Engagement Manager, Roxanna Kooistra
This year we hosted our second annual Salmon Spawn Watch! This virtual contest allowed Watershed Watch supporters from around the province to submit photos and videos of salmon spawning in their local streams and rivers. It was fascinating to see entries from across the province. Coming from the Fraser Valley myself, it is hard to imagine the incredible abundance we saw in images from the Skeena and Babine! Sockeye were so plentiful, it appeared you could walk across the river on their backs. Our fisheries advisor Greg Taylor, works closely with the Lake Babine Nation, supporting the rebuilding of their wild salmon stocks and their sustainable fishery, which was the biggest commercial sockeye fishery in B.C. this year.
From the Fraser Valley, areas all along the coast, and across Vancouver Island the first images came through showing scarcity. After many months of little rainfall, rivers were the size of creeks, and smaller waterways dried up completely. On a personal visit to the Weaver Creek Spawning Channels, the normally 5 metre-wide channel had dropped down to 1 metre across. Salmon were piled up on top of each other, fighting for a space to breathe in the shallow water.
When the October rains finally came, we were thrilled to see the coho emerge from the deeper water and we celebrated as they filled their home creeks once again! Goldstream reported their chum and coho runs were 2 weeks late but on target for size. What a difference to celebrate this year’s fall rains, after the heartache following the 2021 rainy season. For a detailed update on how the various salmon runs fared this year, check out our fisheries expert Greg Taylor’s 2022 season recap.
We had entries from game cams of bears feasting on the abundance and so many incredible underwater videos of salmon in rivers, lakes and the ocean! The images provide important storytelling content for social media posts and create a picture of salmon health across the province. For a second year running, REO Rafting and Yoga Resort provided our grand prize worth over $1000.
Here are a few of our favourite photo entries from this year. Check back in our social channels for some of the incredible videos we received!