Every Fall, families come from all over BC to see the annual salmon run in Goldstream Provincial Park on southern Vancouver Island. This year is no exception, as hundreds gather along the shores of the Goldstream River to watch thousands of Chum salmon make their journey.
“We’ve been to see salmon runs up at Nitinat River but never actually to Goldstream, and it’s incredible! It’s hard, right, seeing the effects that climate change has, and the drought we’ve seen the past couple of years in the summers.”Allison Melis
Salmon travel thousands of kilometres and appear about mid-October in the area, working their way upstream to spawn and die. The annual salmon run can last about nine weeks, depending on the year, according to the Goldstream Park website. Chum is the most abundant in Goldstream Park, though coho and Chinook salmon and sometimes even steelhead and cutthroat trout can be visible.
A new video shared by CHEK News shows the excited families gathered along the river banks, hoping to catch a glimpse of a Coho or Chum making its way upstream.
“It’s wonderful to see the river filling in cause it was dry as a bone such a short time ago and there’s a lot less salmon here than we’ve seen before.”Sandi Eggaton
“We’ve been to see salmon runs up at Nitinat River but never actually to Goldstream, and it’s incredible,” Allison Melis says alongside her young family in the video. “It’s hard, right, seeing the effects that climate change has and the drought we’ve seen the past couple of years in the summers.
“It’s wonderful to see the river filling in cause it was dry as a bone such a short time ago, and there’s a lot less salmon here than we’ve seen before,” Sandi Eggaton comments in the piece.
In 2021, the year that saw both the heat dome and extreme flooding, only 4000 salmon made the run. However, last year, locals counted a whopping 33,000 salmon in Goldstream Park. Despite this year’s widespread drought, salmon numbers are abundant in certain parts of the province. Experts say current rainfall could be a good indicator that this year’s salmon population will be strong in the region.
The Goldstream Nature House posted an update to their Facebook, saying: “Thank you, RAIN! Our Goldstream Ambassadors are excited to see their salmon friends starting to make their way up the river! There wasn’t a dry jacket on the team as everybody rushed to see the action! We can’t wait to welcome you to the Nature House and share our salmonid savvy over the next month!” The salmon run is expected to peak in mid-November.
If you plan to make the trek out to see the salmon run, Goldstream Provincial Park has a few tips for salmon watchers. They include the following: avoid wearing bright colours “especially reds, purple and pinks which salmon see very well;” bring polarized sunglasses to cut down on glare from the water; “avoid moving quickly, and approach the river bank quietly” to better spot the fish building nests and spawning; and leave your dog at home. Finally, be sure to visit the Goldstream Nature House, open 9:30 AM to 4 PM seven days a week, and check out their free interpretive wildlife programs for all ages.