Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Salmon Run

There's a significant salmon run in Owen Sound, where the salmon head up the Sydenham River.  The town promotes a 'Salmon Tour' where you can see the salmon.  About 2 weeks ago I stopped by the fish ladder to see if I could spot anything.

Lo and behold, I turned up at the fish ladder just when a team from the Sydenham Sportsmen arrived to collect eggs for the hatchery!   Apparently they catch the salmon here and collect eggs not only for their own nearby hatchery, but for several other hatcheries in southern Ontario.

This is the fish ladder, a separate channel the salmon can use to bypass the mill dam.  It's been rebuilt, but the original fishway here was the very first such structure in Ontario.  They release 200,000 fry from the hatchey upstream every year.

First they take the protective grate off the top of the fish ladder - with appropriate warning signs and safety harness all in place, as well as ropes to hold back the gathering crowd of photographers.

Then they slide sheets of plywood down to cut off some of the flow into the fishway, calming the water lower down.

Down at the bottom they take off the protective grid, and a fisherman climbs right down into the channel, with a big fish net.  (Can you make him out below the wire grid?)  He simply hunts up and down the baffles, and scoops out the salmon.

Today they were apparently after just 6 fish; they didn't have any difficulty getting them, in just a short time.  Then the eggs were collected, refrigerated, and taken off to the hatchery.

I took a moment to stop at the bridge in Harrison's Park too, and there were lots of salmon in the river.  Can you make out two salmon swimming very close together here?

All of these salmon had made it upstream through the fish ladder, though they probably wouldn't make it a lot farther, as they will run in Inglis Falls further upstream.  There are lots of shallow channels here suitable for spawning though.

See how many fish you can count in this picture!  Parts of the river were thick with them.


Yesterday was the Canadian election, and the Liberals won a majority government, I'm sure surprising even themselves.  There are policy differences, but I'm not sure how much difference they make in the long run.  But Trudeau and the Liberals ran a positive campaign, without attack ads, and without promoting divisions in Canadian society, unlike their opponents.  The Conservative party lost not so much because of their policies, as because of our former Prime Minister's way of doing business - total control and fear.  This election result is a huge step in a better direction for Canada!


  1. Salmon runs are just an amazing event. It's too bad we have put major obstacles in their way. I think we're much better off to be rid of Harper. Some of my American friends were actually worried about us.

  2. The salmon run, what a wonderful time to be there. And Justin Trudeau, we have heard the results down here. Yes, I have been worried too, from comments from friends and on TV. Well done to the voters.

  3. What a fascinating thing to see.

    1. (back again) do salmon always have their mouths open? I never saw a live one in real life.

  4. totallly awesome, my favourite fish - yum

  5. Thanks for sharing this salmon run with us. It's nice to see it close up and learn how the eggs are harvested.

  6. That was fun to see how they harvest those eggs. And I counted a dozen salmon in that last picture. Congratulations to you Canadians on the election! I am thrilled and hope for something similar around here next year. :-)

  7. How much fun for the fishermen. I had never seen the egg thing before. Love my salmon!

  8. They are big fish! I've never seen a fish ladder myself.

    I'm glad for the results... I've been disgusted by Harper's absolutism for years, and seeing the end of him is a relief.

  9. They look yummy to me, we like salmon! That fish has some beautiful colors too:)

  10. Fascinating to see!
    I'm full of optimism about the new gov't!

  11. i am not a fisherwoman and i know nothing of this....but i do like to eat fish. i have never eaten salmon, something about the color that i just can't get past. i like white fishes!!

    amazing captures (hehehe, pun intended) and i'm sure a thrilling day for you!!!!

  12. We love Salmon YUMMY ! Wonderful post and photos . As for the election it would be nice if any of them actually did what they said the would when they were harbinger for votes . I am fed up with the lot of them now a days , they are all talk no action for the greater good of this country ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !