Salmon enhancement has a long history in British Columbia. It originated at Weaver Creek in 1885. In the fall of that year, eggs obtained from sockeye salmon were first transplanted to other streams in the province.
Salmon were abundant in the late 1800s. In fact, the commercial gillnet fishery at the mouth of the Fraser River was largely over for the season by the time the sockeye salmon returned to Weaver Creek in October. As a result, up to eight million eggs per year were available for transplant to other rivers and streams in British Columbia.
Historically 20,000 or more sockeye salmon spawned in Weaver Creek every year. Starting in the early 1960's that number declined to 12,000. The main reason was the destruction of the salmon spawning grounds in Weaver Creek due to flooding.
BC's sometimes over abundant rainfall means that small streams such as Weaver Creek are subject to large variations in water flow. Flooding affects salmon adversely. Scouring of the gravel kills salmon eggs. Fewer eggs mean that fewer adult fish are produced in subsequent years.
To combat this problem the Chehalis Hatchering started the Weaver Creek project to support the salmon population. A spawning channel was built beside Weaver Creek in 1965. This channel is a shallow stream with a gravel bottom and sloping sides built up with rocks. In this channel, which is 2,932 meters long, sockeye and smaller numbers of chum and pink salmon deposit their eggs naturally.
While the channel is a man-made extension of Weaver Creek, it allows for salmon to spawn naturally in much larger numbers and has been an incredible sucess. Between 1965 and 1997 almost 1 billion sockeye, 80 million chum and 10 million pink fry have been released from the spawning channel built beside Weaver Creek.
This meandering channel offers a wonderful opportunity to view spawning salmon up close and personal. It is an amazing natural wonder that has to be seen to be appreciated.
Near Harrison Mills in the Lower Mainland - British Columbia
From Vancouver, drive one hour east on Highway Number 1 (Trans Canada) and take exit 92 at Abbotsford to get to Mission. From Harrison Hot Springs, head south on Hot Springs Rd/Hwy 9 until you reach Lougheed HIghway/Highway 7. Continue west on Highway 7 for about 20 minutes. Turn north onto Morris Valley Road (paved) at the Sasquatch Inn and the Hemlock Recreation Area sign. Follow Morris Valley Road for 12 kilometres. You will see the Hatchery sign.
The Weaver Creek Spawning Channel will be open to view spawning sockeye salmon starting October 6th and ending November 1st. The site will be open to the public from 8:00 am until dark.
Peak spawning activity is from Oct.15 -20th.
There is no admission charge.