9 places to watch the salmon run around Vancouver

Oct 4 2017, 12:36 am

The great spectacle of the salmon run, when red hued salmon swim upstream to spawn in their birthplace in BC rivers, is upon us.

Of course, bears and eagles seem to know where to find the jumping salmon, but it can be difficult for us humans to track them down.

So to help you catch a glimpse of this epic annual event before it ends in winter, we’ve made a list of salmon spotting locations around Vancouver.

Happy salmon running!

Capilano River Hatchery – North Vancouver

What: The Capilano River Hatchery was built to boost salmon stocks affected by the Cleveland Dam. Today, it is handy spot to see chinook and coho salmon heading upstream. Plus they have an interpretive centre where you can learn more about the salmon life cycle.

When: Coho and chinook salmon can be seen until November

Time: 8 am to 6 pm in October, 8 am to 4 pm in November

Where: 4500 Capilano Park Road – North Vancouver

Contact: [email protected]

Bell Irving Hatchery at Kanaka Creek – Maple Ridge

What: Bell Irving Hatchery, in Kanaka Creek Regional Park,  is a good spot for seeing chum and coho spawners at the counting fence, and the centre offers free tours every weekend. It also holds special events to celebrate the salmon spawning in October each year.

When: Until December.

Time: Weekends from 1 pm to 3 pm

Where: 11450-256 Street, Maple Ridge

Contact: [email protected] or regionalparks.info[email protected]

Hoy Creek Fish Hatchery – Coquitlam

Salmon jumping upstream in Coquitlam (Hoy Creek Fish Hatchery)

Salmon jumping upstream in Coquitlam (Hoy Creek Fish Hatchery)

What: Hoy Creek Fish Hatchery in Hoy Creek Linear Park is part of a salmon enhancement program to boost the local coho and chum population. Volunteers are often around to help and the centre holds special celebrations to mark the return of the salmon in October.

When: Chum can be seen early to mid-October to early November, coho can be seen late October to late December

Time: Saturdays from 9 am to 11am. Open house on the first Saturday of every month from noon to 1:30pm

Where: At the end of Princess Crescent, Coquitlam

Contact: [email protected]

Mamquam Spawning Channel – Squamish

What: Salmon spawn, bears roam, and eagles soar at the Mamquam Spawning Channel near Squamish, which is reached off an easy, peaceful trail. A cement viewing platform gives you a handy spot to see the salmon and there is signage explaining the salmon lifecycle.

When: Coho and steelhead can be seen in the fall; bears and eagles flock here in winter to eat the salmon after spawning.

Time: Open to the public at all times.

Where: The trailhead is on Mamquam Road, off the west side of Government Road just past the road bridge over the Mamquam River in Squamish

Contact: [email protected]

Tenderfoot Creek Hatchery – Brackendale

What: The Tenderfoot Creek Hatchery uses rafts and gillnets to capture coho and chinook salmon, which is a technique unique to this hatchery. Focused on boosting coho, pink, chum and chinook salmon stocks, it releases more than 3.3 million maturing salmon each year.

When: Coho salmon can be seen until November.

Time: 8 am to 3 pm daily

Where: 1000 Midnight Way, Brackendale

Contact: [email protected]

Tynehead Hatchery – North Surrey

What: In Tynehead Regional Park, near the headwaters of the Serpentine River, this volunteer-run hatchery releases 250,000 salmon back into the river each year. Their centre holds the incubation and hatching tanks, and visitors are encouraged to tour the hatchery.

When: Coho, chum, chinook and steelhead can be seen until December.

Time: Contact for opening hours

Where: 16585 – 96th Avenue, North Surrey

Contact: [email protected]

Seymour River Hatchery – North Vancouver

What: The Seymour River Hatchery, just below the Seymour Falls Dam, catch spawning coho, steelhead, pinks, and chum salmon. Conservationists then return the salmon offspring to the river to boost numbers on the North Shore.

When: Throughout fall

Time: Contact for opening hours

Where: Drive up Lillooet Road past Capilano University until you get to the parking lot at the top of Lillooet Road and then either bike, walk or run a 12km trail to the hatchery.

Contact: 604-288-0511 or [email protected]

Terminal Creek Fishway and Hatchery – Bowen Island

What: This hatchery in Crippen Regional Park on Bowen Island is completely run by volunteers, and while they don’t have regular opening hours, volunteers are happy to give you a free tour if you turn up.

When:  Coho, chum and chinook in November and December

Time: No regular opening hours, but tours can be arranged

Where: Crippen Regional Park – 430 Bowen Island Trunk Rd #2

Contact: [email protected] or [email protected]

Little Campbell Hatchery – Surrey

What: The Little Campbell Hatchery features a steel fish fence, which funnels all spawning salmon into a trap where volunteers count them before releasing them to spawn up river. More than 3,500 spawning salmon are counted at the fence annually.

When: Coho, steelhead, cutthroat, chinook can be seen between October and January

Time: Contact for opening hours

Where: 1284 – 184th Street, Surrey

Contact: [email protected]

Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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