We helped deliver the chinook smolts today , as we do every spring . These are young chinook salmon from the Quinsam Hatchery, a tributary of the Campbell River . Instead of swimming downstream in the river to the sea, they've had a ride in a tank truck and then pumped through a pipe into this pen in the marina. These little ones will spend a few weeks in this pen , being fed twice a day , while they get accustomed to the ocean water . Then they will be released to find their way up the coast with their wild relatives in their far northern migration . We'll anticipate their return in three , four, or five years with some of them over thirty pounds , the famous Campbell River Tyees.
Several of us from the Campbell River Guides Association volunteer to help the Quinsam Hatchery crew . This date was scheduled in advance and as luck would have it, it blew a real storm with harsh rain and cold wind. These are all outdoorsy guys, dressed in foul weather gear, and cheerful throughout. There is some muscle power needed to drag the hose sections down the dock and then to drag them back and roll them up onto the trailer. There are two other pens in marinas along the waterfront .
In other years the weather has been fair and bright for nicer photos. As in the past I have marvelled , and noted in this blog, how fascinating it is to see the shapes of these fish facing into the current as they are flowing downstream in the translucent pipe. Then, when the water leaves the pipe in a little waterfall, they turn themselves with great agility and dive in headfirst !
Stay well little salmon, and come back big and strong .
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