August is Salmon Season on Vancouver’s North Shore!
At this time of year salmon are returning to their “source” rivers all over British Columbia to spawn. The salmon make the return trip to their home waters as part of nature’s way of ensuring the cycle of life continues for specific types of salmon that originate in a particular region.
On the North Shore, the Capilano Fish Hatchery is where thousands upon thousands of fish are hatched every year. This facility includes a free public educational display where people can learn about the salmon life cycle and view them through thick glass as they climb the salmon ladders.
The salmon eggs are nurtured at the Hatchery and grow into larvae in large freshwater ponds. When the larvae have grown and are able to feed themselves they are known as fry. Later when they develop scales and fins they become known as fingerlings – typically the size of fingers.
Once fully mature, the fingerlings are released into the river and streams – many released by local North Shore volunteers known as The Streamkeepers. At this stage of their life cycle the juvenile salmon head out to sea where they will, hopefully, thrive over a four-year period before they return to spawn.
August and September are prime months for the salmon to return to the Capilano River. It’s because of the large number of fish that originate at the Capilano Fish Hatchery each year that you’ll find sport fisherman lining the banks of the Capilano River daily, in hopes of catching the big one.
Historically salmon have always been integral to the lives of the Coast Salish First Nations peoples, including the Tsleil Waututh and Squamish First Nations who reside on the North Shore. As the North Shore has developed and matured over that past 100 plus years, residents of the community from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay have come to embrace salmon as an important part of the North Shore culture and lifestyle.
Salmon can be experienced in a number of ways on the North Shore, including the many displays of public art from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay.
In terms of the commercial importance of salmon, many businesses exist and thrive due in whole or in part to the salmon fishery. For example, sport fishing charters that take visitors out to sea are available from Sewell’s Marina over many months of the year. Also, the annual Mosquito Creek Marina “Labour Day Chinook Classic” Fishing Derby is always a hugely popular event with fishers of all ages.
When you are on the North Shore you just might spot a graphic image of a salmon painted beside a manhole cover along one of the local streets. This indicates that below the cover is a stream or waterway used by the salmon. This also tells you that salmon are recognized and cared for as an important part of our natural environment even when hidden from view.
Every year, on the second Sunday of September the annual Coho Festival takes place in West Vancouver at Ambleside Park. It’s a free event that features a salmon BBQ, salmon art, exhibits by naturalists, games for the kids, a beer garden, and all manner of things relating to the celebrated salmon. It’s always a great family event, attracting people of all ages.
Of course, salmon are also found year-round on many local restaurant menus, served up in a variety of delicious dishes. Plus local fresh fish markets always have salmon on hand as it is not only a local staple, it’s known to be a very healthy food source. Clearly, salmon goes hand in hand with the active healthy lifestyle that we like to think we all enjoy on the North Shore.
There’s a lot to see and experience during Salmon Season – and year-round on the North Shore.
Come stay and explore Vancouver’s North Shore…where nature…and salmon live!