Annual salmon run spawns heavy traffic at Goldstream Provincial Park
Published Monday, October 29, 2018 12:41PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, October 29, 2018 6:34PM PDT
"There, there!" A mother and her toddler point excitedly at a large salmon, splashing its way upstream.
It is a dramatic struggle, a fight to gain ground against the current with flips and turns that looks almost violent at times.
The annual salmon run at Goldstream Provincial Park is an amazing nature show, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.
Over the weekend, the parking lot was packed, with cars jockeying for position as photographers and families tried to get a spot.
“It’s an annual visit and we have a baby girl and want her to experience the cycle of life,” explained one dad.
Another parent said they want their children to understand where food comes from, but for most of the kids it is pure entertainment.
“They’re going fast,” observed Alexander.
“It’s super, super, super cool. I like it when they come really up close and then you can see their whole body,” said a little girl in pink.
The spawning fish typically appear in Goldstream in mid-October and can be seen there for about two months.
Three of five kinds of Pacific salmon spawn in the stream. Chum are by far the most plentiful, but visitors may also see Coho or chinook.
Thousands of salmon return to Goldstream every year, attracting thousands of visitors from near and far.
Maren recently came to the West Coast from Germany, it was her first time seeing the phenomenon.
“It’s amazing that an animal goes through so much trouble to reach the top of a river, yeah, I’ve never seen that before, it’s amazing,” she said.
Her friend, Amber Urbshas from Toronto had a similar experience.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, the salmon were huge and the power they put into swimming upstream was just amazing,” said Urbshas.
They liked the whole thing so much they settled in on lawn chairs for more than seven hours.
“We came for the salmon run and we stayed for the eagles and the fire pit,”
Bald eagles swooping from the trees created a nice side show, as did the occasional deer wandering into view.
Although there were plenty of signs warning of bears, none were to be seen.
But of course the salmon remained the main draw.
“Half of the time it looks like they have their bellies scraping the gravel on the bottom, it was really cool,” said Ubshas.
They may be digging or defending their nests, known as redds. The female salmon dig a trench for their eggs. The male nearby isn’t just hanging around, he is actually standing guard to make sure no rivals approach the redd. Occasionally, there is such a thing as a fish fight.
After all the hard work, her roe safely in the red, the female dies.
The eggs hatch in March, and the whole cycle starts all over again.