Salmon are returning to the streams on the North Shore — some of them, like pinks, in record numbers this year.
Brothers Creek in West Vancouver is seeing the biggest return of pink salmon in recent memory, thanks to efforts to restock the stream four years ago.
West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society president John Barker has been surveying the creek and its tributaries looking for returns of 60,000 fry released in 2009 by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, The Seymour Salmonid Society hatchery and Streamkeepers.
“We’ve got it in spades. We’ve got more pinks than we had back in 2009. They’re going farther up the system, which is amazing — above the Upper Levels Highway, heading to the Capilano golf course. We think that’s good news. It’s just staggering,” he said.
At the Seymour River Fish Hatchery in North Vancouver, Mark Sinclair, spokesman for the hatchery, said that it’s still too early to tell if the numbers will be record breaking.
“It’s hard to say. It seems pretty good, but we don’t know right now. We’re having really good returns (on) the local stock of pinks,” said Sinclair. “They normally come into the river, but normally they can’t make it through our canyon on the river. This year we’ve seen close to a 1,000 above the canyon so we think it’s probably due to perfect flows and maybe just a good number of fish.”
Sinclair said the runs also look pretty good so far for both the coho and steelhead salmon and the recent bouts of rainy weather has also been helping.
To celebrate the return of the salmon, the Seymour hatchery is having an open house this weekend for the first time in a decade.
The event, hosted by the Seymour Salmonid Society, runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 29 in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, and includes a hatchery tour, barbecue and activities for kids.
Ed Walls, volunteer co-ordinator for the society said the hatchery used to run open houses much more frequently, but has been unable to with the construction surrounding the upgrades to the Seymour Falls Dam. “This will be the first one we’ve done for 10 years,” he said.
The hatchery started in 1977 and was taken over by the society in 1987. It raises thousands of steelheads, coho and chum salmon annually, and more than a million pink salmon every second year.
The society is looking for volunteers and those interested can find out more at the open house.
The event is free, but visitors are encouraged to bring cash for the barbecue. For more information, visit www.seymoursalmon.com/openhouse
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