Goldstream River will soon have thousands of salmon passing through to spawn. (Lindsey Horsting/News staff)

Goldstream River will soon have thousands of salmon passing through to spawn. (Lindsey Horsting/News staff)

Spawning salmon start to trickle through Goldstream Park

Projections for this year’s salmon run is 30,000 to 40,000 fish

Just a few spawning salmon have been spotted so far in Goldstream River.

Tracey Bleackley, a Park Naturalist with RLC Park Services, said the chances of seeing the salmon run are best at the end of October. The salmon also travel through November and sometimes into the beginning of December.

“A couple weekends ago we had visitors say they saw some in the river,” she said.

Three different species run through the river at Goldstream Park: coho, chinook and chum. Bleackley said pink salmon runs earlier on the west side of the Island and chum, coho chinook run later but the majority of the run is chum.

“There’s different migration out of the ocean,” she said. “There are not a lot of coho and chinook as they are highly sought after, whales prefer them because they’re bigger and there’s more to them.”

Bleackley has been at Goldstream for over 10 years and last season they saw just three chinook salmon, hundreds of coho and thousands of chum.

Total projections for the run this year are between 30,000 to 40,000 salmon.

Goldstream is one of the last rivers on the salmon’s journey. The salmon migrate thousands of miles through the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska to come back to Goldstream river where they were born. Bleackley said salmon have magnetite in their structure, allowing them to feel magnetic north which makes their migration successful.

Proper salmon etiquette requires standing quietly at the water’s edge and being as still as possible to limit any stress the salmon. She recommends leaving dogs at home during the salmon run as they can get excited by the fish and run into the water, and amino acids from their paws can cause stress to the fish.

Wearing polarized sunglasses helps cut the glare from the water to see the fish better.


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lindsey.horsting@goldstreamgazette.com