Tuesday, March 30, 2010

ABC Wednesday

K is for Kokanee

If you are a quick listener this video about salmon spawning is most interesting, - if not, relax and enjoy the scenery and the picture images.

The Okanagan and North Thompson areas in British Columbia are famous for their spawning streams and rivers.  In September and October each year the local creeks, such as the one in Hardy Falls National Park near Peachland, are bright with  Kokanee returning to their place of birth to spawn, and then to die.

Creeks of all sizes are full of this desperate stream of fish, struggling against the flow to reach their spawning grounds.

The Adams River, which flows out of the Adams lake is home to the worlds largest Sockeye and Kokanee salmon run. 

A watchful eye is kept on the returning salmon run, and when it is at its peak in September or October the riverbank is crowded with onlookers to this most amazing and colourful migration.

This is not an easy journey and there are many obstacles in the way of the homecoming fish.  To assist the Kokanee and other salmon to reach their destination 'fish ladders' have been built and installed in especially difficult spots.

Fish Ladders on the Fraser River
Fish ladders built on the Fraser River have enabled millions of salmon to overcome a physical barrier, demonstrating the value of fish ladders as an effective way to modify dams. Though the Fraser River mainstem has never been dammed, human carelessness caused a near-blockage of the river in 1913. In that year, rock debris from railway construction at Hell's Gate stopped thousands of salmon from travelling up the Fraser's mainstem to spawn. Salmon runs on the Upper Fraser were decimated in the years that followed. In 1946, Canadian and American funds were used to build elaborate fish ladders at Hell's Gate, which saved many runs from extinction and allowed fish stocks to rebuild. Though the ladders were built to overcome a human blunder, they illustrate the good that can come when people intervene to improve fish passage upstream. Thanks in part to these efforts, the Fraser is still the greatest salmon river on earth.

from the Internet....

On a more personal note, amongst the first stories Charles told me about his home and the Okanagan Valley was the autumn adventures on small spawning streams that flowed from the hills of the Okanagan into the lake.

They called the fish 'Kickaninnies', and if the creek was small enough the boys could stand with a foot on each side and bending over scoop up the fish with their hands.

For more stories about the letter K visit here, at ABC Wednesday.
Fish ladders on the Fraser River at Hell's Gate.
Fish ladders on the Fraser River at Hell's Gate. (Photo: Rick 


Barb said...

I've never seen these brilliant red Kokanee. What a spectacle they must be during the spawn!

photowannabe said...

The Kokanee salmon are fascinating. We see them every year spawning in the river by Lake Tahoe in California. They work so hard to lay their eggs.

Diann said...

What interesting info!

Wanda said...

A visit to a fish farm in Tennessee, where they help certain fish reproduce and then release them into the wild was so fascinating. I can just imagine the the sight of salmon spawning and the magic your husband experienced when a young boy!

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

Fascinating - I've seen salmon leaping in Scotland but it was a long time ago.

RuneE said...

A very interesting post - it felt like being home!

Reader Wil said...

This is all very interesting. I should like to see how the fish ladders work. Thanks for your visit.
I shall try to find out about the connection between kilts and clans.

Tumblewords: said...

Terrific post! The kokanee spawn here, too and their arduous journey is followed by the ever-hungry bald eagles.

Jay said...

I had no idea that salmon were so colourful in your area! It must be amazing to see them head upriver!

Joy said...

Fascinating video and post. What a wonderful sight this must be.
There are hydro-electric stations in Dumfriesshire, Scotland with fish ladders by the side, we and the local heron spent an interesting time spotting the salmon.

lv2scpbk said...

That's too cute. Thanks for joining in on the fun at ABC Wed. on behalf of the ABC team.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Hildred -- a wonderful post; I glanced at it the other night and came back to do it full justice. there is something so fascinating and sad about the spawning story. I can remember trying to explain it to our kids and seeing their mouths just kind of drop open as they tried to understand (we had some spawning streams ner where we lived in eastern Washington).

The pictures are lovely and I am just seeing the picture of Charles as a little boy scooping up dinner (another time and what great memories to pass down to your grandchildren etc....)

Roger Owen Green said...

Very informative; didn't specifically know about the Kokanee.
On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, thank you!