THE ULTIMATE OKANAGAN
Last Sunday September 22, 2019 Mission Creek Park has a Kikinee Salmon festival. Salmon run will continue into October and if you had not make it last Sunday, there is plenty of time.
Salmon spawning runs in a four year cycle, with dominant years in 2014, 2018 and 2022. In those years it is possible to see more than a million fish return to spawn. In post-dominant years, like 2016, the number can be in the hundreds while pre-dominant years, 2017 for example, may see more than 10,000 salmon return to spawn.
Some salmon will travel thousands of kilometers in a typical four-year lifetime and by that last year will return to where they were born to reproduce.
Adult salmon will swim upstream to the same area where they were hatched and once at the spawning grounds the female fish will dig a shallow nest for her eggs. She will release anywhere from two to 10 thousand eggs and then the male salmon will release milt, which contains millions of sperm.
The pair will continue the process as they move upstream until they run out of energy, usually within a day or two.
The fertilized eggs will hatch in three to four months and then will eventually make their way downstream to the ocean.
It's a good time to get down to Mission Creek park for a glimpse of the salmon run, which is expected to last a couple more weeks. If you missed the run in the Central Okanagan, or if you just feel like a scenic drive to the north, you can head up to the North Shuswap.
In the Adams River, Koss says salmon just started showing up around Wednesday, Sept. 20.
“It looks like we are right about on track,” she says of the “first three weeks in October” window.