to the expression "fished out." While my kids can never blame me for letting them watch too much television or play too many video or computer games when they were young, they might have a legitimate complaint if they accused us of taking them to Kootenay Lake see the kokanee spawn about a dozen times too many. And there would be some truth to the accusation that fish was served up as a dinner conversation topic way more than it ever made an appearance as an entree.

This past weekend Kellen, Anita, Rebekah, Anton and I drove out to the Adams River to see the early and unexpectedly large return of sockeye salmon. Initial estimates of 10 to 15 million salmon were quickly revised over the past couple of weeks as some 35 million salmon ended up making their way up the mouth of the Fraser River to start the long journey to their spawning grounds. Rebekah wrote a story about it for the Richmond Review

This picture is just a tiny slice of what was a river filled with sockeye in their bright red spawning colors. Some were still in good shape like the ones in this photo, swimming against the current to make their way to the spot they where they would make their redd (the space at the bottom of a stream that a spawning salmon makes for its eggs; also a good word to know for Scrabble). Others were not looking so good, basically meaning if they weren't dead yet they soon would be. I thought this couple was especially poignant.

After observing the sockeye we decided to take a hike along the Adams River. It was one of those perfect fall days- the sun was warm on our backs, the air was crisp and fresh, and the scenery was spectacular.


  1. Cool! Our first fall up here we saw salmon spawning in the Walla Walla River. We'd never seen it before. I'm jealous that you've seen this.

  2. The scenery is beautiful!

    That sounds like interesting dinner conversation. We almost lost rockfish in the Chesapeake due to overfishing and neglect, but they've made a nice comeback.

    Having never seen the salmon return, I can't imagine seeing it too often. I used to catch and release just to be outside and near the water.