By Chrissi Meyer and Laura Stovel
One of the rites of autumn in Revelstoke is watching the brave struggle of the red fish as they fight their way upstream to spawn. Parents take their children to observe these fresh- and salt-water salmon (kokanee and sockeye respectively) as they leap over rocks and other barriers to find a safe place to lay their eggs, their last creative act in life.
At Beardale Miniatures and Eagle River Campground, about a half-hour drive west of Revelstoke on the Trans Canadian Highway, large sockeye can be seen laying their eggs in the Perry River. They are just a few of the many thousands of sockeye that make the remarkable journey from the Pacific ocean to the fresh water rivers to spawn. Sockeye spend their adult life (approximately 4 years) in the ocean. They return to their place of birth to spawn before they die.
Closer to Revelstoke — on the Tum Tum River in the Big Eddy and at Bridge Creek near the industrial park — smaller spawning Kokanee can be observed with ease. Although the Department of Fisheries stopped restoring Bridge Creek for spawning kokanee a few years ago, the creek still attracts plenty of fish.
The salmon run is not only a spectacular event for humans and fishermen, it also attracts black bears, eagles and other wildlife. Often there are spots on the bank that indicate bear activity.
If you’re looking for a lovely — and local! — family activity, a visit to Bridge Creek is just the thing for you and your children.
Here are some examples of the way that red fish have been portrayed by local and regional artists: