A spot to see spawning salmon, up close

“So many, many, many, many fish! Look! That one is jumping!”

That was my 3-year-old’s reaction to the Weaver Creek Spawning Channel in British Columbia.

My family has made several fall trips there, and I find it fascinating every time.

The channel is a shallow, meandering stream with a gravel bottom and sloping sides. It was built in 1965 in response to declining salmon numbers. Sockeye salmon, and small number of chum and pink salmon, are diverted into the channel during the fall spawning season.

Fish are allowed to spawn naturally in the channels. The water supply is carefully controlled, leading to ideal conditions for the fish and therefore, a larger number of surviving fish.

According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, “Whereas only eight sockeye fry are produced for every 100 eggs deposited in Weaver Creek, up to 80 percent of the eggs deposited in the spawning channel produce healthy fry every year.”

If you’re interested in a visit, it’s really worth it. The channel will be open until Nov. 1 this year. It will open again next year on Oct. 15. Peak spawning time is Oct. 15 to Oct. 20.

Of course, it’s a bit of a drive, about 2 and a half hours from Everett, assuming no delays at the border. If you’d like to make a weekend of it, I enjoy the Cultus Lake area, which is conveniently nearby. It would also make an easy trip from Vancouver. The surrounding areas are really beautiful with the fall colors at this time of year.

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