Tuesday, December 3, 2013

more salmonid please

When someone asks me to pick one activity that was the highlight of my short excursion in Vancouver, I would not be telling them about Stanley Park with its breathtaking views of the harbour, nor would I tell them about Granville Island and all its deliciousness. I would tell them about the humble Capilano River Hatchery.

The hatchery is part of a larger program that aims to boost the salmonid population in British Columbia. It does this by hatching more eggs than would otherwise occur naturally on the riverbed, then when the salmon reached the required age they are released to the nearby river. Fisheries Canada lists spring to be the best time to view coho and chinook juveniles as well as steelhead adults. But at the time of our visit in early Spring, we could only see in the tanks coho and chinook fingerlings swimming ever so energetically.

The hatchery itself is perched at the edge of the water, shrouded in majestic pine trees that also decorate the length of winding river. Inside, it is bare without a flashy display nor a tourist attendant in sight. It forced us to stop longer and look closer at every single thing inside the centre, to absorb the scant few information they did have on display. All the while, we were accompanied by the sounds of the growling river and the quiet murmurs of the few tourists who dared to brave the chilly weather.

Outside, the air was crisp, the sun was shining, the water was cold. A combination of which have enticed amateur fishermen to the river to try their luck at catching a few.

I can envision myself coming here on weekends, dipping my toes in the cold water, maybe learn how to fish, have a picnic...

One can only dream.

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